“If we don’t know what we have, we can’t market it.”  That sums up why you need a reliable system to keep track of your grain – both its quantity and quality.

Knowing the inventory of your bins allows your managers to make timely and profitable decisions.  One co-op’s quality systems manager says, “Meeting specific orders is essential to our bottom line.”  That can be tricky if you have multiple locations.  If you know – with certainty – which location has the grades and quantities you need to meet a load order or certain specifications for a train, you and your managers can make smart logistics plans.  Being able to see at a glance how full the bins are and with which commodities can help you capture market opportunities and be ready for harvest.  Making more informed and timelier decisions also improves coordination between merchandising and operations.

Knowledge of what’s in your bins also takes the anxiety out of the planning process.  Having the right information at the right time makes it less stressful and more manageable to figure out such things as whether a contract with particular grade factor requirements can be met, and how full the grain elevator is with which commodities when it comes time for harvest and shipping.

Knowing what you have is one thing.  Being able to make decisions at precisely the right time is another.  Combining the knowledge and timeliness kicks up the profitability of your grain business.  One co-op president says it can “…improve the value of our inventory, (help us) understand what qualities and quantities we have at all of our elevators and do a better job at getting those into the market at the right time.”

Unreliable and time-consuming manual methods are torpedoing many grain-handling facilities.  When you record attributes on dry erase bin boards or spreadsheets, then calculate weighted averages by hand, do you truly trust the information?  If data is commonly incorrect and won’t allow you to make prompt decisions, then what good is it?  Answer:  none.  But how do you change that?  Thankfully, these manual processes are being replaced with software tools that can now electronically create bin boards that automatically update and track quality based on averaged grade factors.

Being able to see grades and other attributes of the inventory at any point in time – and having a constant average of the quality of the grain that is in the bins – provides a tremendous benefit for merchandisers to capitalize on market opportunities and make fully informed, quick decisions that can result in additional profit.

The co-op president sums it up nicely: “Having the right kind of information about our elevator inventory lets us deliver what the market wants, when it wants it, and that can mean additional premiums.”  The information is all right there in front of you.  If you could be certain it is up-to-date and trustworthy, you can make the kind of decisions that lead to more profit for your company, too.