A new software system is promising to address farming productivity issues, hoping to make life - and work - easier for farmers.
JobDone, cloud-based farm management software, is being developed by fourth-generation farmer Nigel Taylor. It aims to save the industry $500 million annually by improving compliance, staff management and streamlining farming costs.
The Manawatu-based farmer, who operates multiple farms in Rongotea with 1000 cows and six full-time and two part-time staffers, said the technology was designed to alleviate problems he has experienced first-hand.
Can you briefly describe the business?
JobDone is a software package for on-farm issues such as health and safety, payroll, timesheets and inventory management.
What sparked the idea?
For me, being a farmer, it was the concerns about incomes and compliance. The software was inspired by the difficulties I was facing on the farm at the time.
My business is reasonably small so at the time I was having to be a jack of all trades - I thought there must be an easier way to do this.
Initially I searched to see if there was anything out there, purposely built for agriculture businesses, but there was nothing in a complete package.
What were the biggest challenges you faced prior to creating this software?
For me it was managing a team - efficiency, compliance, timesheets and payroll. All those things were really becoming a bigger issue than they should have been.
You received support from Fonterra, can you tell us about that?
I went and competed in a Fonterra Activate challenge up against eight other teams. I got in front of a panel of 10 people - five from the executive team and a couple of farmers. I did a 10-minute pitch and then a 10-minute Q&A in Auckland and I won the competition.
Fonterra haven't given us any money as such, but they are giving us a bit of publicity by using their marketing channels, and using their experience and guidance to help us. Getting the word out there I guess.
What is the best thing about the software?
For me it has been having a complete package. We don't have to have four or five different tools in the toolbox. We have one tool that's going to manage our people, keep our people safe and manage payroll.
Where and how can farmers access this software?
The best way to use the software is to go to it through our website. You can log in through the demo site.
The software pack operates in the web browser which means it can operate on any sort of device or tablet with access to the internet.
Is there any cost to use this software?
There is no cost initially. We are going to do a three-month free trial.
What advice would you give to other small business operators who are thinking about creating their own software?
My advice would be get a really good team of people. I think we have got it well set up now. I'm doing the on-farm side of it and we've got a tech partner and a marketing expert. Within the team we've got sort of every angle covered. Get a good team of people around you that can see your vision and believe in you and then you can make it happen.
Where would you like to see the software take you in 5-10 years?
Ultimately I would like to solve continual issues on the farm and of course see the business grow and solve the on-farm issues that we are currently having and to make a difference to peoples' lives and we will grow with that. As long as we are solving the issues on farms, then I think our business will keep growing.