According to a study by McKinsey, only 43% of the supply chain has incorporated digitization into their operations, which is the lowest of the five business areas examined in the study. Digitization opens the door to innovation across the produce supply chain, allowing business owners to make more informed decisions and unlock greater value.
Here is how the supply chain for fruits and vegetables benefits from digitization, and how digital platforms like Silo enhance access and visibility into your produce business.
What is digitization?
Digitization is the process of converting information (usually on paper) into a digital format, organizing it into more manageable units of data. It’s often used to preserve information, enable access, and make sharing easier.
An example of digitization involves changing the format of an important document, which would have only been accessible by physically visiting its location, to expand its availability to anyone from anywhere.
On the business end, digital technologies can be leveraged to give specific people access. The digitized data can be used to significantly improve processes.
How the produce supply chain benefits from digitization
In general, the fresh produce supply chain involves many hands, with multiple parties frequently corresponding with one another. With so many moving parts involved, it’s important to smooth out these interactions as much as possible. That’s where the digital supply chain comes into play. Here is how the supply chain benefits from digitization.
Efficient and organized documentation
Digital supply chains not only eliminate the need for manual processes, but allow for greater efficiency in access.
Having all business documents available at your fingertips means being able to find a set of documents in less than 30 seconds, which goes a long way toward reducing wait times and increasing overall productivity. And when you’re spending less time looking for information, you have more time to dedicate to what you do with that information.
Documents become much more organized, as they’re placed in a centralized and structured environment for targeted search, retrieval, and data analysis.
In short, a digital supply chain can cut down on the time needed for procurement, determining capacity, and order fulfillment through automated, efficient, and organized documentation.
Scalable to business growth
Having a digital database means that your business will have the ability to grow beyond a single geographic location. Employees will be able to work remotely and access important information from anywhere.
Since centralization ensures that all parts of the company remain connected, communication becomes more fluid. This produce business model is a scalable solution that allows for more seamless growth.
A significant downside of using paper files in the produce supply chain is the lack of security. Think about where you store your files—even if they are in a secure location, there’s still the risk of vandalization, theft, or accidents like fires or floods.
Digitization means greater and more remote control, with customizable permissions and settings allowing you to determine authorization.
These days, software platforms often come with multi-factor authentication and data encryption systems for enhanced security, with most cloud-based applications built to prevent data breaches.
Better management of inventory and finances
Promising to a distributor and not being able to deliver on your promise due to lack of inventory can damage trade relationships. This results in lost revenue. A digital supply chain for fruits and vegetables provides you with unparalleled visibility, so you know when you’re running short on stock. This can also help you ensure that you’re not ordering too much.
Better inventory management means better finances, as knowing exactly what you have on hand means less money is tied up in storing excess. With better finances, you can improve cash flow and reduce capital requirements.
Did you know that 70% of greenhouse gas emissions are connected to material handling and use? Material handling is defined as the movement and storage of products throughout various stages of the supply chain, including manufacturing, distribution, consumption, and disposal.
With digitization, you gain access to more information about your business’ buying, selling, and shipping processes. This, in turn, allows you to analyze consumption patterns for better decision-making.
For example, seeing how full a freight is can help you determine how efficient a delivery is—could you fit more inventory for fewer deliveries, without having to compromise costs?
Finding ways to increase efficiency through digitized data can promote sustainability, ensuring less waste, shorter cycles for delivery, lowered fuel expenses, and reduced emissions.
Greater insights to unlock greater value
Digitization allows you to unlock greater value and helps you prevent the supply chain of fruits and vegetables from becoming fragmented. Not only does it give you access to more accurate data, but you can use that data for business analytics and to gain greater insight into your everyday operations.
This empowers teams and allows your business to become more forward-looking, as you can better anticipate future requirements.
You can determine things like whether the produce you’ve sold has allowed you a sufficient return on investment, if there’s a significant amount of waste in one area of your business operations, and how to move forward for improved outcomes.
Digitize the produce supply chain using Silo
Digitizing your operations has many benefits. When thinking about how to make the transition to digital, choose software that’s built for produce, like Silo.
Silo is a user-friendly platform that gives you heightened visibility into your inventory, operations, and cash flow health. Everything you need to know about your business is just a few clicks away, from produce profit details all the way down to the lot level, which vendors are supplying the best quality supply, and which customers are buying at the best margins.
Silo presents data in an easy-to-consume format so that you can make more informed business decisions.
Looking to take your business operations online? Book a demo with Silo today!