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How a Fruit Distributor Used Power Apps for Supply Chain Innovation

Learn how Homegrown Organic (HGO) Farms used Power BI and Power Apps to improve supply chain visibility, quality control, and supply forecast.

Homegrown Organic Farms Leverages Power Apps to Become the Envy of Their Industry

Homegrown Organic (HGO) Farms is an employee-owned fresh fruit marketer and shipper that represents 100+ farmers with more than 7,000 acres spanning California and Oregon.

The perishability of organic produce means that time is of the essence. Products like organic blueberries have a shelf life of only days or weeks. HGO’s ability to respond quickly to changes along the supply chain is critical. The HGO team needs complete and real-time visibility into every step of the process.

Mason Brady, HGO’s CFO and supply chain director, integrates operations, accounting, finance, and other systems to support reporting and data-driven decision-making.

However, leveraging the organization’s legacy ERP system with other data sources and highlighting key metrics for different stakeholders was a complex operation.

Robust Reporting Makes Sense of Disparate Data

“Everybody at HGO wanted better insight from their data,” said Mason. “We were looking for a way to get our hands on real-time data living in our ERP and other data sources to use these key decision points and metrics to help everybody run the business.”

While researching potential solutions a couple of years ago, Mason learned of Skypoint’s Power BI and business intelligence thought leadership in the community. Mason realized that Skypoint (formerly CSG) was a clear leader in the space and chose to partner with our team of consultants because we could support his team with our expertise in not just Power BI, but across the entire Power Platform.

Skypoint took the time to assess Homegrown Organic Farm’s ERP and backend systems to make sense of all of the data sources and help Mason’s team achieve their goal of creating better reporting for his key business users. Skypoint worked closely with Mason to prioritize high-impact, strategically important reports.

“(Skypoint) has a handle on how our entire system works, and the results are better than anything that we can produce on our own using our ERP or Excel,” said Mason.

Skypoint helped Mason and his team build their CFO dashboard, sales and receiving reports, and repacking reports. It was critical to get these projects right the first time so the team could roll out analytics to the rest of the organization with confidence.

Homegrown Organic Farms didn’t want to just stop at reporting, they also wanted to engage Skypoint to develop Power Apps to automate and streamline processes even further.

“Seamless integration of information between the ERP and other systems is missing in our industry. I have never seen other companies successfully develop the ability to combine and aggregate data from outside sources with such an industry-focused ERP,” said Mason.

“Skypoint has a handle on how our entire system works, and the results are better than anything that we can produce on our own.”

A QC Inspection Power App Builds Trust with Growers

Effective and efficient inventory management is of utmost importance to an organic fruit distributor.

The concept of Power Apps’ cost-efficient, low-code approach was appealing to Mason. He had previously worked with another development team that built out an expensive (but flawed) inventory management app. So, HGO was still in the market for a solid solution.

Skypoint was tapped to help HGO create a quality control (QC) inspection app using Power Apps.

Since HGO serves as the distribution arm for growers, having transparent reporting during the inspection process is of the utmost importance. Reliable tools are a critical piece in enabling Mason’s team to communicate effectively with their growers and share the highest level of detail.

“(Skypoint) helped us develop a QC inspection app, which turned out to be a big win,” said Mason. “It allows us to keep our eyes on the fruit running through our packing houses. We can take pictures, evaluate the fruit, and provide reports with high-quality details to growers.”

Thanks to the QC Power App, Mason and his team can publish reports using Power BI and send them to growers regularly and frequently. The suppliers are able to understand the defects in their fruits and take steps to avoid defects and issues in the future. Consolidated data gives growers insights and transparency into what’s happening with their fruit along the supply chain.

“Our ability to provide high-quality reporting to growers efficiently has become the envy of the industry. Competitors with business models similar to ours simply can’t provide suppliers with the same level of transparency,” said Mason.

“When somebody says, ‘how do I get my hands on that?’ and ‘I'll pay for what you guys have developed,’ that in itself represents the value that CSG (now Skypoint) brings.”

A Forecast App Improves Supply Chain Management

The Skypoint team also developed a forecast app for HGO using Power BI and Power Apps. The field team can input crop yield estimate information into the app in real-time and feed the data into the ERP as they walk through the growers’ ranches.

Once growers harvest the fruits, the team quickly compares live information with their earlier forecast—without going through a stack of Excel sheets. This capability allows Mason and his team to communicate with various parties in the supply chain, such as packing and storage partners, to help them understand the status of the crop and know what to expect.

“The ability to gather outside data and input and aggregate that with the ERP data is missing for others in our industry. We are finding success with it.”

A True Partnership Creates Business Transformation

Mason and his team trusted that Skypoint would work through the hurdles. Together, we have invested a lot of time and effort to achieve the desired outcomes.

“Everybody really enjoys working with CSG (now Skypoint). They’re professional but they also have a unique and fun culture that makes them great to work with,” said Mason. “They’re also very reliable, so we can count on them to deliver results.”

By combining Power BI and Power Apps, we helped HGO create meaningful transformations in many aspects of its business operations. These tools enabled HGO to build trust and communicate effectively with their growers, but also, to stand out as innovators in their industry.

We enjoy helping teams like yours leverage Power Apps to achieve business transformation and lead the way in your industry.

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