North-east software developers bring farmer’s tracking app to market

Marc Skivington developed the app

An Aberdeen-based software development firm has recently completed a project with a local farmer, which has seen them build an app to streamline health and safety operations across large farming operations in a bid to reduce fatalities in the agricultural industry.

Insiso, who provide advanced software solutions to clients across the energy, retail, manufacturing, medical and financial sectors, were contracted by North-east farm manager, Marc Skivington, to build the app in his mission to try to reduce the number of fatalities in the industry which in 2018/19 was reported as being 39. 

Designed to enable farmers to log machinery defects and all necessary actions and repairs digitally, it will enhance efficiency, consistency and most importantly, safety, across farming operations.

Mr Skivington came up with the idea while working as arable manager for John Forbes at Slainspark Farm, near Kinneff. He was responsible for giving a number of tractor staff their tasks for each day, spread over several units, and as such needed to be aware of any tractor or machinery defects before they could safely go about their work.

Mr Skivington explains: “We used to do that on a paper basis, with me noting all the defects reported and then signing off on all the actions that were taken. It was a hugely time-consuming task, involving travelling between the different farm units, with the obvious risk that something could get missed.”

“In 2018/19 there were 39 recorded fatalities, making agriculture the deadliest industry in the UK.  We are 20 times more likely to be killed at work than the national average.  These cold, hard facts were the driving force behind the development of the app.”

Determined to find a safer and more efficient method of managing the task, Mr Skivington secured a £5,000 development grant from Scottish Enterprise, to work with Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. “They provided me with proof of concept for a cloud-based system, equipped to enable our tractor drivers to input details of defects, or other requirements such as tyre wear, for me to access and act on. I could also sign-off on all completed actions online, irrespective of where I was at the time,” said Mr Skivington.

A £10,000 small business grant from Aberdeenshire Council helped to take his project to the next level. He contracted a local software development firm, Insiso, to build the actual app and provide ongoing technical support.

Insiso MD Arrash Nekonam

Insiso’s Managing Director, Arrash Nekonam, explains their role in the project: “Working with Marc to bring his concept to life was a genuinely collaborative process. Listening to his story gave us a good handle on understanding his experiences, and his business – we knew we could develop the best software solution to address these issues and streamline the process for farmers…

Collaborating with Insiso enabled Mr Skivington to bring his product to market, and to pre-launch the app commercially with a small group of local farmers last week. Insiso will continue to provide online technical support to users of the app.

“It’s an exciting development – the app is an extremely important tool for keeping on top of vital health and safety issues, especially on large farming businesses, but this is very much phase 1. The technology has so much more potential to be rolled out across all areas of health and safety in farming,” said Mr Skivington.

Insiso is a leading-edge software development firm which works closely with clients across a range of sectors to translate their business requirements into complete, customised software solutions.

The firm recently appointed another two software developers as part of a scaling plan which has seen the team tripled in size following contract wins worth £600K this year alone. Insiso provide a full spectrum of development services for businesses, including core business applications and back-office IT solutions. For more information visit: www.insiso.co.uk

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