Case Study: Velcourt Ltd

Velcourt started working with YAGRO earlier this year to implement a company wide solution to their fuel procurement. As one of the UK’s largest professional farming organisations, Velcourt wanted a professional technology-led approach to fuel procurement, and the YAGRO platform offered them a simple, effective and uniform process giving them complete control of their spend at both the Group and individual Farm level. We catch up with Farms Director, Douglas Inglis, and some of the Velcourt Farms to get their experiences as fuel spend and usage gets well underway this summer.

“At Velcourt we want to buy our inputs at the very best prices, so that we can pass on all of these benefits to our clients. We use our significant scale to achieve this on all of the main inputs, but this is an arduous task on an input like fuel. YAGRO works well for Velcourt as it gives our Farms a simple to use platform to get market prices of a volatile commodity making sure that we are buying at the best possible prices. YAGRO helps take away the drudgery of having to ring suppliers, helping our Farms save time and money.”

Velcourt have already channeled over a million litres of fuel through their YAGRO platform, which gives each Farm Manager total choice and control over their suppliers, volumes, delivery dates, locations and of course price to ensure that they are getting the deal that suits them the best.

“Having seen how YAGRO works, the convenience the platform brings is obvious” says Adrian Whitehead, Farm Manager at J. Goodley & Sons Ltd in Norfolk. “We ran some cost comparisons against our usual way of buying, and YAGRO beat it every time. The support from the YAGRO team as well is also really helpful during busy times, and we now put all of our fuel through YAGRO, because, why wouldn’t you!”

Fuel is one of the big four inputs a farm buys, alongside chemicals, fertiliser and seed. Due to the extreme volatility of the market, poor visibility of independent pricing information and the time needed to decipher all this information, informed fuel buying is put to the bottom of the pile in terms of importance. Yet the range in pricing can be huge, thus the cost of getting it wrong should not be underestimated.

Ben Martin, Farm Manager at Moulton Manor near Newmarket, Suffolk, is fortunate to have the storage capacity to take advantage of extra market information. “I met with the team at YAGRO before the harvest season started to get an understanding of how it all works. I was impressed with the system and it certainly fits with my efforts to drive a digital revolution on the farm. We did a big tank fill before harvest, ordering 65k L in one go, and not only did the YAGRO team help me understand the market to time this request as best as possible helping us save against our budgeted price per litre, but the prices we got were over £1,000 better than our usual ring around.”

However, it is not only price variance across time that a farm needs to consider. With price spreads ranging up to 12% on a single request, farms are making significant savings each time they order. Lynne Miller from Velcourt Ltd – Martin Lodge Farm in Kent knows the benefit of seeing full market prices; “I used to ring around as I wanted to be sure I was getting the best price for the farm. We did a trial with YAGRO, and if it hadn’t suited us, we’d have simply not used it. But it did! It is so easy to use and has made my life much easier. You know who you’re dealing with and quotes come back nice and quickly, and you don’t have to wait for suppliers to call you back etc. I even pick it up when I’m out of the office sometimes. The transparency of prices is key, knowing what deal we’re getting and the savings is important to us as a farm. Just recently we were tight on fuel and needed a quick delivery. One of the suppliers could deliver the next day, but at a premium. Having the visibility of prices and delivery dates has meant that we’ve avoided paying £675 of premium on one order!”

With time pressure being so high these days, it was critical that the YAGRO system helped the Velcourt farms save as much time as possible. Lewis Hunter at Greenwell Farms, Suffolk, said “We’re flat out harvesting at the moment, so the last thing I need to be doing is ringing around for quotes. Working to the weather as well means that we sometimes realise that we’re running low on a Saturday or Sunday. I just go on the YAGRO app and place my request in about 20 seconds, and can then forget about it. I don’t need the burden of having to remember to do something the next time supplier offices are open. The quotes then come in once the market is open, and I make my decision. I know I’m getting a good deal, but have spent zero time on it. And there’s no commission, levy or membership fees. It’s a no-brainer.”

“Being able to get market prices in a manner that helps us save time and ensures we are getting the very best deals so that we can pass every penny of saving back to our clients is critical” said Doug Inglis. “The YAGRO platform has been excellent at helping us achieve this.”

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