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HomeCloud ComputingKramp digitizes the agricultural equipment supply chain to keep farmers farming

Kramp digitizes the agricultural equipment supply chain to keep farmers farming

Farmers face many challenges outside of their control when it comes to growing, harvesting, and delivering crops. One area — keeping equipment well-maintained and running — is fundamental to every farm’s operations. In theory, it should also be something they have some level of control over.

With more than 70 years serving farmers across Europe, Kramp understands these issues firsthand and has built its success on providing farmers with faster access to spare parts via qualified dealers.

The Netherlands-headquartered company serves customers in 23 countries through digital services that include an advanced ecommerce platform that easily connects dealers with the products and services they need. Kramp has been a leader in agricultural digital transformation and was the first European wholesaler to introduce a digital product catalog. It then became the first wholesaler of its kind to launch a webshop.

“The relationship between dealers and farmers is vital because when a tractor or any other equipment is not working, a dealer must be there,” says Chiel Schutter, Director, Kramp Hub, Kramp. “Farmers need to trust their equipment dealers, and that means dealers need to have access to parts as soon as possible.”

In this blog, we explore how Google Cloud solutions and support from partner Devoteam G Cloud have helped Kramp become even better at supporting farmers.

Managing a universe of parts

Kramp has roughly 50,000 customers across Europe and delivers more than 1,000,000 unique products from 5,000 suppliers through 11 warehouses. Today, 95% of orders are received online as the company makes a bigger push into digitization. Its core B2B operation generates $1.2 billion in annual revenue and its ‘Maykers’ business-to-farmer (B2F) platform is growing.

With so many moving parts and a lot of market demand, Kramp requires a fast, highly efficient digital infrastructure. The company uses a mix of out-of-the-box applications for routine processes and custom tools when they see the chance to further differentiate their services.

“We are a family business offering next-day delivery to dealers so their customers can work without interruption,” says Mirko Schuurman, Director of Architecture and Security at Kramp. “We wanted to develop a modern e-commerce platform that provides many automated, self-service options. Google Cloud was the best environment to help us meet our goals.”

Kramp kicked off a major project in 2018 to rebuild its platform using Google Cloud. Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) acted as the foundation for a new microservices architecture that would automatically scale to support spikes and drops in demand, as well as new application launches.

“We use all of the native capabilities in GKE. It’s been extremely reliable since the start,” says Mirko. “In addition to improving our ecommerce platform’s performance, GKE has strengthened engagement across our team of about 100 developers and engineers. They really like working with Google Cloud — and using all of the GKE capabilities has helped us attract talent.”

Google Cloud partner Elastic covered the search needs across the platform with its Elasticsearch technology.

“Elastic is the core of our search stack,” says Eric Rongen, Head of Findability, Kramp Hub. “We use Elastic in combination with multiple microservices to provide the best search experience possible for our customers. With Elastic Cloud, we don’t have to manage infrastructure, lowering the cognitive load for teams and allowing them to focus on business challenges.”

Elastic search enables fast, flexible ingestion and indexing of data from multiple systems, helping Kramp to keep its webshop up-to-date with near-real time change processing. UX components on the Kramp webshop like filters, autosuggest, and category pages are powered by Elastic search.

Further, Kramp uses Elastic in combination with tailor-made microservices and machine learning models to tune its search engine for optimal relevance, effectively boosting the value of ingested data to improve customer experiences.

Kramp also migrated its data infrastructure to BigQuery as part of its infrastructure modernization project. Given the speed and volume of data on its website and mobile ecommerce platforms, BigQuery proved to be the clear choice.

“Looking at the market for data management and analytics tools, Google Cloud has the most to offer,” says Chiel. “Instead of being limited to once-a-day batch updates that move too slowly for our business, BigQuery gives us a continued stream of data such as log files from source systems and customer insights, so we’re always making decisions based on the latest information. BigQuery closely aligns with our goals for managing data and attracting top digital talent.”

Cultivating performance, efficiency, and innovation

After five years of working with Google Cloud, Kramp chose Devoteam G Cloud as their strategic Google Cloud partner moving forward. Currently, Devoteam G Cloud helps Kramp get the most out of Google Cloud solutions through knowledge transfer, trainings, and collaboration.

Devoteam G Cloud has been a key partner to Kramp in its efforts to improve its IT infrastructure and reduce costs. Next to optimizing performance and costs of Kramp’s infrastructure, Devoteam G Cloud is also assisting in the search for tooling that will elevant Kramp’s data governance, data quality, and data monitoring capabilities. The partnership will also help define overarching strategies for data governance across the three main Kramp domains.

“Devoteam G Cloud is a trusted partner that helps us get closer toward our goals,” says Chiel. “The combination of better financial management and infrastructure support ensures we make the best decisions and keep our costs as low as possible. This helps us enhance everyday customer experiences and offer more competitive pricing.”

With support from Devoteam G Cloud and powerful tools such as BigQuery and GKE, Kramp is better positioned to scale its business and bring new services to market faster.

“We can accelerate time to market on new capabilities such as a mobile application and to support our Maykers B2F business,” says Mirko. “We’ve optimized our CI/CD pipelines while dramatically improving data integrity for enhanced product findability. The streamlined development environment enables us to roll out new services faster than ever. Our successful Mobile application took less than six months, from the initial idea to delivery.”

Looking ahead, Kramp is experimenting with Vertex AI to improve the demand forecast accuracy, resulting in a significant improvement in stock levels.

“We are also experimenting with Vertex AI to improve our product findability,” says Rongen. “We’re currently building a model on top of Google’s PaLM2 LLM, using Vertex AI, to better understand our customers’ search queries. By doing so, we increase the likelihood of presenting our customers with the most relevant products through search results.”

Kramp also recently started using Security Command Center to strengthen digital protections and centralize asset monitoring while ensuring DevOps has reliable access to the libraries they need.

“Our goal is to reach $1.5 billion in annual revenue by 2025, and I think that growth is far more achievable given our work with Devoteam G Cloud and Google Cloud,” says Chiel. “We are in a great position to continue supporting dealers with more modern services, so that farmers keep on farming!”

Check out the Google Cloud Partner Directoryto learn more about how partners like Devoteam G Cloud can help you optimize your business on Google Cloud.

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