Supporting the full lifecycle of farm operations with SAP solutions

Executive Summary

A large agricultural holding lacked a centralized planning system, which resulted in inefficient harvesting. TerraLink offered a digital ecosystem for end-to-end harvest planning and farm-field operations management based on SAP S/4HANA (PCE/RISE), and improved the company’s productivity with precise measurements of crop yields and qualities. The solution allowed the company to reduce costs and improve efficiency by taking control of its mission-critical processes.

Customer Business Challenges

The agricultural holding needed a solution to support the full lifecycle of farm operations to eliminate crop failure risks and reduce costs. The company struggled with decentralized planning processes, including harvesting, production, and transportation, and lacked coordination between each structural unit. Another challenge for the company was non-automated operations, such as measurements and control of crop yields, as well as qualitative and quantitative accounting of grain, leguminous and technical crops. For instance, the dates for crop progress were determined based on personal observations by employees. Moreover, the field observation data was not recorded in any system, and the crop inspections were not systematized. Also, the company did not have tools and resources to handle large amounts of data relevant to farming operations. All these factors caused additional costs and risks, and had a negative impact on the results of the growing season. Thus, the company needed an end-to-end digital solution to support the planning and management of its operations, which in turn would help it reduce costs, improve forecasting accuracy, and respond faster to business needs.

TerraLink's Contribution

TerraLink developed and implemented a digital solution based on SAP S/4 HANA PCE and SAP Cloud Platform that eliminated information gaps and created a digital ecosystem for end-to-end operations planning. Fiori interfaces - as well as SAP Transportation Management and SAP Farm Management from Vistex - were also deployed, supporting the key stages of farm lifecycle management. The solution provided an efficient digital crop planning and dispatching system, which enabled the company to accurately determine the harvest period depending on weather conditions. Based on this information, the system generated orders for employees to inspect the fields and automatically created the production plan.

Another advantage of the new system was the ability to manage activity-based costing through field- and activity-specific task management. The company now has capabilities for online control by machine operators, automatic recording of harvest transportation processes in the system, and automatic calculation of transportation and harvesting expenses. In addition, the solution provided the company with quantitative and qualitative measurements of products.

Customer Business Outcomes

The implemented digital ecosystem identifies the actual peaks of crop maturity and determines the optimal timing of crop ripening and harvesting. Based on this information, agronomists receive automatically generated orders for field inspections. During inspections, they determine the phase of technological ripeness and crop moisture. Then the employees can add the information from the inspections into the system via mobile device. All of this eliminates the risk of harvesting overly wet crops and subsequent crop failure.

The system also automatically generates the optimum production plan and allocates products to storage locations, forming a plan with the greatest benefit. This allows the company to optimize its storage and transportation costs. The solution also optimizes and controls the transportation process itself, which eliminates transportation losses and reduces the human factor.

The company plans to continuously optimize the system to maintain transparency and eliminate information gaps in the business process.

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