Are You Disadvantaged Because of Disconnected Data? - SeedWorld

Are You Disadvantaged Because of Disconnected Data?

- Mike Dorris

Does your sales manager depend on a specific software or spreadsheet provided by your production manager for up-to-date seed inventories and then your accounting or billing department pull that information over to a new system for invoicing and accounts receivable? Chances are you are working with multiple “solutions” to piece together the information your business needs to function.

While everything works on the surface, you leave yourself open to errors and create inefficiencies, resulting in a loss of productivity. It might seem simple at first glance but the challenges can go much deeper because each of these pieces has a ripple effect.

For example, if your inventory records are inaccurate or out of date, and sales thinks you have something that you don’t, it could mean having to reschedule deliveries. In some cases, bad inventory data means orders can’t be filled to the customer’s specifications, which can lead to returns and ultimately reduced margins and potential losses. In addition to inconveniencing the customer, it also means duplicate efforts and frustration from your staff.

We know that the seed industry is complex and the explosion of business information makes it difficult for even the most sophisticated companies to keep up. We know mobile technologies and business analytics that were once exclusively used by employees with specialized needs and skills are now common across the entire workforce. The seed industry is no different.

In the seed industry, there’s the need to track seed growers, acres, crop species, planted acres, harvested acres, yield, lots, treatments, location, inventory, lab results, sales, shipping and billing — be it in a smaller region or all around the world.

If you had this data at your fingertips in an instant, would you make different decisions? And how much time would you save in making that decision?

As I said earlier, we’ve seen an explosion in data and the ability to access this data. Integrating all these pieces helps streamline decision-making and business processes, making you more competitive.

In the past two to three decades, software platforms have crept into every aspect of our lives, from banking to music, and from smartphones to controlling the thermostat and appliances in our homes. “Software has improved productivity and innovation in many industries, disrupted or destroyed others, and created entirely new business,” writes Sean Silverthorne, editor-in-chief at Harvard Business School. What would having all your business’ data points connected mean for you? What could you do that you haven’t been able to? What would your business look like? And how would that change interactions internally with employees and externally with customers and suppliers?