Integrating commodity management and bulk material handling for agriculture companies

08 March 2021 | BLOGS

Agriculture companies that produce, procure, or trade agricultural products require commodity management software to help manage marketing, processing, and supply chain processes. Those companies that store and transport agricultural products need bulk handling software for process management, task execution, and business intelligence to efficiently operate grains facilities or port terminals. For most companies, commodity trading and risk management (CTRM) and bulk handling are separate and provided by multiple vendors. By integrating trading, risk management, and bulk handling software into a single-vendor system, agriculture companies can streamline the agricultural supply chain and remove integration risk between the systems.

Real-time information

When agricultural companies are using multiple vendors in their supply chain, they suffer from a lack of one, transparent view of data. Using one vendor to CTRM and another vendor to provide bulk handling software means there is a delay in access to data that can hinder management’s ability to make timely decisions to answer these types of questions:

  • What was the cost of purchasing an agricultural commodity?
  • What agricultural commodity product is currently stored in the warehouse?
  • Which of my grain sites (or elevators) are currently storing agricultural commodities and what are they storing?
  • What should I pay for an agricultural commodity? What have I paid in the past for this?

Without a real-time view of data across the agriculture supply chain, manual reconciliation between the separate vendors’ software platforms is required. For the agriculture company, this could translate to delays while waiting for synchronizations or additional phone calls and emails to verify data.

A lack of real-time information can be particularly problematic for those agriculture companies that are expanding either geographically or in the services they are offering to their customers. Without a real-time, transparent view, these companies will be hindered in their ability to make decisions.

Data ‘control’

Another challenge faced by agriculture companies trying to use multiple vendors in their supply chain is poor control of data. One end of the supply chain needs access to information provided by the other end. If it is difficult for different groups within the organization to access data maintained by another group, the organization will not be as effective as it could be.

Without an integrated system that covers the entire supply chain, manual reconciliation is constantly required. Typically, agricultural companies with multiple vendor solutions in their supply chain will suffer inaccurate inventory data problems where a system is incorrectly showing available stock on hand — if a trader tries to sell this stock, the company will have a problem. To feel comfortable with inventory data, these companies will rely on unnecessary phone calls, a process that hinders decision making ability and causes delays.

Robust reporting

To remain competitive, agricultural companies must strive for efficiency in every aspect of their business. Multiple systems in the supply chain can make it difficult for an organization to analyze data and arrive at correct conclusions. Robust management reporting is not possible without a real-time view of data across the agricultural supply chain.

But typical after-the-fact reporting functionality is not sufficient. Agriculture companies require analytics that reveal otherwise hidden opportunities and risks. Customization and flexibility in the solution is needed so that users within an agriculture company can create custom analytics without relying on their IT department.

The agriculture commodity management solution

Agricultural companies that need trading, risk management, and bulk material handling software will be well served to implement an integrated solution that covers the supply chain from end to end. Eka’s solution provides a seamless flow of data that covers contracts, orders, inventory, shipments, and deliveries.