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Peterson Corn Genetics Uses Custom Software to Serve Customers and Scale

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Ever since he took over the company now known as Peterson Corn Genetics, Kevin Cavanaugh, its president, put a focus on customer service. “We’re fully aligned with the customer,” he said. “If they’re successful, so are we.”

As he was looking for ways to improve customer experience, he was shown the custom digital product catalog and ERP that partner company Peterson Genetics, Inc. was using. “I saw the soybean side and said: ‘We need that.’”

He didn't even need to go through the buy vs. build decision-making process—he started working with Far Reach, since we built the Peterson Genetics, Inc. custom system.

A Familiar Partner

Peterson Genetics, Inc. has been working with Far Reach since 2014, and Cavanaugh was a believer immediately. He knows the market opportunity for Peterson Corn Genetics is huge, and he knows that efficient workflows and technology will play a role in the company’s growth. 

Far Reach came highly recommended, of course, and the proof was in the systems being used daily to run Peterson Genetics, Inc. There were also tangential benefits to using the same custom development outsourcing partner:

  • The foundation of the digital product catalog already existed and just needed to be customized for corn
  • There’s a large overlap—about 60%—of customers between Peterson Genetics, Inc. and Peterson Corn Genetics, so many users were already familiar with the system
  • The team already understands the goals and processes of the platform

“The digital product catalog was a huge upgrade from our previous form-based process,” Cavanaugh said. “Many of our customers were already familiar with it from the soybean side, and they like that it’s intuitive and easy to use.”

PCG Hybrid Details

Peterson Corn Genetics and Far Reach continue to build new features that help customers and team members work better.

Digitizing Test Seed Orders

Each year, Peterson Corn Genetics customers can order test seed to try before deciding whether to offer specific hybrids in their product lineup. Previously, printed order forms were sent out, customers returned them by mail, lots were allocated manually, and invoicing was tedious. 

“With the paper forms, everything was manual,” said Cavanaugh. “We’d mail out forms but get a low response rate, and we’d have to manually enter all the data, which was labor intensive and full of human error potential. We wanted it to be efficient and easy for customers.”

This year, it was easier because almost the entire process was digitized. Customers could log in to see available test seed varieties, order in one of three sizes, and indicate shipping destinations for each bag. Digitalization gave customers a lot more flexibility, and feedback after year one was positive.

The order collection and fulfillment process was also exponentially easier for the Peterson team. When customers submit orders, everything is logged in the system—hybrid selection, sizes, quantities, shipping destinations, and more. The team can always see how much of the available seed is spoken for, hybrids that might need to be allocated if orders exceed inventory, and relevant customer data.

PCG Test Seed Ordered vs Inventory Report

Digital ordering made backend fulfillment much easier and more efficient than in previous paper-based years. “The allocation process for hybrids that were in high demand was much easier than in previous years,” Cavanaugh said. “We knew exactly how many bags we had, in what sizes, and could assign them to customers fairly.”

The test seed ordering process tracks a lot of details, and having it all stored in a single digital portal helps make sure the information is correct and accessible. Cavanaugh and his team like that everything is in one place, the information is consistent, and team members can access everything no matter where they’re working.

PCG Test Seed Fulfillment Workflow

“The platform is fantastic,” Cavanaugh reflected. “It’s great for our customers and easy for our team, which is the point of custom software. It helps make organization, professionalism, and customer service all easier for us.”

Setting Up to Scale

The test seed ordering system made things so much easier, in fact, that the Peterson Corn Genetics team was able to handle a large year-over-year increase in orders. 

“The first year using the test seed ordering system, our orders were 3X higher than the previous year,” Cavanaugh reported. “The software was an important factor in us being able to handle that increase.”

Peterson Corn Genetics is a growing company with the opportunity to grow market share even further. Having custom software to help the internal workflows run smoothly is vital in managing the order volume growth.

“Customers tell us we’re quickly passing our competitors in terms of customer support,” said Cavanaugh. “That would be a lot tougher without the software system, which is why we plan to continue to develop and invest in it as we grow.”

A Long-term Vision

Cavanaugh and his team understand the value of custom software and see opportunities to continue developing new features. “We can continue to build out the backend to make things even more efficient for our team,” he said.

There’s so much data around each seed and hybrid that additional data visualizations and reports can be added to help customers make decisions about the best options based on geography, climate, and other factors. 

Peterson Corn Genetics has focused on the customer-facing features as the priority, but plans to work on optimizing the back-office functionality as well. “There’s always an opportunity to enhance, build out, and modernize a system like this,” said Cavanaugh. 

Trusted Partnership

The custom software platform has been good for Peterson Corn Genetics and their customers. “We want to be customer-focused, and the platform has been very good for that,” said Cavanaugh. “We’ve gotten great feedback from our customers. They like looking around in the portal, and it’s fun for us to see it being used.” 

Working with Far Reach has also been a good experience for the Peterson Corn Genetics team. “Far Reach has exceeded my expectations,” Cavanaugh said. “Communication has been outstanding, and it feels like the Far Reach team is part of our team.”

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