Hutchinsons is a leading provider of agronomic services, crop inputs, fertilizer, and seed in the United Kingdom. To continue to grow and provide strong crop production advice for their customers, they built OMNIA, a precision farming nutrient management system that is specifically designed for the agronomic needs of UK farmers. With the large range of agronomic digital services that OMNIA provides, data management is essential. Hutchinsons believes their success as a company hinges upon helping growers better utilize the data they’re already collecting — which makes data activation and management the foundation of everything they do.
“There's a lot of confusion and noise in the (agtech) market,” said Oliver Wood, Precision Technology Manager, Hutchinsons. “We have structured our business to get through that noise and provide a real solution to the farmer. Our ultimate goal is to allow farmers to make sense of their data.”
Serving Customers Through Data Integration
Hutchinsons’ family-owned business model has continually focused on putting customer needs first since their founding more than 80 years ago. As they’ve grown and expanded their services, they quickly realized they needed to be able to fully connect to all digital file types and sources to best serve their farmer customers. In addition to the quality-of-life benefits this would bring to their customers, Hutchinsons also recognized that being compatible with a variety of data and services would give them a foundation to offer new services of their own. To achieve this, they needed to find a way to incorporate and translate objective data from a huge range of machines and sources quickly and efficiently.
UK farmers often have fleets of multi-branded equipment and use a variety of different data collection platforms. In addition to needing to work with the different APIs of these platforms, they had to be compatible with files on USB sticks and be able to translate and use that data as well.
“Because of the nature of our customers’ mixed fleets and therefore numerous systems, we have an opportunity to help them be successful and make their life easier by simply connecting and allowing data to flow.”
While the OMNIA platform is designed to meet these challenges, Hutchinsons realized they needed a data integration partner to translate and analyze the incoming data rather than try to build an individual interface for each different system. They knew partnering with Leaf would help them launch their connected services quickly, save them thousands of development hours, and avoid continuous maintenance.
“I’m a big believer in building one interface for the sake of ease and simplicity,” said Oliver. “As a part of our agronomic services, we needed to be able to provide our customers with succinct and accurate data transfers, a two-way interface for field boundaries, and access to multiple brands of machine data.”
Staying Customer-Focused Through Data Infrastructure and Support:
To continue to expand their offerings and grow their OMNIA platform, Hutchinsons partnered with Leaf and their unified API to power their API integrations and data translation. Through this partnership, Hutchinsons was able to expand its services and provide data translations for multiple sources in less than 3 weeks.
“We would not have been able to build and maintain the infrastructure ourselves,” said Oliver. “With Leaf, we have been able to complete integrations faster than we ever thought possible. Because of this, we can now connect to a whole range of different machines and services and position ourselves as a leader in the space.”
Working with Leaf has allowed Hutchinsons to continue to separate themselves from their competition.
“One of Hutchinsons’ key market differentiators is our local knowledge of UK farming and our unique niche as a family-owned, UK-based company. Through our partnership with Leaf, we have been able to stay UK farmer focused, elevate our product offerings, and improve our customers’ experiences without becoming just another provider with lack of support.”
Utilizing API Integrations to Expand Product Offerings:
Through Leaf’s unified API, Hutchinsons was able to become instantly compatible with a huge range of ag data platforms in less than 20 days, resulting in:
- Accelerated product offerings through their OMNIA agronomic service platform
- 50,000 hectares connected (123,553 acres) within 20 days of starting implementation
- Growth of customer base beyond 25% of UK farmers
- Compatibility with all partners via Leaf’s API
- A foundation for new data-enabled services
- Expanded trust and strengthened relationships between company and customers
- Team focus on service and developing solutions specific to UK farmers
- Decreased development time
- Farmers realizing the opportunities their data can provide
“This is a very interesting space to work in. Every month there seems to be another new platform on the market. But what we’re able to offer is the kind of connected solutions that farmers are ultimately looking for. Farmers don't want multiple different platforms,” said Oliver. “Because of the nature of our customers’ mixed fleets and therefore numerous systems, we have an opportunity to help them be successful and make their life easier by easily connecting and allowing data to flow. Leaf helps us achieve that.”