A recent survey of US ag retail businesses from Proagrica showed that future-proofing is one of the dominant pain points for ag retailers of all sizes. Many also were concerned with the need to offer better customer services to remain competitive in the face of marketplace fluctuations.
"Ag retailers and manufacturers in particular are well positioned to take full advantage of connected network capabilities," said Graeme McCracken, Managing Director at Proagrica. "The opportunities for business growth in the agriculture supply chain are endless but how do you get there? The answer isn't to endlessly add new software or equipment. This just results in a patchwork of cluttered processes that do little to solve the underlying problem and might even hinder company growth. The answer is connectivity - a solution that effortlessly links established company systems and data to your wider business network, without the need to worry about compatibility or human error."
In its mission to guide the industry towards 100% connectivity, Proagrica aims to cut through the confused discussion and half-measures, proposing a transformative approach to data connectivity that rethinks conventional business practice and system architecture.
"Despite a great deal of progress, businesses in the agriculture supply chain have not adopted new technologies at the same rate as other industries and risk missing out if they don't seize the new capabilities provided by advances in connected systems and tech," said Mr McCracken. "Proagrica has played a major role in spearheading connectivity between agricultural businesses, and our driving towards 100% connectivity is about data solutions that boost value and efficiency across the supply chain."
What does 100% connectivity mean for businesses?
Towards 100% connectivity is focused on bringing advanced data capabilities to businesses in the agriculture supply chain, with the aim of getting business' own ERP systems connected and transacting electronically with suppliers and customers either through EDI, OCR or a Portal. Reports into the benefits of integration, including those from respected research companies Forrester, Gartner, and the Aberdeen Group, have shown that electronically connected solutions not only aid in delivering increased profitability, but eliminate many common pitfalls in business that result in lower customer retention, satisfaction, and business growth:
Automated ordering: Electronic transactions remove every stage of an order that could be potentially slowed down or distorted by human input. A major manufacturer/supplier calculated the benefit per EDI order to be $37 (Forrester Research)
Quick response: Customers can receive a much faster response, with real-time updates directly from the supplier. Leading businesses reported 92% (Aberdeen Group) reduction in time spent processing an invoice
Improved efficiency: Eliminate the errors - and resulting costs - incurred from manual data entry. No more wasted time or correcting the fallout from simple mistakes, with results showing costs falling by 70% to 90% for each order process (Gartner).
Increased customer loyalty: All of the above combine to drastically increase a business' value offering, greatly boosting return business and retention.
Although digital solutions and business software for agribusiness have previously been available, Proagrica are the first to offer an entire suite of advanced tech options for the agriculture sector. Combining the world leading tech expertise of RELX and a deep understanding and experience of the agriculture industry, Proagrica are uniquely positioned to transform the agribusiness sector towards 100% connectivity.
Proagrica global supply chain network
Proagrica's agriculture network is already utilized by many businesses across the world, keen to take advantage of the benefits it provides in integration and data analytics. In Europe alone, 10m messages and $750m in trade are transmitted every year via the portals and EDIs used by agriculture supply chain businesses within the network. For new users, this means connecting your business instantly with a vast network, already populated by major players in the industry.
"Essentially, the solutions are out there," said Mr McCracken. "Many of the annoyances and costs we take for granted in business simply don't have to exist. This isn't about innovative tech coming in the future, that might create a change. The tech is here. It's simple, it's powerful and it's scalable with whatever direction your business may take.
A wave of businesses are already reaping the benefits. Moving towards 100% connectivity means that every business in the supply chain has the chance to thrive and grow, despite the changing industry. It's about taking that first step and finding what works for your business and your customers."
Proagrica, part of RELX Group, is a global provider of independent connectivity and data-driven support solutions for the agriculture industry. We deliver actionable intelligence to drive business growth across the value chain. Our superior products and services connect and empower industry participants to address their key needs around trading, productivity and compliance.
Our solutions are built around the key competences of data connectivity and data analytics delivering seamless supply chain management, supply chain standards compliance, and customer insight and engagement, essential for businesses looking to improve their value offering and expand in the modern marketplace.
Proagrica also encompasses performance-boosting farm management software brand Farmplan, and industry-leading media platforms, Farmers Weekly and Boerderij.
RELX Group is a global provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries. The Group serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in about 40 countries. It employs about 30,000 people of whom almost half are in North America. The shares of RELX PLC, the parent company, are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX.
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