Connecting with the “New Normal”
By Vincent Veneziale
We hear the term “new normal” a lot these days in relation to the affects COVID is having on all areas of our lives, and how we will be going about doing business in the future. Adapting to these new challenges has given everyone the opportunity to think about the old normal and make the changes needed to sustain and improve on how things need to be done going forward.
For many businesses this will also involve looking at how technology can help remove the bottlenecks and inefficiencies in accessing and communicating information.
The effects of COVID will have highlighted to many seed companies the inefficiencies in communication between their teams and difficulties with access to and sharing of vital data that facilitates the smooth operation of the business. The unfortunate symptoms of which have put undue strain on their people and customers.
Companies without robust technology and software solutions will have suffered the most, since these companies are very reliant on manual, human intensive input to transact their business. Where distancing rules have restricted physical interaction between people, for example face to face conversations, moving paper work from office to warehouse/plant, drivers and customers, then this will cause bottlenecks in updating vital records, backing up deliveries and ultimately a slowdown or even a loss of business.
So, what could a “new normal” look like and how can
Primetics Seed Solutions help?
Firstly, let us start with the simple notion of accessing the information you need to help run your seed business. If you rely on multiple different systems and/or spreadsheets to manage your seed production, inventory, sales and distribution data and these are saved onto individual PC’s or at best a server in the office then access to these vital records is made even more difficult if you are not able to be in the office all of the time.
This can make communication between the teams fragmented and frustrating, and it becomes more difficult to ensure information is passed successfully between teams as accessibility, integration and security become a challenge.
What COVID has made us realise is the importance of having all your functional teams aligned in a coherent way with joined up systems and processes. Unifying your business information, into a single, centralised platform, like Generation seed management software, you can secure data and everyone works off the same set of information so that everyone can see the status and progress of work through the business.
Seed businesses are very reliant on paperwork to instruct and advise in the movement of seed through inventory. For instance, manual work order sheets for the plant, picking sheets and delivery tickets for shipping or transferring seed between warehouses. Any movement of seed will involve some paperwork in the process. The challenges here are not only having access to the Word or Excel templates you may use but also physically printing and moving the paperwork between the people and making sure the plant/warehouse, carrier or customer has the correct document at the right time. Physical distancing and accessibility might mean that the flow of paperwork between the people is restricted and slowed down.
At Primetics Seed Solutions we are always looking for ways to streamline operations and workflow in seed businesses using up to date technology. We have recently created our GenWARE mobile application to help remove the need for printed documents and to ensure that inventory data is updated immediately and accurately, reducing manual administration by directly connecting warehouse and plant activity with the Generation seed management database. The GenWARE app allows the warehouse staff to update delivery picking and loading instructions, location transfers, goods receipts, adjustments, inventory counts and put-away off the bagging plant in real time and without the need for printed paperwork. Updating inventory and sales automatically and accurately by ensuring the correct products and seed lots are picked and updated utilising the barcode scanner integrated in the handheld devices.
Interaction and communication with dealers, customers and sales people also become challenging when physical restrictions mean that staff may not be available in the office to field calls or are not able to meet face to face with the customer. Even after the customers orders are taken, responding to and answering their questions means your staff are tied up manning phones in the office or trying to access office information remotely. This will mean that many customers need to wait for or do not get the answers and information they want, and customer service suffers.
COVID has, for many people, resulted in doing more and more business “on-line”. Customers are now expecting to be able to access more services via the internet. If your systems and IT are not able to provide some level of service on-line then you risk being left behind in the post-Covid world.
We at Primetics Seed Solutions believe that connecting your customers is also as important as connecting your teams. Our GenVIEW customer portal will help you to do just that. Connected directly with the Generation seed management database, your customers, dealers and sales team have 24/7 real time access to their orders, shipments and invoices and can answer their own questions as and when they need to. The GenVIEW portal is also capable of capturing the customers orders that are immediately updated to the Generation seed management database, removing paper slips and manual administration. Your customers can still connect with your business directly and your customer service is improved.
If your “new normal” means you need innovative and creative solutions so that you are ready for the post-COVID world then contact Primetics Seed Solutions.