IBM announced that Sinofert Holdings Limited, China's largest fertilizer producer and distributor, has transformed its business with new mobile apps to help hundreds of millions of farmers across the country increase crop yields such as rice, wheat or soybeans.

China's agriculture and food supply chain is critical for the country's stability and contribution to global food markets. Therefore, it's important that farmers avoid disruptions – including access to fertilizer – that could negatively impact production of vital crops.

To continue to grow its business and remain competitive, Sinofert needed a more efficient system to service its massive sales and distribution network. Key to that growth was investing in mobile technologies to help its sales force improve decision making from the field, better anticipate demand, and offer customers more relevant products and services. Sinofert's network includes 17 branch offices, nearly 1,700 sales outlets, more than 600 transit warehouses and 2,100 distribution centers.

Sinofert and IBM Business Partner Enwaysoft Software Technology (Enwaysoft) selected the IBM MobileFirst Platform to transform its sales and distribution processes. Enwaysoft quickly developed a set of industry-specific sales and customer relationship management apps to empower the Sinofert workforce – improving their reach into untapped markets in remote and rural areas, and ensuring more accurate and timely order placement and delivery.

"Investing in industry-specific mobile solutions has enabled our organization to gain a more timely, holistic view of our entire sales and operations process, and provide insight to make better decisions about business development and growth plans," said He Pingshi, project manager, Sinofert Holdings Limited. "The apps have been critical to improving the productivity and responsiveness of our sales team and increasing satisfaction among our farming customers."

More than 2,000 of Sinofert's sales team are using the new mobile apps to easily check product pricing, client profiles, open new accounts, update client records, plan sales visits and place orders – anytime, anywhere. Orders can now be placed instantly, streamlining the entire sales process and cutting delivery times to an average of 10 days, a process that could previously take more than a month.

"As an affordable and accessible means of communication, farming communities in China are realizing the potential of mobile to create economic opportunities while bridging the rural digital divide," said Li Han, mobile business director, Enwaysoft. "Our collaboration with Sinofert creates a positive user experience for the sales team that focuses on the specific needs of the farming industry and ensures their customers' operations run smoothly and without interruption, allowing farmers to focus on their crops, not worrying about supplies."

The sales team can also access Sinofert's database to quickly and accurately respond to questions from the field, especially from farmers who live in remote areas and aren't able to always meet with the sales team in person. They can streamline and expedite placing orders, even from remote areas with unreliable Internet coverage, and eliminate manual order entry. The apps synchronize with Sinofert's back-end systems to expedite processing and delivery coordination from days to minutes.