Ruralco is centralising the way agents from across Australia record livestock sales, giving the wider business better overall visibility into its financial pipeline.
The company worked with Telstra and digital services agency Tigerspike to create Sale’O, which comprises an app for agents to enter their sale agreements, and a web dashboard for admin staff to monitor sales and follow up on paperwork.
Prior to Sale’O, processes varied by agent and by Ruralco business unit.
“Some agents captured their sales in pocketbooks, some called them through to the administrators in their offices, some kept all the information in their heads,” Tigerspike said.
It was hard to visualise the complete sales pipeline, partly because administrators had to chase agents for missing pieces of information.
The project’s partners started with an “intensive discovery project to unpack the business challenges” facing Ruralco, its agents and administrators.
The app for agents and web dashboard for administrators was developed in a series of Agile sprints.
The actual structure of the solution is heavily componentized to make individual pieces easier to upgrade.
“From a technological standpoint, we knew that this is a project that will be used for years into the future and will span multiple iterative releases,” Tigerspike said.
“For that reason, our technological choices focused on scale and componentization to enable future features to be delivered on the platform quickly.”
The entire system is bespoke, with the web portasl developed in ReactJS, and an iOS application built in Swift and “leveraging a variety of native features such as geolocation, the device camera, and keychain.”
“We also developed a bespoke sign-on-glass solution for customers to sign in the field,” Tigerspike said.
“The solution leveraged Apple's Core Data service to provide fully offline functionality so that agents could continue their work in the field.”
Innovation is a key pillar of Ruralco’s Future Farming Strategy and is considered necessary to futureproof the company’s existing core livestock businesses.
It’s an industry that has seen minimal change or innovation in previous years, and one where the threat of disruption is high.
Sale'O is considered by Ruralco to be a building block within that strategy, one that digitises its existing processes and allows for flexibility and future developments.
According to Tigerspike, it has created “business efficiencies that allow [Ruralco] staff to spend more time on proactive, commercial activities that will drive our livestock agencies forward.”
It could also help the company attract a new generation of young, tech savvy sales agents, since they can more easily transact and do business under the Ruralco umbrella.