Feed mill process control consultancy gaining traction in the UK and beyond

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages
© GettyImages
Fresh off a feed milling project in Northern Ireland, Binary Consultants, a specialist in enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, exhibited at the VICTAM trade show in Cologne last month in a bid to attract more business from feed mills based in the UK and Ireland.

“Binary basically resells Microsoft Dynamics AX. We have been doing it for about 10 years now. We work across the food sector, travel, utilities and animal feed. While we are a UK based company, our customers are located in Thailand, the US, Germany, Ireland, as well as the UK,” ​said Chris Black, a consultant with Binary.

Andrew Birch, one of the founders of Binary, used to work for UK based feed manufacturing company, l’Anson Brothers, so that feed mill became the consultancy’s first customer in the feed sector around nine years ago. Binary designed, developed, deployed and supported l’Anson’s AX platform and associated process control systems.

It subsequently saw its ERP software for animal feed manufacturing, based on Microsoft Dynamics AX, installed in a few other feed mills in mainland UK. The software is designed to help feed business to manage a range of processes critical to milling such as raw material purchasing or feed additive product and medicated feed prescription management.

The consultancy has just finished a software implementation project at a feed mill run by manufacturers, John Thompsons and Sons, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, said Black.

“We started the project with Thompsons a year ago; it is a huge mill, it produces nearly a million tons of feed per year. We went live on May 6, on time and within budget.

“We have a couple of other customers in the Republic of Ireland that we are going to work with this year, and other projects in the pipeline for 2020 in that market,” ​he told FeedNavigator.

New markets

The last 12 months has seen Binary invest heavily in the feed side of its software consultancy, he said.

“So, on that basis, we decided to exhibit at VICTAM; there are a lot of feed mills from the UK and Ireland that come here.”

However, beyond those countries, with a few translation tweaks, Binary could potentially install the ERP software in feed mills in any market, added Black.

Part of what Binary specializes in is data migration from existing systems into AX and into data store systems like DSL, he said.

“We do a lot of consultancy but we are also a development company,”​ he said, citing an example of a recent drag and drop transport planning tool the agency designed.

Indeed, Binary says it wants to help companies get the most out of the technology they employ.

Slow to adopt

Real time connectivity has changed things considerably in the business, he stressed. “Having tablets and smart phones allows the drivers to do so much more on the haulage side, for example.”

Black, though, sees the feed sector as being somewhat behind other industries in adoption of innovative systems: “When I came into feed first, two years ago, a lot of the back-office systems were quite antiquated, and not taking advantage of the latest technologies. Bar a few feed mills, the knowledge wasn’t there.”

While Binary Consultants plans to expand, it wants to do so at a steady pace. “It is about being able to deliver but also about continuing to enjoy doing what we do.”

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