Visibility: A Key Building Block of a Seed Business Management Solution
By Mike Dorris
It’s critical to see every aspect of the seed business to make sure everything is running efficiently and one segment isn't a drain on the others. That's a challenge. Each part of the seed business really focuses on specific operations, and while they are interrelated, they're completely different.
Sales needs to see an updated, accurate inventory report, so they won't risk selling something you don't have.
If contract growers produce your seed, it's important to keep track of production estimates throughout the growing season and adjust them as necessary. In the Processing/Conditioning Plant, work orders must be scheduled to produce the correct seed varieties with the correct treatments in the correct packages, as dictated by the sales orders. That means you need to know the required inputs are available and approximately how long each job will take, keeping in mind that the machinery may have to be cleaned and possibly recalibrated to prevent contamination from previous jobs. When the finished seed products hit the warehouse, their locations need to be documented accurately. That way, when sales orders come in,the seed can be found quickly. Sales needs to see an updated, accurate inventory report, so they won't risk selling something you don't have. No one wants to try to talk an angry customer into accepting a replacement at a discounted price. Sales also need to know which customers are buying which products, and how this year's purchases compare with last year's. Thats information also gives an idea of how reps and/or dealers are performing.
So at a glance, visibility is crucial in these areas of your seed business:
- - Accurate production estimates, adjusted throughout the growing season
- - Field reports to confirm production estimates + documentation showing dates of all field procedures and inputs
- - Precise supplies of all needed inputs to complete the work orders
- - Correct scheduling of work orders for efficient use of machinery and workforce
- - Certification and lab test results for each seed lot
Warehouse and Storage
- - Accurate records of where each finished seed lot is stored
- - Accurate records of untreated bulk seed so work orders can scheduled for processing
- - Customer purchases for this year and last year
- - Sales order records to indicate performance levels of Sales reps and/or dealers