Companies across industries are creating more value for their businesses by applying next-gen technologies to the way they function, and the ag input industry is no exception to this. Major ag input players – from manufacturers to end-users have found out that they can optimize the complex supply chain by utilizing these technologies. Leveraging data analytics, they can simulate and optimize, resulting in significant cost savings and enhancing efficacy.
Some of the most recent advancements in the technology sector, such as cloud computing, on-demand software, data analytics, and AI, have been helping ag input companies in optimal supply chain management. While there is no single playbook or mantra to ensure success in a dynamic market, here are five ways you can optimize your ag input supply chain to maximize the overall profit.
- Dynamic inventory management: Effective inventory management is always essential to ensure the proper stock levels and a smooth running supply chain. It helps capture critical variables such as lead times, batch size, manufacturing frequencies, and so on across the supply chain. Advanced AI-powered inventory and demand visibility platforms, real-time downstream demand, and exception-based forecasts suggest adjusting inventories to optimal levels. This results in reduced inventories, reduced stock-outs, improved revenues, and improved services for all the partners involved in the supply chain.
- Standardization and transparency: Standardization has become an effective way of optimizing the ag input industry’s supply chain. Complete chain standardization ensures seamless integration between different resources involved in the supply chain, ensuring reduced costs, transparency, and the highest level of services. However, standardization can mean different things to different groups. For example, for some, standardization can mean using the same form of technology, while for others, it can mean using the same method of labeling goods. Essentially, we are looking at standardizing the processes to maximize consistency, transparency, and quality, streamlining operations that optimize supply chain management efficiency.
- Supply chain metrics established and made available to all stakeholders: Metrics play an essential role in managing the supply chain of an organization, establishing a direct link between retailers, manufacturers, distributors, and various other stakeholders involved. Data-driven technology helps in interconnecting the supply chain and normalizing data from all the stakeholders. Creating shared metrics across boundaries helps break business silos, which is essential for optimizing the ag input supply chain.
- Customer demand planning: To maximize profitability, supply chains should be as efficient as possible, and accurate customer demand planning is crucial in ensuring the efficiency of supply chains. Demand planning involves forecasting or predicting the demand for products, ensuring they can be delivered and satisfy customers. The end goal is to achieve the right balance between inventory levels and customer needs. Some of the best practices for demand planning include implementing the right software to handle forecasting, reporting, and so on, gathering and preparing data to gain real-time visibility, descriptive analytics, etc. having the correct data also helps in anticipating patterns to proactively resolve problems before they erupt, minimizing costs and meeting demands of stocking.
- Effective communication between suppliers and retailers: Improving collaboration between suppliers or manufacturers and retailers helps in-demand data-driven forecasting and inventory management. This allows organizations to manage inventory, improve product availability, and enhance fulfillment rates, ensuring lean supply chain margin and profitability. Today there are various software available to collaborate, helping in the proliferation of data to be mined.
As seen from each of the methods listed, technology plays a crucial role in gathering and preparing data for making the right decisions. Technological advancements enable businesses to build supply chain solutions to speed up operations and remove bottlenecks in the chain. And interestingly, having access to real-time information is critical in managing the supply chain.
Using data analytics and reporting tools, businesses can make quick and accurate decisions regarding optimizing the supply chain. Data-driven technology helps interconnect the supply chain, breaking down the business silos, eventually building a data-driven organization, empowering each of the stakeholders. It allows manufacturers to meet sudden demand shifts; distributors benefit through transparency across expiry and inventory. Retailers can help their workflows and keep their operations streamlined through real-time inventory monitoring. All this ensures the right products are made available to the consumers at the right time. The net result includes the lowered cost of production, reduced capital, enhanced customer satisfaction and thus increased profitability.