CHICAGO, USA, Ball Horticultural Company in West Chicago is a leader when it comes to horticulture. The global family of breeding, distribution, and research teams has a strong presence in over 20 countries on six continents. Ball Floraplant and Darwin Perennials are vegetative breeding and production companies that are separate divisions within Ball Horticultural Company. In search of an ERP system to support their growing business, the companies decided to follow the recommendations from others in the horticultural sector. The journey led them to the Dutch-based IT company Mprise Agriware.
“The size of our farms, including volume and complexity of the assortment, was becoming more of a challenge with our legacy system”, says Mike Klopmeyer, president of Ball Floraplant. “We now produce in Nicaragua and Guatemala, and Darwin Perennials produces in Colombia. Custom production software was developed in-house at the Costa Rica farm about 25 years ago and had reached the end of its usefulness. The Colombian farm only utilized Excel spreadsheets to run the production, which were not scalable as their program expanded.”
This challenge is all too familiar to many growing horticultural companies. How do you find a solution that will remain up-to-date with the latest industry standards, and advance as your business and the industry advances? Ball Floraplant sourced outside consultants to help them assess existing software on the market that could serve their needs. Mprise Agriware was the recommended choice.
Kevin Lutz, CIO for R&D and Global Supply Chain for Ball Horticultural Company, has 30+ years of experience implementing ERP solutions. He describes what they were looking for in their search for an ERP system: “When selecting a vendor, we wanted a partner that could grow and advance their product as we grow and advance our business. Agriware had the best balance of features, cost and flexibility. Having such a strong partner as Mprise is key.”
“Our decision was influenced by strong recommendations from other companies”, adds Mike Klopmeyer. “In addition, the ability in Mprise for custom programming serves our unique requirements.”
Agriware is built on Microsoft Dynamics Business Central ERP. Both Mike and Kevin emphasize how important it is to have software built on a solid foundation that regularly evolves as technology advances. Kevin: “An investment of the size and complexity of an ERP system should last a minimum of 10 years. A strong system today that remains stagnant will quickly become a boat anchor holding back your business. Agriware provides us with an excellent toolset for managing our operations using industry leading practices. Resources previously dedicated to maintaining a custom solution can be used to focus on innovation. We will continue to receive new capabilities as Microsoft enhances their ERP and Mprise advances Agriware functionality.”
Meanwhile in The Netherlands, an enthusiastic, international and multi-lingual team has started working on the project. “We are proud to be able to implement our software product Agriware 365 at one of the leading cuttings production companies in the world”, states Joop de Jong, CEO of Mprise. “It gives us an extra incentive to work with our customers to strengthen the business value of our software through the use of state-of-the-art technology.“
Kevin Lutz: “The Mprise implementation team has been great. They spent the time to understand the nuances of our operations and fit Agriware to meet our unique needs.”
Both Mprise Agriware and Ball Floraplant are looking forward to the collaboration confidently. President Mike Klopmeyer gives us a glimpse of the future: “The software will make an immediate and long term impact on our production farms and give us a foundation for success for many years. In the next several years, we will build a new farm in Mexico and this will allow us to transfer the technology and programming easily. We will have a production management platform that will be customized for us giving us security in running efficient production farms”.
Kevin Lutz agrees with Mike and adds: “Utilizing a commercial package allows us to take advantage of the best-of-breed processes built into Agriware and gain new capabilities when they update the software. We can advance our business without the need to continually invest in a custom solution.”
Earlier this year, Dutch-based potted plant grower KP Holland from Naaldwijk implemented Mprise Agriware. Their new ERP system allows the company to improve space, planning, registration at the workplace and order processing.