The agricultural supply chain has evolved tremendously throughout the last decade. With the development of new technology, supply chain management has become more efficient, increasing traffic of commodities around the world. These innovative solutions have transformed agriculture into a digital industry, with expanded capabilities in data management, physical processing and online trading.
A major factor in smarter supply chains is the development of eCommerce. With the interconnectedness of the Internet at society’s fingertips, consumers are able to access and order easily from their own home or office, increasing the demand of products around the world. If business is easy and accessible, customers are more likely to utilize it. While this new interaction model presents its own set of challenges in keeping up with the demand of commodities, its benefit to agriculture far outweighs the cost. Online supply chain management streamlines inventory administration, warehouse strategies and distribution practices, all fueled by the demand-driven business model that results from eCommerce.
The digital landscape of the industry also boosts internal and external communications throughout the supply chain. Producers are able to interface quickly and customers are digitally connected to the products they are purchasing through innovative technology like blockchain. These solutions ensure that each stage of operation is visible, which subsequently increases quality expectations and cuts down on error time. Digital access promotes digital solutions in any industry, and the new standard of instant access to information, delivery status and timelines is a direct result of a digitized supply chain.
Not only can customers and producers access information instantly, but the production processes also move more quickly in a digitized supply chain. Through online platforms, data moves faster, and communication efforts are optimized. In the cotton industry, for example, farmers and gins no longer have to wait as long to receive information from the other in order to conduct business in a timely manner. As every point in the supply chain becomes more connected, direct routes can be developed and the industry can function consistently.
The current, technologically-driven world presents ample opportunities and efficiencies to agriculture, beginning with the supply chain. Producers and consumers have never had as much access to information, communication and products that they have today. From streamlining communication to speeding up physical processes, digital solutions continue to evolve and agriculture continues to grow as a vibrant, thriving industry.