Saving With Software

Junge Control Round The Clock Assistant

The top of every news report and the focus of every bottom line lately has been the economy. While the ag industry has seen its ups and downs, it pays to be in a business that reduces customer effort and labor.

Economic Mix-Ups

Blender software manufacturers have improved their products every year in an effort to help out their customers — and their businesses. Software companies thrive in tough times because blending facilities — and their customers — are more concerned than ever about accuracy and making sure that every drop of fertilizer is accounted for. “With input cost being so high,” says President David Junge, Junge Control, Inc., “it is even more important than ever to be accurate and accountable.” What the company is doing is working, as it “has grown by at least 25%, and it could increase to 50% by the fiscal year-end.”

While Junge and others may have actually been helped by the economic downturn, blender facilities themselves are turning to the software manufacturers for solutions. “We anticipate a greater need for management software as companies look for tools to help them work more efficiently, improve ROI (return-on-investment), and maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace,” says Judy Warf, marketing communications coordinator, SSI, LLC.

“Our Agvance software can assist them in accomplishing all these goals,” Warf continues. “Through the implementation of the Agvance program with blending and dispatch, retailers are able to work with tighter margins and utilize existing equipment with greater return. In today’s economy this has become more important than ever.”

Making the best use of the people and equipment a facility has now will prevent plants from spending money on personnel or expensive new machinery when they can least afford it. Investing in ag software to help manage these assets is an easy choice. “Junge Control is experiencing tremendous success and are glad to help our clients go from good to great,” Junge says. Its Round the Clock Assistant has contributed to the company’s success and has helped blenders streamline their businesses. Drivers can pull into a plant at any hour, any day of the week; using a touchscreen, the driver can choose a blending option and be ready to fill up. The system cuts down on the amount of staff needed to monitor the facility and input the driver’s choices, letting the plant stay open longer to receive business at any time.

“There is also a push to move larger volumes of product more efficiently to the customer through better utilization of existing equipment and resources,” says Warf. “By implementing a dispatching system, organizations are finding they are able to more efficiently schedule and route applicators and reduce empty miles. This in turn provides them the opportu­nity to reassess their equipment and man-hour needs and potentially reduce both.”

Why So Serious?

Fertilizer prices soared in many parts of the country last year due partly to higher international demand mostly from China and India. Estelle Grasset, spokesperson for The Fertilizer Institute in Washington, DC, says fertilizer costs have skyrocketed 77%. Prices of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) have experienced the biggest jumps, but micronutrients such as copper and manganese have been subject to price fluctuations as well. With high input costs cutting into their bottom lines, neither the blenders nor the buyers want to see any of it go to waste.

On the other hand, 2009 doesn’t look as positive. Gulf Petrochemical Industries Co. (GPIC) in Bahrain plans to build a $1 billion fertilizer complex to produce ammonia, urea, and methanol — but it may be the only bright spot on the horizon. Major fertilizer producers such as Canada-based PotashCorp and Agrium have already scaled back production, while German producer K+S plans to reduce potash production through the first half of the year, Norway-based Yara has stopped ammonia, urea, and NPK production in several countries, and U.S. producer Mosaic Co. will reduce phosphate production by 1 million metric tons through fiscal 2009 if the market remains slow.

Between 2008′s through-the-roof prices and 2009′s reduction in production throughout the world, blending facilities must move quickly and manage their businesses carefully so they remain strong in an uncertain economy. Just as the plants need to stay on their toes and adapt to industry changes, so do the software manufacturers that help them streamline their operations. “Since Junge Control focuses on ag inputs, we are very quick to react to our customers’ needs,” says Junge.

What Blenders Want

Products that save the fertilizer plant money while improving customer service will best help those facilities in times of trial. “Today’s economic conditions have created a need for organizations to find ways to improve ROI,” says Warf of SSI, whose Agvance software automates processes to reduce the chance of errors. “One way in which they are able to accomplish this goal is through a reduction of costs by maintaining tighter control on inventories,” she continues. “As organizations increase their number of locations, it is becoming essential to have a software program that allows them access to real-time inventories of each branch location.”

The more control plants have over their operations, the smoother their businesses will run. Not only is inventory control important, but so is the ability to run reports and directly interface with accounting. “They look for speed, accuracy, and accountability in their software, and all are accomplished with Junge Plant Operator Software,” explains Junge. “The ability to import from Agronomy Software and export to Accounting Software is also important, and they achieve this with our Junge Dispatcher Software.”

Now that blender software can accurately measure the blend while saving manpower and expanding the hours that drivers can pick up their orders, the next step is to reduce paper accounting and maintain extensive electronic records. “The next release of Agvance Blending will include an interface to a document imaging system which enables key blend documents to be scanned, stored, and retrieved electronically,” explains Warf. “It is becoming increasingly valuable to store electronic copies of both customer signed tickets and custom application records as most states require these documents be kept on file. With this integration, retailers will be able to greatly reduce the amount of paper they need to keep on hand while gaining the timesaving benefits of instant retrieval of the documents from within Agvance.”

Time will tell what 2009 does for the fertilizer industry, but the future looks positive for those facilities using blending software that can help them tough out the uneven conditions ahead.

