UFG Auction – Engineering Digital Auctions

UFG and Unify Digital have enjoyed a synergistic relationship for many years. However, in 2010 UFG made plans to establish four branch offices in addition to their head office in Auckland. They also planned to review the operation of their digital electronic auction system to increase their primary revenue generating capacity. UFG asked Unify Digital to provide the solutions and trusted them to deliver.

“We had a tight timeframe, and Unify Digital were able to deliver every single one of our requirements,” explained CEO, Bruce O’Brien.

“They were even able to make adjustments on the fly when unexpected things came up.”

Partner Technologies:

VMWare, Veeam, NetApp, Lenovo, Brocade

Dedicated VPN Network

A robust national VPN network was constructed to enable communications between the sites. Operations Manager, Kevin Grout, explains how valuable this network deployment has been; “The network has been so stable, which is great because at the time we thought we would have to pay huge prices for a managed WAN.” The VPN network allowed UFG to maintain their server infrastructure at their Auckland head office.

Servers and Storage

“We’ve always found recommendations from Unify Digital to be forward looking and in line with our strategy for digital innovation, said Mr O’Brien. UFG have constructed a virtual server farm to host their infrastructure, and with Unify Digital’s help it has been right sized for current needs and future requirements. In fact, the server infrastructure became crucial when Unify started work on redesigning the digital auction system.

Digital Auction System

UFG’s primary revenue source is driven from a digital auction system. Early on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings thousands of flowers are sold into the NZ market via the Dutch auction system. “The key to maximising the revenue generating capacity is to maximise the throughput of the auction process,” commented Unify’s lead developer, Jared Oliver, “that means more trolleys [of flowers], more buyers, and in less time.” Unify were able to use these guiding concepts to redesign, program and deploy a brand new, custom built auction system so that UFG were able to triple their auction throughput. “In partnership with Unify we have a regular cycle of innovations that we release to our buyers to stay ahead of our competitors,” said Mr. O‘Brien. “We also have the luxury of having local support for our systems through Unify Digital, instead of relying on overseas experts.”


By committing to a digital strategy that encompassed everything from IT infrastructure to innovative new solutions, and automation of processes, UFG have become a market leader in flower distribution. “Our digital and IT innovations, led by Unify Digital has been a key factor in more than doubling our revenue,” said Mr. O’Brien, “we highly recommend the Unify Digital team; they are thorough, and responsive, and we have enjoyed our strategic partnership for more than ten years now.”

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