Does the feed industry need standards?

09-06-2009 | |
Bob Luedtke Information Technology

eBusiness standards that is. The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) in conjunction with AgGateway has created and is in the process of delivering a set of standards that feed companies can use to communicate with their business partners.

These standards include the normal messages between a feed company and its ingredient suppliers – Purchase Orders, order changes, ship notices and invoices. Eventually this will expand to include orders between the feed companies and producers.
So why should the feed industry expend effort on these standards? What’s the benefit?
The benefits are real. Let’s look at this from the viewpoint of the feed company. In your normal dealings with your ingredient suppliers, how many times has there been an error in what was purchased? How long does it take to process a purchase order?
Eliminating errors through the automation of these processes will result in hard dollar savings. There are intangible benefits as well. Should an incident occur, the track and trace process becomes easier, especially tracking shipments between different companies.
Standards make it easier to do business with other companies – no more creating a custom interface that is used with just one customer or vendor.
These are the carrots – now comes the stick! You may have a prospective customer or vendor that you want to do business with that requires these standards. If you want to do business with them, you have to use the standards.
The implementation of standards in the industry affects not just the information systems that you are using but the business processes within your company will have to change. Maybe for the better – but maybe not!
I want to know what you think – Are the benefits there, or is it just one more requirement that we have to meet?

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