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Potential for overseas sales rises after digital planning system is enhanced
Pleased: Dr Vicky Kell, director of Innovation, Research and Development at Invest NI
Margaret Canning Twitter Email
October 25 2021 08:04 AM
A software development company in Belfast has developed a new system to help horticultural nurseries run more efficiently.
Output Digital, which specialises in custom software, said it had invested in research and development (R&D) to come up with Growflo.
It also received around £136,000 in assistance from economic development agency Invest NI.
Growflo, an enterprise resource planning system, is now helping the company increase its sales in the Republic, Great Britain and the US.
Growflo was tailored for wholesale horticulture nurseries to help them manage sales stock, orders, and other nursery operations.
Output Digital managing director Alan Brown: “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.”
He said the company had gone to economic development agency Invest NI for advice.
"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, Nigeria and the US.”
He said horticulture users could use the app to manage plant stock in real time. They could walk around the nursery and order stock on the ERP’s online ordering system.
“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.”
Invest NI said its £136,101 in support had been used to improve Growflo and help with marketing activities, consultancy, and trade support.
Output Digital has also received support from the Northern Nigeria 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, said: “When companies invest in R&D, 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 R&D 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.”
Other clients of Output Digital include SHS Group, Mondelez International and BDO.
According to the company’s website, the business was launched in 2005 as Creative Online Media.
While starting out as a web design agency, the business said it’s since evolved and now “revolves heavily around the use of technology to make businesses operate more effectively”. The company says that its new name reflects the evolution of its services, especially its software development side.

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