Last month, Bushel’s Director of Sales Enablement; Lacey Siebert; sat down with three influential voices in the grain industry to talk about commercial sales and shipments.
- Lindsey Bowers, grain merchandiser for United Ag
- Fletcher Sunderman, merchandiser for Agriland FS
- Darren Antrim, senior manager at Scoular
All three shared their thoughts on what is hurting margins and what opportunities there are when visibility is improved as they sell grain downstream.
Lack of Visibility Leading to Eroding Margins
From over shipping on sales contracts to having to take unnecessary discounts, not having visibility to what is happening as it leaves the facility turn these issues into silent margin killers, impacting bottom-lines. As shipments are happening, settlement and merchandising teams are focusing on manually tracking sales versus the tasks that add value and make money for their businesses.
Teams are spending too much time pestering counterparties for records and progress reports, hunting down scale tickets and more. Tasks which Sunderman pointed out, add zero value.
As Sunderman points out, lack of transparency costs businesses both time and money. When asked how greater visibility would impact daily work, panelists agreed that their business would be positively impacted by identifying missing bushels faster, reducing denied deliveries and unnecessary discounts, reducing contract overrun and shortages, improving relationships with their counterparties, and reducing the risk of uncertainty.
Antrim added that better transparency would also allow teams to better plan from a contract management perspective.
What Better Visibility Would Mean for the Industry
Panelists agreed that having better visibility would mean they could make more informed merchandising decisions and better understand their trading positions with the help of real-time data. And having access to contract balances and digital scale tickets would make their cooperatives easier to do business with overall.
Coming from a logistics standpoint, Antrim pointed out many of the challenges that arise today and what better visibility would mean.
Improved logistics wasn’t the only thing panelists felt the industry stands to gain from better visibility. Other points such as reducing over shipping on contracts, identifying missing bushels faster, and anticipating disruptions in commercial grain sales were just a few benefits these experts noted could be improved if they and their farmers had access to this information in real-time.
Bowers expanded on these points when she shared a recent example of how better visibility could have saved their business time, money, and the headache that comes with load upon load of damaged milo.
Want to hear more about the silent margin killers in the grain industry? Watch the webinar recording.
Experiencing any of the pain points discussed in this webinar? Let us help!
Bushel Fulfillment for merchandisers gives you near real-time access to your grain deliveries and contracts, letting you monitor your supply chain and make better merchandising decisions. Tell us more about your challenges and learn how our team can help.