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Farmcare

The UK’s leading farming and land management business

IT Lab helps Farmcare fly the nest and migrate to a bespoke new IT system

Case Study

Key Success

A successful and seamless migration delivered on time and on budget

Farmcare had immediate access to real-time data and maximum uptime, remaining connected between all 10 sites, spanning over 50,000 acres

Implementation of latest hardware and software systems with 24.7.365 support

Successful development of a flexible system will support Farmcare into the future, easily scaling with its ambitious growth plans

“IT Lab continues to be a valued partner to Farmcare, delivering an exceptional support service that helps us to remain the leading agricultural business in the UK. We look forward to embracing new technologies that will further set us apart from the competition in the future.”

Amie Harris, Head of Business Change at Farmcare

Background

Following its separation from the Co-operative Group, Farmcare required a trusted partner to deliver a brand new IT platform in tight timelines.

As Farmcare manages the entire food-production process across multiple sites, they needed to work with a partner who could offer a flexible service and one who was as forward-thinking as them.

Following a competitive process, IT Lab was selected to deliver this challenging and exciting project. They implemented an IT and telephony platform that will scale with the business as it continues to develop and grow. It was also of the utmost importance to Farmcare that they had 24.7.365 support, which IT Lab, who rank in the top 50 global managed service suppliers, were well-equipped to provide.

The Client

With a strapline of ‘farming for the future’, Farmcare is the UK’s leading farming and land management business, growing high-quality arable, fruit and vegetable crops for retailers, food service and trade sectors.

The business previously traded as The Co-operative Farms as a subsidiary of The Co-operative Group before it became a subsidiary of the Wellcome Trust in 2014.

This was a landmark move for Farmcare with The Co-operative bidding farewell to 118 years of farming and a move to the Wellcome Trust securing a new level of investment for the business.

Farmcare production takes place on more than 50,000 acres on sites throughout England and Scotland with a central head office located in Manchester. The business continues to grow and is passionate about its people, of which there are nearly 200 employed on a permanent basis.

Farmcare Master Logo

More than 50,000 acres

Nearly 200 permanent employees

The Challenge

tech-farm-banner

Flying the nest after such a long period of time with The Co-operative Group provided an exciting opportunity for Farmcare as well as some challenges. The business needed a new IT and telephony platform and support solution with business critical support and, most importantly, a trusted partner that could transition it from the Co-operative’s platform.

For a specialist like IT Lab, this is not an unusual occurrence when a business changes hands, but Farmcare is dependent on live data being accessible across multiple farm sites as well as its headquarters in order to operate at maximum efficiency and ensure product quality.

The type of data the business analyses can differ significantly, from observing product demand and profit margins across products, right through to monitoring rainfall and soil conditions to ensure crops are planted at the optimum time. All of this data directly impacts strategic decision making for the business and so needs to be available at all times at the touch of a button.

It was because of the critical importance of this data that Farmcare decided on partnering IT Lab, with its cutting-edge, enterprise level technology and expert technical support. A proven track record working with more than 800 companies across a whole host of sectors and 24.7.365 service cemented the beginning of Farmcare’s partnership with IT Lab.

The Service

As part of a three-year contract, IT Lab began work by implementing a completely new and fully outsourced IT platform, telephony and support solution. Working around the clock, IT Lab connected 10 farms, spanning over 50,000 acres, one packhouse and the Manchester-based head office. This ensured all areas of the business could communicate effectively, with minimal disruption to day-to-day processes.

As outlined in the tender process, Farmcare identified the significant challenges that come with a network delivered across fragmented and rural business structure and worked closely with IT Lab to overcome this and ensure productivity of staff regardless of location.

Staying ahead of the curve was absolutely key for Farmcare and the very latest hardware and software systems were implemented by IT Lab throughout the estate. Specifically, this saw the team deliver an access strategy via Citrix and a unified communications platform facilitated by Microsoft Skype for Business, ensuring complete remote user access and live video conferencing through Dell PCs, hybrid laptops and tablets.

The work did not stop there; a core IT platform located in a Manchester data centre, a wide area network WAN delivered by IT Lab’s partner, Metronet UK, and private 3G access for roaming users, of which there are a high number throughout the business were also delivered.

One of the most important factors to apply throughout the project was that Farmcare was entering an exciting new phase with additional investment, so growth was inevitable. As IT Lab solutions are always made with scalability in mind, a flexible system was developed that will support Farmcare and its nearly 200 current employees for years to come, easily scaling with its ambitious growth plans.

IT Lab Farmcare

“We look forward to further cementing our close relationship with Farmcare and help them to continue to build on their success, through its journey of transformation.”

Mike Bentley, Business Development Director at IT Lab

The Outcome

The team at IT Lab entered into this project with the firm understanding of its time sensitive nature and are proud to have delivered a successful and seamless migration from The Co-operative Group both on time and to budget.

After implementation, the fully integrated solution meant that Farmcare had access to real-time data and maximum uptime while remaining connected between all 10 sites.

Access to business critical data across the organisation is what sets Farmcare apart. The IT Lab team are extremely proud to ensure the delivery of this data through a process that has the potential to be disruptive if not handled correctly.

Within days of their request, IT Lab provided three engineers to provide front line services to McLaren’s employees. That engineer team quickly grew to five, marking the beginning of an emerging partnership between IT Lab and McLaren Technology Group.

Aside from both Farmcare and IT Lab being on the same page when it comes to striving to be the leaders in our prospective fields, both businesses share the very same passion in our people. This resulted in an excellent working relationship from day one which played a huge part in the success of the implementation project.

Today, IT Lab continues to provide Farmcare with 24.7.365 support services and is a strategic business partner with the ability to deliver a solution that will scale to support Farmcare’s ambitious growth plans.

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