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Software as a basic condition for good business operations

Published by CODEMA, 20 November 2020

How does a grower get maximum control over the business and proceeds of a greenhouse? CODEMA's software systems are at the heart of this control in flori, agri and herbal cultivation. We will discuss this with Pieter Zwinkels, Accountmanager Software & Web Solutions at CODEMA.

CODEMA’s Software & Web Solutions is a modular software and management information system that touches all the processes and systems of a modern horticultural company. Although the different modules together form one system, an individual module is equally easy to use separately. It is common for the cooperation to start with the ‘greenhouse control system’: an automation system that controls all logistics processes from the critical cultivation systems in the grower’s greenhouse. The greenhouse control system can be expanded as required by adding separate modules to it. This is how CODEMA grows with the grower.

The role of Software & Web Solutions

The following statements and information come from Pieter Zwinkels, Account Manager Software & Web Solutions. Zwinkels has been in horticulture since he was a kid. His parents grew radishes, and from high school, his side jobs were with growers or trade associations in horticulture. Therefore, it wasn’t a surprise that he chose to study Agriculture and Horticulture at HAS in Den Bosch and the University of Wageningen. After his studies, CODEMA showed him it was possible to combine all his interests:

“Software touches on all facets that were discussed in my business studies. Whatever it’s about, Software is always needed. Good human resources and employment registration, optimisation of product sales, purchasing,  inventory management, these are all systems that the grower benefits from. Especially now that there are more and more major international projects at CODEMA, Software is increasingly a prerequisite for good business management. ”

Cash file enables the management of critical business processes

Greenhouses are becoming more copious to exploit economies of scale. You can also see that the number of orders is increasing, while the order size decreases. This creates more logistical movements and higher complexity. How does a grower keep a grip and control over what’s going on in his greenhouse?

“By means of the greenhouse control system, the grower controls his entire greenhouse. In the greenhouse control system, all automated systems are linked together. The user receives instructions from the system directly. The system itself devises how it executes processes in the best way and transports the plant via the ideal path from A to B and finally to C. The grower, of course, keeps a view of where the different plants are in his greenhouse at all times.

The greenhouse control system gives a clear overview and growers will be able to work with it in no-time. As a grower, you can also dive deeper into the matter. Select a container or plant, and you know exactly which container it is, what cultivation is on it and which batch it belongs to. One step further and you can exactly see what growth phase the plant is in and what nutrition it was given. The user has all the control and prevents errors through this. ”

https://vimeo.com/280141968

Making internal processes transparent

With the greenhouse control system, the current status of the greenhouse is clear, and the different systems are controlled. But the grower often wants to zoom in more deeply on specific processes or anticipate developments. CODEMA offers various software modules that control internal processes:

  1. Registration of plants or individual plants, materials and labour;
  2. Plans of crops, materials and labour;
  3. Sorting plants with Vision systems;
  4. Linking climate computer.

“When do I set up certain plants so that I can be sure that I will have sufficient supply for a period of time? How much work do I need on these days? How much space do I have free at a particular time, and how do I use my greenhouse as optimally as possible? These are crucial questions for each grower. Our Software answers these questions quickly.

By combining different modules, it is possible to plan, follow, manage labour, ensure quality and even tailor the climate computer to the planning of the entire cultivation process. This way, the grower has a grip on the processes and responds to the changes in demand from the market.”

CODEMA Software facilitates external business processes

The structure for receiving and handling orders is nowhere as complicated as in the Dutch horticulture. The flower auction, different virtual marketplaces and, for example, their webshop, all have to communicate with one central system so that orders and stock is always correct. CODEMA’s experience in delivering customised solutions in these complex environments ensures that the wishes of international customers are practically always fulfilled.

CODEMA distinguishes the following modules and systems:

  • Quotation- and invoicing system;
  • Virtual marketplace;
  • Webshop sales.

“Our market leadership in the field of integration with Floriday and Floramondo – digital trading at the Dutch Flower Auction – proves that CODEMA is the supplier of Software for horticulture. We link the internal logistics of a greenhouse to various digital marketplaces. In doing so, we also set out for an unprecedented understanding of the processes  of the greenhouse.”

https://vimeo.com/312927586

Datawarehouse

All data and information end up in what CODEMA calls the DataWarehouse package. This management information system processes and brings together big data in dashboards and overviews that give a  grower a quick insight into his business operations.

“We literally let everything come together. Think of labour registration, energy and water consumption or, for example, an overview of the growth status of certain containers or even individual plants. Combine that with sales and purchasing information, and you know exactly how you’re performing.  Of course, we always align this 100% with the wishes of the grower. This gives him an overview to make the right decisions for his company.”

The DataWarehouse package is the module that acts as a management information system for critical cultivation systems and can then be further integrated into various tools such as PowerBI and QlikView.

 

Ideal situation: maximum grip on efficiency and yield

What does the world look like when you combine all the modules? Zwinkels explains:

“A complete software and automation system ensures that the grower has a maximum grip on the processes and revenue of the greenhouse. This is used, for example, in an orchid greenhouse. Each plant is registered in the system individually. Not only the location of the plant, but all possible properties and influences are tracked per plant. Cameras regularly inspect each orchid, after which the system automatically records items such as size, number of branches and open flowers.

Is an order coming in? The system links the right, individual plants to the customer’s order and moves them to the packing workplace. It is even possible to add a complete growth and cultivation report to each plant. Finally, the packing time is assigned to the specific order, and then both order and invoice go out the door. A fully closed and automated system in which revenue and efficiency can be followed down to the smallest detail.”

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