Belfast software firm Output Digital’s R&D investment aimed at growing sales in Ireland, UK and US horticulture sector.
An R&D investment by Belfast tech firm Output Digital has resulted in the creation of a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system called GrowFlo.
The system, designed for the horticulture sector, will help the firm to grow sales in the Republic of Ireland, the UK and the US.
“Our success so far has built our confidence and reputation. We are now looking to extend the system’s capabilities with further functionality and exploring our export potential in Australia and Canada, as well as the rest of the world”
Growflo is tailored for wholesale horticulture nurseries, designed to create efficiencies by helping them manage sales, stock, orders, and other nursery operations.
“Since 2013 we’ve been selling successfully into the UK,” said Alan Brown, managing director of Output Digital. “To build on this success, we did some market research which confirmed that we had the potential to break into new markets by enhancing our Growflo platform and support horticulture wholesalers to improve efficiencies. Invest Northern Ireland was our first port of call for advice and support. Its grant for R&D has helped us to develop our Growflo system and extend its functionality with an Android app which we have sold to growers across the UK, Ireland and the US.
“The new app allows our customers to manage plant stock in real time as they walk around the nursery, so stock is instantly available on the ERP online ordering system, making it faster and easier to sell their products. The app also includes task management functionality, which ultimately saves time and paperwork. Our success so far has built our confidence and reputation. We are now looking to extend the system’s capabilities with further functionality and exploring our export potential in Australia and Canada, as well as the rest of the world,” Brown said.
Since 2017, Invest NI has offered the company £136,101 of support towards R&D to develop and enhance the Growflo platform, along with marketing activities, consultancy, and trade support. It has also received support from the Northern Ireland Small Business Loan Fund, part of Invest NI’s Access to Finance portfolio.
“When companies invest in R&D, they are better positioned to stay ahead of competitors and thrive in the global marketplace,” said Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI director of Innovation, Research and Development.
“Having spotted a gap in the market for a purchasing and supply chain management platform for the horticultural wholesale market, Output Digital’s Growflo product is providing it with a unique selling point.
“Our R&D support has assisted Output Digital to develop its Growflo product and adapt it to market demand, particularly with its new app function. Coupled with our advice on trade in international markets, it has also taken advantage of business opportunities globally. We’re pleased to continue to work with Output Digital as it innovates and moves into more new markets around the world.”
In recognition of Output Digital’s commitment to innovation, it has been awarded a Gold Level Innovator Certificate from Innovate NI.
Main image at top: Alan Brown, Managing Director of Output Digital with Dr Vicky Kell, Director of Innovation, Research and Development, Invest NI.