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Case study: how we implemented business process software for Agrocom


Maryna Cherednychenko - July 17, 2020 - 0 comments

In a highly competitive environment, efficient business process management is crucial. Even small glitches in the workflow may lead to huge losses, that is why having a powerful BPM/CRM system becomes urgent. It helps get the best out of company resources and optimize business activity.

With this in mind, we started working on a project for Agrocom. A client asked us to digitize business processes. At that time, all their document flow was in paper form, which caused a lot of trouble. 

Based on the client’s requirements, we built an enterprise app that streamlined the workflow. Trace our journey of software development from the problem statement to project delivery

About the project

Agrocom is a middle-sized agricultural enterprise that cultivates large tracts of land. It provides a significant volume of farm products of mass demand and consumption.

The total staff number is over 25 employees, the land under cultivation – 1000 ha, the number of vehicles and pieces of equipment – 20.

When they reached out to us, all their accounting was on paper. Some records they maintained included an accounting of:

  • fields
  • crops
  • equipment
  • staff
  • harvesting 

Task

Such a way of managing finances was extremely outdated, so we were given the task to automate the farming process fully. Here are the systems that we were tasked to digitize:

For owner:

  • enterprise assets control
  • viewing operating reports
  • automation of management processes

For economist:

  • farm planning
  • management accounting
  • financial accounting
  • tax accounting
  • operating analysis
  • cost management
  • budgeting

For agronomist:

  • production planning
  • inventory management
  • procurement planning
  • outgoing inventory

For engineer:

  • trucks and cars management
  • determining a load of equipment based on the list of planned works
  • estimation of the need to attract third-party equipment
  • calculation of planned spare part requirements
  • repair and maintenance management

With the consent of the client, we decided to build desktop and mobile app versions. The first would serve the company employees and the second – the business owner.

Business analysis phase

We started by studying the business process documentation. Afterward, we simulated the current workflow of the company in the business process diagram. Here, we depicted the daily operations that directly mirror the production process. In particular, we showed works performed by combiner, harvester, and truck driver.

Agrom business process diagram

BPMN diagram for Agrocom

 

User story

Acceptance criteria

As an owner, I want to be aware of the state

of things in my company. I need constant access to

financial indicators and know how the workflow goes.

  • see actual stocks by plants and warehouses
  • view the dynamics of harvesting by fields and plants
  • analyze crop yield by fields and plants
As an economist, I want a handy tool for doing

accounting. For that, I need quick access to such

records as inventory, equipment, personnel, etc.

  • staff accounting
  • shifts management
  • machinery accounting
  • fields data
  • harvesting statistics
As an agronomist, I want to grow high-quality crops.

For that, I need up-to-date information about soil status,

seeds to plant, output, natural loss, etc.

  • add/remove fields
  • add/remove plants
  • sort by fields plants/fields
  • start harvesting
  • finish harvesting
As an engineer, I want to know about the

equipment performance, current repair works,

and the quality of working machines.

I need to access and manage vehicle data in

a fast and simple manner.

  • add/remove combine
  • see combine productivity by month
  • view worked hours by month
  • sort by type, brand, weight, mileage

Execution phase

We appointed a team of six persons:

  • Business analyst
  • Backend Java developer
  • Mobile iOS developer
  • Web developer
  • Ui/UX designer
  • QA engineer

At the development stage, we did the following:

  • created entities, such as Field, Plant, Crop, etc. 
  • indicated relationship between entities
  • designed and implemented API
  • launched a working system

The technology stack covered:

  • Java
  • React
  • Electron
  • Swift

On the client-side, the economist participated in the discussion and smart farming development. All the meetings were held online, on average, three times a week. The development process went smoothly. The client changed the requirements once after trying the app in production. We made changes quickly.

The predefined time for implementation was 2000 hours. We delivered the project in time.

Challenge faced

The client was often losing Internet connection due to thunderstorms in the fields and cable breaks. In this regard, it was necessary to make an app that can work entirely in offline mode.

We made it by implementing a mechanism that stores the data locally on the computer. When the Internet appears, the app runs synchronization. To accomplish this task, we used the Electron framework. It supports HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to turn React website into a desktop app for Windows. The synchronization was implemented with the help of Rest API.

Outcome

As a result, we have entirely digitized agricultural BPM. The project was completed within three months. During this period, we developed two applications:

  • desktop app for the economist, engineer, and agronomist
  • mobile app for the business owner 

 

Agrocom desktop app

The harvest statistics screen of the desktop app for Agrocom

 

Agrocom mobile app

The analytics and dynamics screens of the mobile app for Agrocom

 

The desktop app covers all the document flow in planting and harvesting, helps doing accounting, and generates reports. The system eliminates the need for manual paperwork and increases the KPI of the economic and technical departments.

The mobile app allows staying up to date about the company business. The owner can receive reports, track financial metrics, and keep in touch with the managers 24/7.

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