This is the first article in a series of blog posts, all surrounding the challenges of the Seed industry and ways to overcome them. Stay tuned to our blog for more!

“The more you eliminate the inefficient use of information, the better it is for productivity”
Mitch Kapor

Seed Growers and Distributors have an extraordinarily complex business to administer. With the management of Seed Lots pivotal to the business, any manual activity within a process is going to slow things down.

Most companies have all their vital business information stored in multiple spreadsheets and disparate systems. Having too many systems to look after means that key information is isolated, needs to be retrieved and then amalgamated with other spreadsheets and systems in order to generate reports.

One of the main challenges for Seed businesses is the amount of time spent locating stock and specific lots especially when records are kept in various systems and spreadsheets. This can have a major impact on productivity, employee time and can cause stress trying to get the right information. Month end processes can ultimately become a bit of a headache with time consuming manual activities and the amount of checking that needs to be done.

Difficulties obtaining accurate stock levels causes uncertainty about what is actually in stock and the ability to fulfil demands. Raising purchase orders manually and independently to the main business system can cause problems in knowing what has been ordered and whether it will arrive in time to fulfil demands.

Business processes built on personal knowledge, verbal communications and personal spreadsheets, means that getting things done efficiently is going to be very difficult and dependent on the right people being around at the right time. This can cause even more issues during holiday seasons and for new starters.

If information for production and the warehouse is separate from data for finance and inventory, this is likely to mean a lot of data entry and re-keying of information. The result of this, not only is highly time consuming but poses a greater risk of error and the inability to produce a meaningful report about the business at any given time.

Running the risk of incorrect lot numbers is likely to cause inaccurate pricing. Having to manage VAT rates, multiple currencies and freight charges against these prices is likely to impact profitability directly, as well as productivity.

Last, but by no means least, if Sales and Marketing are separate to the main business process, their view of stock, orders and customer details is going to be very limited, thus inhibiting customer relationship management.

Manual processes and disparate systems can cause any business to struggle to meet its business goals, inhibiting its ability to grow and seemingly impossible to effectively record additional data.

This all may seem quite gloomy, however we have some more information about how Seed Growers and Distributors can get some time back, get more done, increase productivity and profitability.

Watch out for our next blog which tackles some of these issues and provides some ideas on how to solve them.

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