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

Junge Control Panels
SoftwareJunge Control Adds Distribution Supply Chain
November 4, 2016
Junge Control began automating agricultural blending systems in 1979. They soon invented the “Junge Weigh” system, an extremely accurate and Read More
SoftwareHD Precision Analytics Launches New Mobile App For Agriculture Market
October 11, 2016
AGSentry from HD Precision Analytics is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform that offers simple data service and actionable analytics tool. It focuses Read More
EquipmentDTN Launches Ag Retailer Focused Data Management Program
April 5, 2016
As farm data multiplies exponentially, ag retailers need help leveraging the power of big data to better serve their customers Read More
Junge Control Panels
SoftwarePlant Automation Takes Traceability To The Next Level
March 8, 2016
What began as a way to simply vary differing fertility products at different rates to create custom fertilizer blends — Read More
Trending Articles
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsanto Merger
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
Latest News
Eric SfiligojNo Alternative Facts: Dicamba Cropping System Applicato…
January 23, 2017
During President Donald Trump’s inauguration, much fuss was made over the use of the term “alternative facts” vs. some of Read More
Young Corn Plants
ManagementTimac Agro USA Acquires Michigan Ag Retailer
January 20, 2017
Timac Agro USA, an agriculture supply company specializing in high-efficiency plant and animal nutrition products, has acquired St. Louis,MI-based A&E Ag, Read More
Soybean field
Crop InputsNufarm Teams Up With John Deere Financial
January 19, 2017
Nufarm and John Deere Financial have teamed up to help farmers grow a better tomorrow. This program helps make purchases Read More
Sonny Perdue
LegislationTrump Formally Picks Perdue As Agriculture Secretary
January 19, 2017
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump officially announced Sonny Perdue as his choice for secretary of agriculture on Thursday, selecting a former Read More
ManagementPresident Trump, Wisconsin Review, and a Dow-DuPont Upd…
January 18, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj reflect on a new administration, a recent winter show, and crop protection company mergers. Read More
Industry NewsBayer, MS Technologies Get China Approval For Balance G…
January 18, 2017
MS Technologies and Bayer have received import approval from China for Balance GT soybeans. The new Balance GT Soybean Performance Read More
Werner Baumann, Bayer AG, and Hugh Grant, Monsanto
Industry NewsReport: Monsanto, Bayer CEOs Among Latest to Make Trump…
January 18, 2017
The chief executive officers of German chemical giant Bayer AG and U.S. seed behemoth Monsanto, Werner Baumann and Hugh Grant, Read More
Giant Ragweed
HerbicidesStudy: Focusing On Weed Seedbank Can Help Manage Herbic…
January 18, 2017
Researchers writing in the latest issue of the journal Weed Science provide important insights on the control of herbicide-resistant giant Read More
Management3 Financial Trends To Watch In Agriculture
January 17, 2017
I recently had the opportunity to attend a meeting of credit managers for Midwest ag supply and input companies, in part Read More
Andersons Retail Store
CropLife 100The Andersons To Close All Retail Stores; Shutdown Does…
January 16, 2017
In a stunning announcement to the Toledo area, The Andersons Inc. said on Sunday that it would close its two Read More
Trimble TMX-2050 In-Cab Display
Eric SfiligojPrecision To Lead Agriculture In 2017?
January 16, 2017
Another new year is upon us! And I’m certain I speak for many in the agricultural world when I say Read More
Corn
Eric SfiligojThe Mood From Madison? In A Holding Pattern
January 16, 2017
Last week, I had the chance to attend the annual Wisconsin AgriBusiness Classic show in Madison, WI. It’s been a Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsAccenture Helps Syngenta Transform Its Global Logistics
January 13, 2017
Syngenta, a leading agriculture company, has collaborated with Accenture to design and implement a new digital logistics operating model across Read More
Fall Creek Seth Harden The Nature Conservancy
StewardshipLocal Farmers’ Watershed Initiative: Continuous Improve…
January 13, 2017
The goal in the Big Pine Watershed Project is to more intentionally do what local farmers and responsible ag retailers Read More
HerbicidesEPA Expands Enlist Duo Herbicide Registration To 34 Sta…
January 13, 2017
The U.S. EPA has expanded the geography for application of Enlist Duo herbicide from 15 to 34 states. This means Read More
Olson Ag Enterprise
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires Nebraska Seed Retailer
January 13, 2017
Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed and nutritional Read More
ManagementDeere-Precision Planting Update and the Ag Secretary Wa…
January 12, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj provide the latest on the court date for John Deere/Precision Planting and the quest Read More
Monsanto sign
Seed/BiotechMonsanto, NRGene Form Agreement For Big Data Genomic An…
January 12, 2017
Monsanto Co. and NRGene have announced that the companies have reached a non-exclusive, multi-year global licensing agreement on NRGene’s genome-analysis Read More