Editor’s Note: John Deere Agri Services offers software to cover all angles of ag retailers’ businesses. We asked Jerry Halterman, vice president, North American region to explain why you’ll want to tap into these programs.
Q. Why target the retailers now?
A.John Deere Agri Services has been providing technology solutions to the ag market segment for over 25 years, under brands such as AGRIS and GeoVeritas. With new offerings like AgroGuide, which provides even more advanced agronomy planning tools, and Territory Market Analysis – a valuable business information source to help retailers, seed companies and grain merchandisers make profitable business decisions, John Deere Agri Services is poised to continue bringing worthwhile products and services to the ag market.
Q. Who have been your primary customers in the past – and today?
A. Ag retailers, grain companies, processors (seed, biofuels, food), farm supply, feed companies whether they are public, private, or farmer-owned cooperatives.
Q. We counted at least seven software products that you offer. Could you summarize them a bit?
A. The John Deere Agri Services business management system is comprehensive and streamlines processes in all key areas, including commodity management, agronomy management, grain processing, accounting & financials, retail sales, and petroleum management. These products help agribusinesses manage back office accounting functions as well as operational needs such as agronomy management, scale automation, binning, and store management.
We see this as a fully integrated agri-business management suite of products that meets the peculiar demands of a versatile ag business.
The core back office accounting application, the AGRIS V9 system, has the unique ability to be configured to meet specific business practices of each customer. It’s maintained so that ongoing enhancements can be delivered to all customers quickly. This system performs business transactions, delivers reporting information regarding operations, and seamlessly integrates product areas such as:
Agronomy – The AgroGuide agronomy management system provides improved crop planning, field history, spatial management, formulation, blending, invoicing, regulatory compliance, and reporting.
Bin Management – The binSight automated bin management system helps manage, blend, and market bulk commodity products with better binning, blending, reporting, and traceability.
Customer Information – The iView web-based customer service tool enables agribusinesses to provide their customers with online, secure access to their account information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Energy Management – The AGRIS Energy fuel management system is a tracking, scheduling, and routing software system for agribusinesses providing propane and refined fuels.
Point-of-Sale – The RetailWise point-of-sale (POS) system is easy-to-use and brings speed and accuracy to retail operations while providing more functionality than traditional POS systems.
Scale Automation – The oneWeigh scale automation system for platform and bulk scales automates routine tasks, eliminates duplication of effort, and speeds up weighing and grading processes.
These tools provide lots of integration points with other industry applications – examples include fertilizer blenders such as Junge, Kahler, Murray, and Regulatory Aawaco; feed systems such as WEM & Aceco; as well as others like Farm Plan, Meppel, and Canadian Wheat Board.
Q. How has this group of products evolved over the years?
A. We’ve been listening and have understood the increasing need to build a technological foundation that can evolve with our customers’ needs. Technology and functionality upgrades have been incorporated into the products and occur on a bi-annual basis.
The release of AgroGuide in 2005 is a key example of upgrading a system to meet the needs of the market – with particular attention to comprehensive functionality as well as ease of use and flexibility. In addition, the latest RetailWise point-of-sale (POS) system features newer, more advanced tools that are also easier to use.
Q. How can retailers take advantage of the programs?
A. By incorporating these products and services into their businesses, retailers will experience for themselves how these offerings can help to provide better information, improve processes, decrease duplication of efforts, reduce errors, and make more informed decisions regarding their business.
In addition, taking advantage of the products and services from John Deere Agri Services can help retailers discover ways to improve their customer service which, in our ever-competitive market, can go a long way in contributing to the bottom line.
Q. What kind of product support is available?
A. Our Technical Assistance Center (TAC Team) is available to help with questions via phone or email regarding the software application, installation issues, updates provided, and hardware infrastructure. The Center will work to provide a prompt response and resolution. And with our new skills-based routing, customers are more assured to get the right person to answer their specific question the first time.
We also boast a secure website which includes a Knowledge Base available only to customers. Here they can search for a variety of information regarding product features, updates, enhancements, articles, and software and hardware notifications.
The Knowledge Base acts as the first line of support and a quick way to find answers to questions any time of day. Our TAC team continually works to improve the Knowledge Base, such as adding articles to make sure the latest questions and answers are always available.
Recently, we’ve also created an Account Management Team. Representatives assist customers with any needs regarding account information, contracts, additional services, and even product improvement requests.