Within agriculture today, business transactions can be undertaken in a variety of ways including telephone, mobile, email, postal and so on. As the variety and volume of transactions continues to grow, many companies are struggling to deal with these multiple channels using a complex legacy mix of CRM tools, spreadsheets and paper-based records. It is unsurprising, therefore, that businesses make costly errors arising from manual order processes involving multiple communications streams. Many businesses ask whether such transactions can be managed more effectively. The latest innovations being deployed across agriculture will transform how business is conducted in the coming years. Using solutions such as those available from F4F, part of Proagrica, companies can now complete 100% of transactions electronically. These straightforward yet highly innovative new tools are available, not just to a select few, but to every business across the agricultural supply chain.
What are the key benefits of completing 100% of transactions electronically?
Minimise duplication and errors associated with manual data entry: according to IBM¹, a lack of a seamless workflow between information management systems significantly reduces transaction efficiency and order accuracy as staff have to rekey data and duplicate information submitted via email or via spreadsheets. Such errors are costly and often require significant reworking to address. By transacting electronically, data only needs to be entered once, errors can be dramatically reduced and productivity can be improved several fold².
Give customers a finger-on-the-pulse assessment of order fulfilment: it is often a source of unease to customers when they are unable to check the status of critical orders. With legacy systems, customers have to call the customer service department to receive updates which are often based on incomplete information. During peak season, when pressure is at its greatest, such information gaps cause frustration and can result in valuable lost time if orders do not arrive when required. With the latest integration and connectivity solutions available, it’s possible to view reliable order, delivery and invoice status information. Such innovations dramatically improve efficiency within agricultural supply chains as well as greatly enhancing customers’ experience and facilitating better transport planning.
Store all communications in one repository: many organisations struggle with coordinating communications with customers especially where multiple departments are involved. This can result in customers receiving conflicting or irrelevant messages. By having a fully integrated communications and electronic transactions system, companies can better understand the full extent of client communications on a real-time basis. Product offerings can be tweaked according to clients’ specific needs. Furthermore, if a key staff member departs, previous communications are recorded thus enabling replacements to get up to speed more quickly.
Frees up staff to provide an even better service and win new business: it is a common misconception that by transacting electronically contact time with key customers is reduced. On the contrary, it will free-up sales staff to spend more quality time with key customers. This enables sales staff to gain a deeper understanding of farmers’ emerging needs and how better solutions can be provided. It also affords time to develop relationships with new customers and to scale up operations accordingly.
Maximise sales, minimise costs and dramatically improve productivity
Numerous studies³ have pointed out that the ability to exploit the growing torrent of data available across organisations represents a major source of competitive advantage. In this context, conducting 100% of transactions electronically is a strategic decision that vastly improves productivity that dramatically reduces costs and lost sales. F4F supports mission critical workflow systems and data in agricultural businesses globally. If you would like further information on how transacting electronically could empower your business, please visit www.proagrica.com/contact-us.
1. IBM (2011), “Improving the Efficiency, Accuracy and Cost Effectiveness of Core Business Activities”, accessible online via: https://www-07.ibm.com/sg/manufacturing/pdf/manufacturing/ECM.pdf
2. EDI Basics (2016), “Benefits of EDI” accessible online via: http://www.edibasics.co.uk/benefits-of-edi/
3. For example see:
a. McKinsey Global Institute (2011), “Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity”.
b. Porter, M. and Heppelmann, J.E. (2015), How Smart Connected Products Are Transforming Companies, Harvard Business Review.