Lindsay Suddon on: The Supply Network

The following is an excerpt from Lindsay Suddon, Chief Strategy Officer at Proagrica, on the potential for data connectivity and insight to drive more value across the supply chain.

Many in the industry regard the supply chain as linear, moving from left to right between manufacturing and distribution of inputs, production on farm, merchandising of outputs. This makes sense. However, when one thinks about the emerging digital landscape that the major players are now beginning to seize upon, when you start to understand the power of not just the creation of data but the LIBERATION of data through harmonization and analysis, you start to realize you’re not facing a linear supply chain, but a supply chain that goes beyond the linear model.

Rather than a linear supply chain, I think you’ll see data streaming between points up and down the chain. Manufacturers will be able to respond to what’s needed downstream for example. It suddenly becomes possible to connect your business with a whole number of solutions. Data can be harmonized from a huge variety of sources that can meet your unique business needs.

Businesses are increasingly realizing they don’t need to control all their own technological processes, unnecessarily diluting their resources and eating into their margins when they could be focusing on their core business aims.

Data is not linear in nature and can transform the supply chain in unprecedented ways. The goalposts are already changing, with a push for traceability and sustainability through the whole supply chain.

Many big businesses are still relying on paper, spreadsheets, even faxes. In a few years’ time it will be the norm to conduct trading relationships entirely electronically, and that brings with it a natural efficiency. The structural problem is that trying to do this on your own means having to deal with multiple formats, data sets, various CRMs. When you are part of a vast network of trading partners, these common business headaches disappear. No more decoding different data languages. No more struggling with errors and system protocols. The industry is beginning to understand this is a waste of their energy and costs. Connectivity can give you the capability to do what you’re supposed to be doing, selling good products and services at the right price. Connectivity gives you visibility.

As time moves on, it’s clear the supply chain is dead. It’s now a supply network. Connectivity meets those future changes head on – this is a transformation for the supply chain, forging new connections and strengthening internal processes in a way that doesn’t just benefit an individual business, but benefits the whole agricultural sector.

 

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