Do your sales and logistics managers depend on a specific report or spreadsheets provided by your production manager for up-to-date seed inventories, and then your accounting or administration department pulls that information over to another system or spreadsheet for invoicing and accounts receivable?
Chances are you are working with multiple ‘solutions’ to piece together the information your business needs to function. While everything works on the surface, you leave yourself open to errors and create inefficiencies, resulting in a loss of productivity. It might seem simple at first glance, but the challenges can go much deeper because each of these pieces has a ripple effect.
For example, if your inventory records are inaccurate or out of date, and sales thinks you have something that you don’t, it could mean missing or having to reschedule deliveries. In some cases, inaccurate or untimely inventory data means orders can’t be fulfilled to the customer’s specifications, which can lead to returns and ultimately reduced margins and potential losses.
In addition to inconveniencing the customer, it also means duplicating efforts and frustration from your staff. We know that the seed industry is complex and the vast amount of business information makes it difficult for even the most sophisticated companies to keep up. We know mobile technologies and business analytics that were once exclusively used by employees with specialized needs and skills are now common across the entire workforce.
The seed industry is no different. In the seed industry, there’s the need to track seed growers and production, planted surface areas, crop species/varieties and grades, estimated and actual yields, seed lots, treatments, inventory, seed certification, royalty, field and lab analysis, sales, shipping and billing — be it in a smaller region or all around the world. If you had this data at your fingertips in an instant, would you make different decisions?
And how much time would you save in making that decision? As I said earlier, we’ve seen an explosion in the amount of data and the increased ability to access this data via the use of technology. Integrating all the available data helps streamline decision-making and business processes, making you more competitive.
In the past two to three decades, software platforms have crept into every aspect of our lives, from banking to music, and from smartphones to controlling the thermostat and appliances in our homes. What would having all your business’ data points connected mean for you? What could you do that you haven’t been able to? What would your business look like? And how would that change interactions internally with employees and externally with customers and suppliers?