Ballance Agri-Nutrients is a New Zealand farmer-owned co-operative that helps its customers to farm more productively, profitably and sustainably. Its core business of fertiliser manufacturing, supply, sales and advice has grown to offer farmers a full range of science-backed nutrient products and services.
Ballance Agri-Nutrients is a New Zealand farmer-owned co-operative that helps its customers to farm more productively, profitably and sustainably. Its core business of fertiliser manufacturing, supply, sales and advice has grown to offer farmers a full range of science-backed nutrient products and services. This agri-nutrient advice is complemented by web-based farm systems software, which enables farmers to capture and analyse a wealth of information, and so make the best management decisions for their business. Ballance covers the country, with one-on-one specialist advice on farm backed up by a network of rural merchant supply partners, service centres, consignment stores, manufacturing sites and its own agricultural aviation services.
The Ballance Vision
The leadership team at Ballance values data and simplicity. Their vision is to provide solutions for their employees, suppliers and customers to transform data into accessible, valuable information, enabling greater knowledge sharing and more powerful decision-making into the future.
Their solution of choice was SAP S/4HANA, and in early June 2016 Ballance became the first New Zealand business to go-live on SAP’s next generation ERP.
David Scullin, CIO, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, summarises the reasons behind their decision to go with SAP S/4HANA: “You can’t be smart going forward, without this technology in place – and the journey we are now on will allow us to connect our employees, suppliers, customers and networks to our digital core. With SAP S/4HANA at the centre, we are designing and building solutions that are mobile, intuitive, robust and valuable, enabling our customers to be more autonomous, productive and to do business with us with ease.”
“Working with farmers to deliver sustainable, viable New Zealand businesses is at the heart of what we do,” said Mark Wynne, CEO, Ballance Agri-Nutrients. “Getting the foundation right for the digital future of our business is equipping us to drive better on-farm productivity and profitability. With SAP S/4HANA we are readying Ballance for the digital revolution; digital connects our communities; digital delights our stakeholders.”
Since going live with SAP S/4HANA, Ballance has increased the productivity of its sales team and simplified the reporting requirements of its finance team. Management sales reporting for example has decreased from two hours to 20 minutes, while key business processes have become 75 per cent quicker. In some cases, delivering real-time insight on a year’s worth of data is taking less than a second.
“We understood the power of real-time data, and the need to get this into the hands of our employees,” said Richard Hopkins, CFO, Ballance Agri-Nutrients. “With SAP S/4HANA our people are more productive. They have access to the right tools and information at the right time, enabling them to serve our customers with confidence.
“The speed at which we are now able to extract insights from our data has advanced our reporting capabilities significantly. The team now has more time to focus on the job at hand, and already our month end is easier and quicker to complete thanks to the SAP S/4HANA Finance solution. There is no longer even time to go and get a coffee when waiting for a report to process!”
Building on a Digital Core
Placing SAP S/4HANA at its digital core, Ballance – supported by Zag (formerly Soltius) – is executing on a technology roadmap based on simplification and real-time. At the heart of its digital strategy is the goal to create a great customer digital experience across every company touchpoint.
“In going live with SAP S/4HANA, we are laying the foundation on which to execute our business strategy,” said David Scullin. “With a digital core in place, we are already realising significant efficiencies across the organisation. We also have the base on which to build our digital future”.
By providing a seamless deployment that was on time and budget, Zag lived up to the solid reputation that led Ballance to select it as its implementation partner. With over 20 years’ experience in SAP implementations in New Zealand, Zag has a strong track record of success in similar projects. Here, the team at Zag demonstrated they are at the forefront of the latest SAP technology, successfully delivering the first SAP S/4HANA project in New Zealand.
“We’ve enjoyed working with Ballance to implement SAP S/4HANA, and we’re very pleased the company is already seeing major benefits from the solution,” said Nick Mulcahy, CEO, Zag. “We know Ballance will continue to see productivity and profitability benefits grow as the solution becomes more embedded. Our team looks forward to continuing to support Ballance as it builds further capability on this solid foundation, including the upcoming implementation of SAP Hybris”.
Ballance’s Digital Future
By executing on its digital strategy, Ballance is making it simple, easy and productive for its external and internal customers to do business; enabling knowledge growth and decision making for optimum business and customer outcomes; and simplifying and streamlining business processes.
Ballance’s digital roadmap of simplicity and real-time will now focus on enhanced customer engagement and service through connecting SAP Hybris (SAP’s omni-channel customer engagement and commerce solutions) and its CRM to its SAP S/4HANA digital core. In addition, with further SAP application deployments planned, Ballance will continue to simplify its business processes.
About SAP S/4HANA
SAP S/4HANA is the next-generation business suite designed to help organisations run simple in the digital economy. The suite is built on SAP’s advanced in-memory platform, SAP HANA, and offers a personalised user experience with SAP Fiori.
Founded in 1996, with a long and strong track record of successful implementations, Zag is a locally based, trusted advisor and ‘safe pair of hands’ to over 80 businesses across ANZ. Central to Zag’s success has been the strong partnerships built from deep understanding of clients’ businesses and the drive to stay at the forefront of digital innovations.