HLB wants to contribute to efficient and sustainable agriculture by means of good research, practical diagnoses and advice with demonstrable benefit for the agricultural chain. Agriculture and horticulture are determining factors worldwide in the increasing demand for more and sustainable food and clean water. HLB also contributes to efficient and sustainable business operations in agriculture. They achieve this by carrying out detailed research with diagnoses and practical recommendations that provide demonstrable added value for the agricultural chain. In doing so, HLB makes the latest knowledge in the field of sustainability practical for farmers and horticulturists.
Ton Bolster, Operations Manager, explains: “We were looking for a new system to automate the processes of the HLB group. During that search, a new company was added to the HLB Group. This company, De Groene Vlieg Bio Diagnostics and De Groene Vlieg Bio Control also had their own system. In addition to the fact that we wanted to automate the processes, we also had to link these companies. Because of the uniformity, it was important to work with one platform. After the requirements and needs had been mapped out, we started a selection process. It was also important that the new system would support laws and regulations, such as the NEN standard. We ultimately opted for FileLinx because the software offered us maximum flexibility”.
HLB carries out research on a project basis and has a lab that carries out routine and specific research. Within De Groene Vlieg we have a routine research lab, but we also have a location where we grow onion flies in large numbers. For research, routine processes and production processes, standard systems are available that support that specific process, but there is no system that properly supports all the processes mentioned. FileLinx can do that.
We made a plan beforehand. The plan consists of several phases. The first phase has now been completed. In this phase, we have automated a routine part of our soil sample surveys. The process consists of sampling a plot to be investigated until the final report is sent to the customer.
FileLinx generates the labels for sample recognition and follows them through the process. This allows us to see where the sample can be seen in the process and calculations can be made of, among other things, lead times. The ultimate goal is to advise the customer based on the test results found. Formerly, we would send the research results and advice by post, but now this communication is completely digital. We now have much more insight into our process and it is more automated. The energy we now use to arrive at the end product is much less than before. What is even more important is that the process runs faster, so that we can also serve the customer faster.
In addition to the routine soil samples, the customer can also ask for a very extensive survey. These surveys are added to FileLinx in the second step. This phase is more complex than phase 1. Apart from the fact that there are more variables, the formulas we use to arrive at the end result are also more complex. We do not only use FileLinx as a logistics system. FileLinx takes care of the entire process, including the interpretation of the survey results up to the customer’s final report.
The third step has to do with the HLB fly division, De Groene Vlieg. We control the onion fly by means of a biological control method, by using sterilised onion flies and we monitor root flies in particular in order to be able to advise the grower on whether or not to spray with a pesticide. FileLinx will help us to further optimise these processes. In the fourth phase, we will put our large HLB projects in FileLinx. We do research in many areas. Each area has its own specific questions, schedules and techniques. For example, we look at new products from crop protection firms. We do research for the government or the sports sector. In some cases they ask us to set up testing grounds. We follow these testing grounds from the moment of sowing to the harvest of the crop in question and the examination of the crop itself. At the end of the season, we deliver a report with the findings. This report is generated by FileLinx, but to write this report we have to follow-up the entire season (in Filelinx).
At the end of February, we tested whether we could enter the laboratory data directly into FileLinx via an iPad. At the moment, the lab technicians write it down on paper and someone else types it into FileLinx. That test went well, the app is now being further developed and we can also use the app for other applications.
Position within the organisation
FileLinx will be a very large part of the organisation. One of the reasons we bought FileLinx is that we wanted more structure. The researchers would like their results to be clearly presented, so that they can draw conclusions very quickly.
FileLinx is flexible, versatile and innovative. You can go in any direction with it. I was used to working with systems that had a certain format. You easily get used to a particular structure. FileLinx does not have this structure. You are now very free to choose how you want to configure the software. We now have the experience that by having a good conversation with a FileLinx consultant, you will arrive at a good analysis and the best solutions. These cannot be captured in a standard package. It offers a lot of freedom.