Disrupting the Supply Chain with Nitrogen on Demand

Jul 17, 2019 10:59:51 AM   /   Zag

Ballance CS

Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ aim is to extend the provision of its fertiliser to all customers through new means of technological convenience, disrupting traditional supply chain operations. Ballance wanted to provide wider coverage with local access to the most commonly used fertilisers in locations where it does not have a manned local service centre.

The challenge was delivering Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) driven dispensing silos that would enable customers to load fertiliser out of hours and from remote New Zealand locations where it would not be economically viable to have a service centre.

“We work with Zag to digitise and disrupt our supply chain due to their knowledge of SAP and SAP partner technologies. Zag help us innovate quickly and self-sufficiently, allowing us to remain the leader in our industry. – David Scullin, CDO for Ballance


Solution – Ballance Self Service Silos

Working closely with SAP partner Zag and PLC specialist NZ Controls, Ballance delivered the on-site mechanical automation for dispensing and filling silos, fully integrated with SAP ERP sales orders and stock transfers for both inbound and outbound deliveries.

The carrier simply arrives, is electronically identified, scans the barcode, and for sales orders confirms the open quantity to be dispensed. The fertiliser is weighed and dispensed from the silo or the silo is filled from fertiliser tipped into a silo’s access pit. Each step is recorded automatically and integrated in real-time to SAP ERP with no need for human intervention.

“Ballance approached Zag as its SAP partner to provide an integration solution to support their planned roll-out of self-service silos around New Zealand. We worked closely with NZ Controls and Ballance to deliver an end-to-end solution that not only met Ballance’s current needs, but also provided a solution that supported their future aspirations.

The solution empowers Ballance to roll-out self-service silos themselves without need for further SAP consulting support. As no master nor transactional data is persisted on the silo PLC, all changes can be driven from SAP ERP, providing and maintaining a single source of truth for Ballance.

Since the first silo went live, the integration using SAP PO middleware to connect silo-sites with SAP ERP has operated without issues, ensuring Ballance always has visibility of current stock levels driving automated replenishment, and real-time updates based on carrier and customer collections.” – Stuart McMinn, Enterprise Architect for Zag

Outcome - Lower total cost of ownership

Due to the success of the first self-service silo deployed, Ballance has delivered a further four sites with plans for more in the future. The integration provided by Zag allows Ballance to manage and monitor existing locations and to roll-out new sites without consulting support.

Self-service silos have proved popular with carriers and customers alike for its simplicity and extended operating hours allowing pickups to be made locally and more conveniently, saving time and transport costs. The reduction in transport distances translates to a lower carbon footprint.

“Our new automated self-service silos are about giving customers flexibility and convenience in their working day. We like to think of it as the ATM for fertiliser – simply swipe, fill and go. The real-time integration with SAP ERP sales orders and stock transfers without the need for human intervention makes this process seamless, not just for our customers but for business users as well. Yet again, SAP technology has supported Ballance in delivering innovation to our customers.” – David Scullin, CDO for Ballance Agri-Nutrients

For More Information Contact

NZ Sales Enquiries
Glenda Godfrey
Sales Manager
M // +64 27 583 4848
E // glenda@zag.team

AU Sales Enquiries
Kieran McCaul
Business Development Manager
M // +61 42 402 7838
E // kieran@zag.team

Best of breed or integrated ERP solution?