Farm management software Unosof makes great strides in modernizing their systems

"We are very excited with last year's advancements and even more with the upcoming developments"

Unosof is a software application and service company that manages over 1000+ ha of cut flowers for dozens of farms based in Ecuador and Colombia. As for many industries, 2020 presented some real challenges for them and they therefore decided to invest their spare time in improving their systems. "With our farm implementations paused for most of the year, we decided to focus more heavily on the modernization of our infrastructure with an eye on improving the scalability and availability of our systems that are mission-critical for our users", explains Jeroen van Vliet.  

Team members of Unosof at the Expo Flor Ecuador 2018 in Quito, Ecuador

16 years of experience
Unosof is an ERP system for farms. "It covers production-, post-harvest-, inventory management, exportations, sales and accounting receivables. The software is fully web based, responsive, scalable, modular and easy to customize for the needs of each client”. Their hard-working and dedicated team of professionals have been committed to making a difference in the cut-flower farm industry for over 16 years and in FloralDaily's most recent interview, they shared what has kept them going strong in this competitive industry and how they're working every day to continue their growth and help their clients grow, now and well into the future. 

Virtualizing their systems
Over the last years, the company had grown significantly and currently manages over 1000+ ha of cut flowers for dozens of farms based in Ecuador and Colombia. Last year has been a challenging one and they decided to invest more time in modernizing their systems. The most significant step they have taken in moving towards this direction was virtualizing their systems across the board and moving everything to the cloud onto components hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS), van Vliet explains. "The application model(s) we chose to follow, and the AWS services we have implemented so far, have allowed us to increase our systems' availability and gotten us a lot closer to achieving actual 99.999% uptime for customers and empowering near real-time recovery of services."

Changing the game for where scalability is concerned
Additionally, the move to AWS and the containerization of their front-end web servers have changed the game for them where scalability is concerned. "In an industry where high seasons can see volume increases of 500-1000% on a single day, scalability becomes the difference between catastrophe and record-setting sales. We have streamlined our development pipeline through containerization and automation, which allows us to rapidly push out new code updates to all servers simultaneously and as-needed, at near real-time speeds. This change alone has also empowered us to scale up our systems automatically and immediately when demand is heavy during the holidays, and scale them out in a similar fashion, as the holidays and busy weeks or seasons pass." 

Ability to securely connect to the Unosof platform
Finally, where data accessibility is concerned, they spent a good part of 2020 establishing and improving the ability for third parties to securely connect to the Unosof platform and access data through an industry-standard REST API. "Thanks to this component of our modernization effort, we have established multiple endpoints where businesses within the industry (e.g., wholesalers, importers, cargo agencies, truck companies) can easily connect and transmit information between each other. The REST API tools allow farms to provide access to their live inventories and future projections and receive orders back from their customers directly and securely in real-time, bypassing the need for manual entry or person-to-person communication. In the brief time they have been available, we have already seen these tools produce a dramatic increase in overall sales exposure for our customers, which, in turn, has translated to a direct increase in sales for them." 

Piloting RFID Post Harvest Modules
Moving in a direction toward increasing automation, they have spent the first half of 2021 piloting a system using RFID technology across their various postharvest modules. "RFID allows us to track and trace data in a very efficient way. It can read data through a radio frequency signal that will enable us to automatically scan data passively at a distance via positioned receivers. However, when necessary, it still supports the classic manual method using scanner handguns. This technology itself is not new, but it is finally reaching an affordable price point. Apart from the internal uses in the postharvest, the RFID technology has the potential to be applied across the entire logistics chain as greater adoption of the technology takes place in the industry overall." 

More than modernizing their system
Of course, the last year has not just been about modernizing their technology stack. "We also used this time to reinforce our knowledge base, further standardize all processes, and continue to document, document, and document the Unosof ecosystem. Now that everyone is running on the same version of code, it's more important than ever to document both changes and updates to existing modules as well as all the new features and communicate this effectively to our users." 

Excited for the upcoming developments
Unosof is very excited with the advancements they have made over the last year and they are even more excited for the upcoming developments they will be launching in the coming months, "including a resource allocation tool for order fulfillment, a completely re-designed sales page with real-time inventories for open market/standing order/projection sales, and a more polished and much more mobile-friendly user interface and design!"


For more information:
Jeroen van Vliet

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