Like the mountains of grain harvested each fall, every feed & grain operation amasses huge amounts of data.
They produce it every time a product or ingredient is received, produced, shipped or sold. But what is all that information worth? Do you collect, organize and sculpt all those ones and zeros? The answer may determine if your organizations is tapping one of the most valuable resources you have.
Unfortunately, many feed & grain operations are still required to do manual tracking for various reasons. For some, their current system simply doesn’t automatically track everything they need to run their business. For others, their systems may track the data but not display it in a way that provides valuable information they need to run their business more efficiently.
Because of this, some managers have begun supplementing their current systems with a surplus of spreadsheets. The problem with spreadsheets is that they require constant maintenance to keep them up-to-date, accidental double entries can lead to serious internal problems and the formats data is displayed in are limited. So while tracking this this data is meaningful for the business, it is ultimately limited in scope.
Basically, while recording this data is essential to keep your books in order, shouldn’t you be getting more from it than a fill full of hard-to-interpret spreadsheets?
The fact is that your data can tell you everything about your business – your strengths, weaknesses, oversights and redundancies. It can also help you identify useful patterns, improve customer service and avoid or mitigate error/fraud.
Even if you have a master’s degree in Excel, the time it takes to organize and maintain that data will severely limit the time you have to explain it to other executives and initiate programs to learn from the data.
And that’s exactly why innovations in today’s software have become so essential to growth. Another way to look at it is that your data is useless until it becomes information.
This mantra is something a majority of industries in the world today have embraced. Big data is a hot topic and new technologies are changing the way companies interact with both their data and their customers everyday. Agribusinesses, on the other hand, have been slower to adopt new technologies that can make the most of big data. For many years, internet and bandwidth availability held back small-town ag companies. If all your facilities can’t get access to proper telecommunications infrastructure, it’s likely you won’t get the return on investment needed to support the expenditure.
But as connectivity becomes less of a problem, even in the most rural regions of America, finding ways to benefit from your big data simply makes sense. And when properly implemented, today’s technology provides advantages in several key areas of the feed & grain business:
The most obvious advantage of today’s software is the ability to input, manage, sort and search your data all in one place. What many companies call their “dashboard” has become an essential program for company information. Modern dashboards can integrate data from multiple sources so it can be analyzed side-by-side in an easy to view format. Even more useful is that data imports can be done easily by anyone within the organization. No more waiting on programmers or IT gurus to get information in or out of your databases.
How that data is viewed can then be customized to best fit your specific feed or grain operation. Instead of formatting your business to an out-of-the-box software solution, today’s dashboards can be tailor made to fit your business model. Customer software can be fitted to your individual uses and specifications, meaning you can input only what you want, view only what you want and export only what you need. That can include a chart, graph, grid or just the ability to switch back and forth between the options. Everything is formatted to make your business, and your employees, work more efficiently.