Leave a Reply

Software Stories

SoftwareBlending Software To Address Every Need Of Ag Retail
March 3, 2014
This year’s packages cover more facets of dealer businesses than ever. Read More
SoftwareNew Crop Scouting App Now Available For Ag Retailers
September 3, 2013
AgraScout is a data management and communications tool used by retailers, consultants, and others to track and report conditions in a particular farm location. Read More
SoftwareWinfield Launches New Mapping Capabilities For R7 Tool
August 29, 2013
Winfield has announced the addition of a Field Response Map and a Profitability Map for its R7 Tool at 2013 Farm Progress Show. Read More
SoftwareTrimble Launches Connected Farm Dashboard
August 29, 2013
The company claims its new dashboard enables better decision making by putting key data at growers’ fingertips. Read More

Trending Articles

Retail FacilitiesWaconia Manufacturing Builds Facility Designed For Speed, Efficiency
July 7, 2014
To make its new hub facility more efficient, Cooperative Elevator enlisted the aid of Waconia Manufacturing. Read More
EquipmentSummer Show Preview 2014: Superior Sprayers Take The Field
July 3, 2014
In this final installment of our coverage of the major categories of Big IRON that retailers can expect to test-drive at this summer’s events, here is a look at 19 sprayers. Read More
Scouting a soybean patch at Green Valley Ag.
EmployeesCropLife Compensation Survey: Battling Talent Drain
July 2, 2014
Retailers too often lose employees to companies outside of agriculture, while recruiting efforts are most often limited to competitors and other ag-focused organizations. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Introduces SureStart II Herbicide
June 16, 2014
The enhanced formulation has improved viscosity and increased stability under heat and controls more than 60 high-anxiety grasses and broadleaf weeds found in corn fields. Read More
HerbicidesBASF Investing $270 Million To Expand U.S. Herbicide Production
June 11, 2014
BASF has invested more than $270 million to expand herbicide production capacities in the U.S., including more than 20 new products to be launched over next two years. Read More
EquipmentGPS: 25 Years And Still Growing
June 2, 2014
The evolution of global positioning systems applications in agriculture remains ongoing as the technology hits a notable milestone. Read More

Latest News

CropLife 100Pinnacle Forms Alliance With Wildlife Managment, Seed O…
July 25, 2014
The strategic alliance will provide Tecomate with key wildlife products, processing facilities, distribution centers and sales through Pinnacle’s ever-growing retail network. Read More
ManagementFranken Presses White House On RFS Support
July 25, 2014
Al Franken and a group of Senate democrats recently met with senior White House official John Podesta to urge the administration to change its position on an EPA proposal. Read More
ManagementASA, FarmLink To Launch ‘Operation Benchmark̵…
July 25, 2014
The American Soybean Association (ASA) and FarmLink are teaming up to help farmers close the $11 billion gap between what they harvested in 2013 and what they could harvest annually. Read More
StewardshipNorthey: Farmers Commit $1.4 Million to Try New Water Q…
July 25, 2014
The practices that are eligible for funding include cover crops, no-till or strip till and using a nitrification inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learn How Changing World Will Impact Iowa
July 24, 2014
Technology and understanding global consumer demand for Iowa farm products brought hundreds of farmers and agribusiness leaders to Ames recently for the annual Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Economic Summit. Read More
HerbicidesPurdue: Late Season Weeds May Require Manual Removal
July 24, 2014
Hand-rouging and pulling late season weeds by hand may be the best way to remove them, more so than using a herbicide, a Purdue Extension weed scientist says. Read More
Soybean Field
InsecticidesTransform WG, Closer SC Insecticides Receive R&D 10…
July 23, 2014
Dow AgroSciences has received the award from R&D Magazine for Transform WG insecticide and Closer SC insecticide with Isoclast active. Read More
EquipmentKinze, Raven Team Up On 4900 Planter Monitor
July 23, 2014
Kinze Manufacturing announces a partnership with Raven Industries to develop a standalone monitor solution for the Kinze 4900 series planter. With this new Read More
LegislationNew Farm Bill Continues To Confuse As Growers Await USD…
July 23, 2014
The new five-year Farm Bill eliminates many of the direct payments previously payed to growers and could benefit from USDA clarification, reports a Toledo Blade columnist. Read More
EquipmentPrecisionAg.com Relaunches With Responsive Design For M…
July 22, 2014
PrecisionAg, the worldwide leader in precision agriculture information and analysis, announces the launch of its completely redesigned website, PrecisionAg.com. Read More
FungicidesEPA OKs Two Willowood Fungicides
July 21, 2014
The EPA has approved Willowood Azoxy 2SC and Willowood AzoxyProp Xtra. two widely used broad spectrum, preventative fungicides with systemic and curative properties. Read More
Precision AgFarmers Learning Fast As UAVs Take Off
July 17, 2014
Farmers and others interested in how UAVs can be used in agricultural applications were able to learn more about the technology during the recent Precision Aerial Ag Show. Read More
CropLife 100Bobby Knight, Richard Petty To Highlight Ag PhD Field D…
July 17, 2014
Attendees at the July 24 Ag PhD Field Day at Hefty Farms will learn about the latest agricultural technologies, and get a chance to meet legendary sports figures Bobby Knight and Richard Petty. Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
July 17, 2014
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
A finished Willmar 16-ton side-shooting tender.
TendersNew Production Facility Helps Willmar
July 17, 2014
In 1963, a group of businessmen started Willmar. Today, a half-century later, the company is one of the ag industry’s longest-running brands. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Sells Carbon Credits To Chevrolet, Donate…
July 17, 2014
CF Industries has completed the sale of a large block of carbon reduction credits to Chevrolet, and will donate the net proceeds of $600,000 to the National FFA Foundation. Read More
CropLife 100Grainland Cooperative, Minier Cooperative Grain To Merg…
July 17, 2014
The shareholders of Grainland Cooperative and Minier Cooperative Grain Co. approved a merger of company operations effective August 1, 2014. Read More
ManagementStudy: Drought Costing California Billions
July 17, 2014
A new study has found the drought has cost the state $2.2 billion, primarily in lost farm revenue and wages. Read More