Ecosystem connectivity is key to resiliency in agriculture commodity markets

08 June 2021 | BLOGS

Business in agriculture commodity markets depend on connected networks that bring together buyers, financing brokers, stockyard and warehouse facilities, transportation and logistics providers, and, of course, suppliers, in an extended ecosystem. Identifying quality partners and establishing a productive, collaborative relationship with stakeholders throughout the value chain has presented unique challenges even in the best times.

The pandemic, unfortunately, shed an even more harsh light on the risks associated with fragile, fragmented ecosystems that limit visibility and collaboration. Furthermore, agriculture commodity markets need forward-looking solutions to the mounting pressured around sustainability and trade regulations. Both of which will require innovative thinking around how to tighten partnerships and streamline the flow of data.

Executives see increased participation across business and partner networks as key to sustainable growth and have plans to grow that footprint in the next two years by over 300% from just two years ago.

Challenges unique to agriculture commodity markets

In agriculture commodity markets, suppliers are often localized, small businesses with limited ability to use complex legacy systems. Increasingly, we’re seeing how relatively simple mobile tools can make a significant difference in how quickly buyers can connect with partners, suppliers, and farmers. Those tools can help support faster onboarding and easier management of bids, contracts, purchase orders, invoicing and payment processes. While these self-service tools should be in place to support suppliers of any size, they are particularly critical for Tier 2 and 3 suppliers who traditionally have been more susceptible to market disruptions and often lack digital technologies.

Deploy digital solutions that provide visibility

Connected ecosystems improve visibility, allowing participants to respond more quickly to shocks in the agriculture commodity markets at large. Stockyards can be reconfigured to meet buyer needs, sales and services can be expanded with digital tools, and track and trace technologies can pinpoint shipments at any point on the supply chain to identify and resolve operational risks.

Without visibility across all supplier tiers, an organization’s efforts will be constrained, and business continuity will continue to be a challenge. Fortunately, a wave of digital transformation is sweeping the agriculture commodity market with new solutions that automate, coordinate, and facilitate collaboration across the ecosystem.

Leverage technology to strengthen relationships

The strength of a network of relationships is also determined by the collective strength of the partnerships within it. Companies should also leverage technology-driven visibility to create better customer experiences and to realize new business opportunities that are mutual beneficial.

For example: Emerald Grains, a company with a deep history of leveraging modern technology to build relationships with its network of growers and customers sets itself apart from other industry players through their use of technology and customer-centric mentality.

“With Eka’s CSM grain stock management system we were able to efficiently manage our grain harvest, paying 98% of farmers within 24 hours of delivery. We also have end-to-end visibility of our supply chain operations. Our systems enable us to pivot our operations to take advantage of harvest changes – this is a real competitive edge”

Bill Thompson, Technical Services Manager.

Changes and challenges are common in the agriculture commodities market but ecosystem connectivity that is facilitated by strategic digital transformation will be the key to achieving resiliency. For more information about digital transformation in the ‘new normal’ click here to download the full whitepaper.

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