Three compelling benefits of doing more with your data connection

Less risk, greater efficiency, and a more resilient supply chain. These, and more, are possible by utilising smarter data connections.

With the Australian government’s ongoing investment in agricultural traceability and the Traceability Summit in April 2022, the writing is on the wall – every business in the agriculture and animal health supply chain will be responsible for accurate and current data. Customers already want more information in their transactions and interactions, and compliance requirements are coming.

Shipment Note (or ASN – Advance Shipping Notice) is a message that contains the essential information to support this. Expanding the electronic flow of data already in place can be an iterative and low-risk adjustment to high-impact improvements. There are multiple benefits to moving your Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) beyond the exchange of just purchase orders and invoices.

1. A faster and more reliable order-to-cash process (O2C)

A slow and inefficient O2C process can be an elephant in the room. The process is comprised of many moving parts, with too many of them being manual, and it can be difficult to see and scope improvements while business is hectic. Despite that challenge, it’s a vital area of improvement to continually address.

With so many data points expected in modern digitised transactions, the ability to enhance your EDI to include more than the bare necessities has real value. Every agricultural business can relate to common order queries: buyers didn’t know products were on backorder, buyers regularly ask when their products are coming, end customers were not informed about order status, and prices changed without notification and proper management – to name a few. Manual or poor goods receipting processes result in credits, returns, needless relationship issues and other errors, and impact payments to suppliers.

Each of these presents a challenge that disrupts supply chains, costing time and money. But they can all be addressed by adding more data and additional electronic documents to the existing connection you already use. And better yet, incrementally adding to your existing live data connection frees up time and money to enable a long-term process of improvement that can be tested and refined.

2. Better traceability reduces risk

Being able to follow products and materials from the start of the supply chain to the end purchase offers benefits by meeting emerging customer needs and gaining an advantage, and provides the foundation for greater compliance requirements which are coming.

Batch tracking and batch data will transform from today’s nice-to-have, through being a point of competitive advantage, and into a mandatory part of doing business. The businesses that adopt digitised approaches that support traceability in advance of this change will secure the best customer relationships and supply, and be in a better position when legislation changes.

Expanding your use of data with additional messages between the order and invoice stages of the business process is an effective way to address these opportunities using the data that you work with every day. Adding in Order Confirmations and Shipping Notes (or ASNs) meet these needs while also providing efficiency wins that are easy to justify investing in. In some cases, the Shipment Note message may already be exchanged or emailed, and just needs batch details added and transitioned to EDI. Integrating your logistics partners can also be an effective way to meet some of these needs.

There are many examples today where end customers require data like Batch ID and Date of Manufacture (DOM) and, because this data is not handled electronically, it is manually added or written into customer documentation. That’s a poor customer experience, is hugely time-consuming, is not scalable as the need grows, and won’t meet the growing compliance requirements. This data needs to be exchanged live and electronically within business transactions.

3. A more resilient and transparent supply chain

The strength and efficiency of our supply chains have been in the spotlight following the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With weak links and lack of visibility in the supply chains of many businesses straining processes to breaking point, the need to streamline operations to reduce risk and improve service is a high priority.

The changes listed above are iterative improvements contributing to a journey of continuous improvements that enhance the resiliency of your overall operation. Consistent and automated P2P processes benefit supply chains, suppliers, buyers and end customers simultaneously, addressing weak links in your operation in a way that also improves customer service and protects your business from the disruption caused by accelerating supply chain demands and future compliance requirements.

Are you interested in doing more with your data?

Smart data connectivity is key for traceability in your supply chain. Contact us for more information.