Farm supplies cooperative Farmlands is fast approaching the largest software release of its Microsoft Dynamics 365-based transformation program.
As reported last year, the three-year, $90 million technology investment, dubbed "Braveheart" internally, was ranked by Microsoft as one of its top five projects globally in terms of complexity.
The May issue of the cooperative's Farmlander magazine features an update from project director Phil Bracefield saying that while Farmlands people have already started using some of Braveheart's "new ways of working" over the past year and a half, deployment five, scheduled for July, will be the biggest so far.
Farmland people are already using new tablets that utilise the company's new Microsoft software, called D365 CE, he said.
"Braveheart provides a new suite of options to give shareholders a complete view of how they work with their co-operative and a simpler, easier experience behind the scenes," Bracefield said.
Braveheart focuses on consolidating and streamlining processes so they are not only future-proof, he said, but create a co-operative that is a "best practice" and "world leading".
Changes started this month but will be staggered over the coming months. In July and August, for instance, point of sale system at all Farmlands stores will be changed.
"It is a really exciting opportunity for our teams in-store – they will be able to take scanners with them around the store and into the yard," Bracefield said.
Some changes have already been made, such as to the authorisation process when a member shops at a card partner, to improve the speed of transactions.
"As with any change, our Farmlanders are learning to use the new system and process," Bracefield said, asking shareholders to be patient.
"We are excited that deployment five is nearly upon us. It builds the platform to set us up for future success and improve the value every shareholder receives from their co-operative."
In train are changes relating to pricing and the Farmlands loyalty rewards program and new statements with different product codes.
"Our shareholders that use accounting software and code different purchases will make adjustments in their software set up," Bracefield said. "Software companies will be informed of these changes."
Shareholders and customers will receive automated payment reminder letters when their accounts are overdue, for instance while shareholders will be able to pay their account balance early (for example, in-store) and this will automatically adjust their upcoming direct debit.
Braveheart, which aims to transform Farmlands into a data oriented company, includes the replacement of legacy IT systems and scalable enhancements to provide improved information to better manage the business.
Total business benefits were estimated at $112 million over five years in 2017, including savings in legacy system costs of $28 million.