When Bob Haynes, Software/Technology Manager at Battlefield Farms, came onboard five years ago, his mission was twofold: implement a system to know what it costs to grow every crop and keep computers running. With a background in software implementation, he knew the massive plant growing operation needed to move from pricing products based on gut feeling to an enterprise-wide ERP system that would reveal every cost that goes into growing every plant.
The IT infrastructure side of the business wasn't as clear cut. Battlefield Farms had an outsourced IT partner that was too small to meet its needs and took days to respond to questions and service requests. And problems were mounting. Shortly after joining the company, Haynes discovered the company had no working backup or disaster recovery solution. Next, current network switches weren't sufficient to handle the massive facility comprised of 20 acres of barns for storage and shipping and 45 acres of covered greenhouse space. Additionally, data storage was insufficient and servers needed to be replaced.
Also, an older email platform only provided two gigabytes of space — which wasn't nearly enough for the 50 employees who needed to communicate with colleagues and customers quickly. Internet for the farm, which is situated in a very remote area, was run on a single T-1 line and telephones used a second T-1 line. If bad weather or other outages occurred and the telephone line was inoperable, customers would either get a busy signal or the phone would endlessly ring.
Battlefield Farms was also experiencing costly problems with its hand-held WiFi technology in the shipping area. Often, there was spotty connection due to interference from metal carts containing plants ready to be shipped — leading to duplicated labor for rescans. Each cart had to be scanned via WiFi to produce the bill of lading. If the bill of lading and cart product count didn't match at the store , the store issued chargebacks to Battlefield Farms — not just at the store with the incorrect shipment, but throughout every store in the chain.