A Business Case for Data Management
In the bulk seed and treatment industry, we are seeing a growing concern and interest in having more access, control and availability over the input and output data that comes with seed delivery and treatment systems.
Having access to information such as historical data, accuracy reports and customer information gives an owner a great way to introduce accountability and stewardship into their process, while also being able to reconcile and validate what they are delivering to their customers at any given time.
As we look specifically at the points of value that come with a comprehensive data management system, we can break this down into three areas.
Corporate (anyone who is dealing with multiple locations) — From this level, sets of information (seed varieties, treatment liquids, treatment recipes) can be set up and pushed down to the seed treatment machine.
Individual Rep/Ag Retail Location — From this level, the user is dealing with just one seed treatment system (machine), but it does give a site or plant manager the ability to manage the inputs (seed, treatment, etc.) that are going into their system, and therefore, have more control of the output.
Seed System/Treatment Process/Data — At this level, the machine is tracking and recording data that is related to anything being processed. From this level, transactions, recipe changes, historical data, treatment accuracy, etc. is being tracked.
Understanding these three areas is one of the most important aspects of data management, and adds value by giving you access to important information that your seed treatment system is providing.
As the trend moves toward more sophisticated data systems, innovations in data access and reporting will no doubt progress. I see a huge amount of interest in having a web-based data solution that provides access not just to the specific machine or user level, but also to parent companies who want to be able to push seed varieties, treatment items and recipes down to their machines.
Remember: Even if you feel that the ability to manage and/or access data is not an important part of your process currently, this is something that will become necessary in the future. When upgrading or purchasing an automation or control system for a bulk seed and treatment system, it is important that you consider whether or not the automation system has the capabilities to tie into a data management system in the future.