WinField United’s fulfillment system aims to make it easier and more efficient for retail-owners to conduct business. After more than a year of planning, the fulfillment system will simplify the ability to order seed or crop protection products (CPP).
It will do so by offering an integrated digital supply chain experience, from the grower through the retailer and the distributor to the manufacturer, aimed at meeting the ever-evolving needs of progressive growers. And it’s another piece of the puzzle for our comprehensive, omni-channel approach to e-business.
“The amount of work our customers do to take an order adds up,” says Joel Wipperfurth, director of e-Business for WinField United. “They get many orders a day, in some cases hundreds of orders. All that takes time and makes them less efficient. This will help reduce friction.”
With the new system, WinField United will improve its supply chain and be a better partner by increasing the speed of communication, improving accuracy and being in better sync with customers’ systems and records.
Single point of data entry into the customers' business system.This eliminates the need for manual order entry into additional systems.
An increase in accuracy by removing manual key-in errors when entering data into multiple systems.
Currently, when a retailer places an order, Dave Hoyt, lead, retail supply chain experience for WinField United, says there can end up being a half-dozen or more e-mail exchanges before finalization.
“That’s double entry because they’re putting something in their system and translating it into an email and we reply to it, and it goes on and on,” Hoyt says.
According to Hoyt, the new system is going to make the process very straightforward.
“The ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems that the customers are using can create efficiencies in their system such as a three-way match for vouchering,” Hoyt says. “They can match their order against what we ship against our invoice, and they can do that all electronically in their system instead of having three separate pieces of paper laying on a desk and trying to match each line up.”
The fulfillment system also helps retail-owners in their interactions with growers.
“If we don’t have a robust supply chain to help out that digital experience we’re not going to be successful,” says Dustin Braun, senior director -- logistics for Land O’Lakes.
Braun likes to compare the fulfillment system to Amazon. He says that company has both an easy-to-use interface and an efficient delivery system.
“We believe that there is an opportunity for us to better enable product delivery by having WinField United and the owner operating more like a system,” Braun says.
The system has two components: seed and CPP. Both are different work streams as the electronic messages rout differently.
With seed, WinField United is working under AgGateway standards, in which retailers manage their seed business within their own system. (AgGateway is a non-profit consortium of businesses serving the agriculture industry).
Wipperfurth says the seed companies have all driven the desire to have these connections with ERPs. That reduces friction between transactions -- especially when considering a seed invoice might have 10 different varieties, and each variety has a nine-digit alpha-numeric identifier for it, he says.
According to Hoyt, the seed business starts with the sale to the grower. That includes being able to transmit orders back to WinField United along with order changes and product availability. Retailers will be able to check product availability from their internal ERP system, eliminating the need to go to a separate website and input information.
“They’ll get the answer in seconds when they go check availability on certain hybrids that we sell,” Hoyt says.
WinField United will be pioneering some of the CPP ordering, Wipperfurth says. These, too, will follow AgGateway standards that begin with creating a purchase order and sending it to WinField United electronically. They then receive a series of messages back, acknowledging the order as well as delivery information.
The process is followed up with an electronic bill that they can use to input inventory into their computer system with a single click. Retailers follow up with an electronic invoice that can help simplify their internal business processes.
“This is one of the big benefits that they will be able to receive,” Hoyt says. “It’s a great time for them to reexamine all their internal business processes and use the electronic messaging in the best way for their individual business.”
Retailers interested can contact their local WinField United representatives for more details on system connectivity.