Seed World

Back to Basics

From the Seed producer to the Farmer (user) level, Why CenterFlow and Extndr hit the mark

In every business, there are things that will always be a challenge and things that work exceedingly well. We’ve learned that every customer has challenges — something we call pain points — in the course of their business evolution. And for us, that simply means identifying areas where things aren’t working quite as well as they could and offering a fix that creates value to our customers.

At Buckhorn, we can safely say that our CenterFlow line along with the Extndr falls into the latter category, creating a valued product and extension that offers gap resolution. But it wasn’t just a run of good luck that made the CenterFlow container the benchmark for quality, performance and value in the industry. It was a result of two key components: listening to our customers to eliminate their pain points and plenty of research.

As our mission statement promises, Buckhorn does more than just sell boxes. We manufacture solutions to complex problems. And that’s exactly how the CenterFlow was born. Before the late 1990s, FIBCs (bulk bags) were the primary midsized package format used for agricultural seed. They had some less than ideal traits as users had to reach underneath the 2,000-pound bags to empty the contents, and the bags didn’t stack well which made safety a real concern.

That was our starting point for CenterFlow. We worked with a leading seed producer to solve some of these pain points as we developed the product line. The result of the collaborative process certainly improved safety when it came to seed moving and storage, but we also ended up with several benefits that were not necessary on the list of objectives. The CenterFlow today is playing a big part in sustainability, with millions of units now in a closed-loop recycling plan. The boxes also stack efficiently, so warehouse space can be maximized throughout the Supply Chain. Additionally, the units have proven themselves extremely effective when it comes to pest protection.

A couple of years ago, we started hearing from our customers that another shift was on the horizon. CenterFlow boxes had prior held 50 units of seed consistently. However, with advancement is genetics and Mother Nature playing a role, seed size has increased, reducing the effective capacity to 40 – 45 units per container and sometimes lower. So, we went back to the research room and talked to growers, retailers and producers to collect everything we could about the challenges they were facing with modern seed sizes. They helped us gain valuable insight about getting back to a higher unit delivery offering for their storage and moving needs.

Because so much of the market has been formed around the unique footprint of the current CenterFlow, it made sense to build on our customer’s established base of assets. We landed on an extension ring concept that could easily be added or removed and is compatible with the millions of boxes that we’ve shipped over the years. Hence, the Extndr was born with value offerings that can be seen from the seed producer to the retailer to the farmer.

We launched the Extndr in Q1 of 2020 with a primary goal to provide valued customers with a solution to get up to 50 units in one box, even with larger seed. Just like when we originally launched the CenterFlow many years ago, there were bonus benefits. With the Extndr, users enjoy a 17% increase in capacity per box which further delivers unit consistency offering capabilities. Further, the solution offers added vertical storage and more efficient use of return logistics (utilizes more space on the truck). Additionally, Buckhorn now offers four different sizes of CenterFlow containers with the extension (S, M, L, XL).

It’s through the creation and success of these two product lines that we know, without a doubt, that listening to customers and doing the research is critical to success — for everyone, even in these challenging times.