The agriculture sector – like many other commercial sectors – is subject to market fluctuations, and as such requires a supply chain that is quick to adapt to shifting requirements. Many businesses have already invested in dynamic supply chain systems to ensure consistent services and quality for their customers, as well as ensuring fast and accurate data management.
The use of EDI (electronic data interchange) to enable supply chain automation, offers businesses the opportunity to manage information in a way that is streamlined and efficient, maximizing profitability and use of resources.
“We’re very clear that there’s benefit for every business, no matter the size,” says Paul Frost, IT Director at Frontier Agriculture. “Many big players in the agriculture industry have switched over to make use of all the benefits and abilities that EDI offers.”
Paul explains that using EDI can give a precision that legacy systems can’t match. “Specifically, it can be used to send intentions of movement to large manufacturing plants, to receive back weights and analyses, to send and receive invoices, remittance advices, and allow accurate analyses. When all movements are electronic, data is faster and more accurate, and we’re able to send reports far quicker. It’s a win-win.”
As an example of the advantages, Paul gives the following simple scenario: delivering grain. Traditionally the driver travels to a location, acquires a weighbridge ticket, drops it back at the haulage office, and eventually this comes through for analysis – a process which can take as long as ten days, and is subject to risks from losing paperwork to miskeying entries. EDI, on the other hand, takes minutes. Everything is transmitted electronically, jumping several steps in the process whilst ensuring greater accuracy.
This swiftness and efficiency passes on the benefits to the end user, Paul says. “Off the back of immediate reports, we can offer real-time feedback. For example, we can text farmers with the quality of their delivery, which can help them make plans for the next load. Commercially it allows us to adapt to supply trends quickly, for example, to make special offers to encourage a specific outcome“.
“The initial investment is relatively small – but can be off-putting for some – although once you’ve made the change you won’t be able to see how you did without. Supply chain automation doesn’t just make processes more convenient; it gives whole supply chains control over their business to a degree that is impossible without.”
What else can supply chain offer?
- Improved document accuracy – Incoming orders, invoices, and other transactions no longer have to be manually entered into the system, eliminating the possibility of keypunch errors.
- Speed – Data transfer takes minutes, not days, creating better customer relationships with immediate feedback.
- Development – Data provides insights for new services and product development.
- Real-time updates – All the necessary information sent immediately, preventing unforeseen delays and allowing quicker adjustments if needed.
- Cuts costs – Once implemented, EDI takes away the associated costs of printing, copying, filing, storage and postage, as well as labour time on administration and data entry.
- Better business management – With systems streamlined, a business can concentrate on high value tasks that will do more to improve the bottom line.
About Proagrica’s Solutions
Proagrica EDI solutions allow you to closely co-operate with key trading partners and customers. EDI provides a reliable and robust platform for fast and efficient communication between trading partner systems. With hundreds of supply-chain participants already connected locally and globally, Proagrica can link you to your customers and supply chain partners. The flow of data from order processing to fulfilment is automated – eliminating errors, speeding up delivery and reducing costs along the supply chain.