Output Digital grows sales in the global horticulture sector with investment in R&D

Belfast-based software development company Output Digital has invested in Research & Development (R&D) to develop Growflo, a bespoke Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system for the horticultural sector.

By Claire Cartmill
Monday, 25th October 2021, 1:00 pm

Belfast-based software development company Output Digital has invested in Research & Development (R&D) to develop Growflo, a bespoke Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system for the horticultural sector.

The company’s Growflo product is tailored for wholesale horticulture nurseries, designed to create efficiencies by helping them manage sales, stock, orders, and other nursery operations.

Thanks to Output’s investment, Growflo is already growing sales in RoI, Great Britain and the US.

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Alan Brown, managing director of Output Digital with Dr Vicky Kell, director of Innovation, Research and Development, Invest NI

Alan Brown, managing director of Output Digital said: “Since 2013 we’ve been selling successfully into Great Britain.

“To build on this success, we did some market research which confirmed that we had the potential to break into new markets by enhancing our Growflo platform and support horticulture wholesalers to improve efficiencies.

“Invest Northern Ireland was our first port of call for advice and support.

“Its grant for R&D has helped us to develop our Growflo system and extend its functionality with an Android app which we have sold to growers across the UK, Ireland and the US.

“The new app allows our customers to manage plant stock in real time as they walk around the nursery, so stock is instantly available on the ERP online ordering system, making it faster and easier to sell their products.

“The app also includes task management functionality, which ultimately saves time and paperwork.

“Our success so far has built our confidence and reputation. We are now looking to extend the system’s capabilities with further functionality and exploring our export potential in Australia and Canada, as well as the rest of the world.”

Since 2017, Invest NI has offered the company £136,101 of support towards Research & Development to develop and enhance the Growflo platform, along with marketing activities, consultancy, and trade support.

It has also received support from the Northern Ireland Small Business Loan Fund, part of Invest NI’s Access to Finance portfolio.

Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI’s director of Innovation, Research and Development, continued: “When companies invest in Research & Development, they are better positioned to stay ahead of competitors and thrive in the global marketplace.

“Having spotted a gap in the market for a purchasing and supply chain management platform for the horticultural wholesale market, Output Digital’s Growflo product is providing it with a unique selling point.

“Our Research & Development support has assisted Output Digital to develop its Growflo product and adapt it to market demand, particularly with its new app function.

“Coupled with our advice on trade in international markets, it has also taken advantage of business opportunities globally.

“We’re pleased to continue to work with Output Digital as it innovates and moves into more new markets around the world.”

In recognition of Output Digital’s commitment to innovation, it has been awarded a Gold Level Innovator Certificate from Innovate Norther Ireland.

Invest Northern Ireland is committed to driving innovation in Northern Ireland and is a proud partner of Innovate NI, a Department for the Economy programme, helping local businesses innovate successfully. For further information, visit www.innovateni.com

Invest NI’s R&D support is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014–2020.

This support is part funded by the Department for the Economy Economic Recovery Action Plan.

Invest NI’s full range of support and services are delivered through local offices in Belfast, Coleraine, Ballymena, Craigavon, Londonderry, Newry, Enniskillen and Omagh, and an international office network.

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