The stuffing in your turkey
The meal on your Thanksgiving Day plate comes from a small farmer from Iowa, a big meat processor in North Carolina, and perhaps a milk cooperative like many in the USA. Not only are these farmers the reason for your Thanksgiving meal season, they’re also the farmers responsible for adding more than $100 Billion (that’s Billion with “B”) to the country’s GDP. This number keeps growing even with struggles against geopolitical hurdles, logistics failures, and a pandemic. What does an ERP system like SAP and a data science product like Austin Data Labs have to do with this agricultural supply chain? Let’s break it down.
Big or small, our farmers are using advanced technologies and field innovation to battle the odds. These guys know to work their numbers as well as they know the cost of a bushel of grain in the next county. This is where the latest technological innovations also find their first home: innovative AgriTech (you might know this as “commodity ag tech” as well). In spite of this, many of the giants of the software world continue to miss the basic needs of their customer base.
All businesses, large or small, have the same bookkeeping needs, the same marketing challenges, and the same HR process to work towards. The scale might change but the challenges in those areas are constant. This is where the similarity ends between a typical agriculture-based business and other businesses, like the automotive giants or big pharma. While the rest of the industries deal with putting things together, the protein businesses (dairy, pork, beef) work to disassemble. For example, a television manufacturer works at procuring chips based on what it plans to make, and a hog processor will take the livestock that comes its way and will produce quality food to feed the masses with the least wastage, ensuring only the freshest is transported to your nearest store.
Where is my gravy?
SAP is a solid ERP tool to implement for mid-to-large scale manufacturing companies. SAP supports almost all industries and may even be used with its standard configuration for most business processes. In conjunction with add-on licenses for HCM, BI, EWM, PO, TM, GTS, and other systems (SAP pros will already be familiar with these acronyms but we’ll have a follow explainer next week for anyone new to SAP), SAP can provide a unified platform for the businesses and make consolidated rules-based reporting a breeze.
While SAP does provide MRP and advanced planning functionalities, these only go so far to help out with the special constraints of the agricultural world. SAP can help a company work as well as the rest of the SAP user community, but SAP often fails to handle the complexities of changing supply, commodity price, outside influences like a pandemic, and logistics margins. SAP has always focused on rules-based processes that it defines as standard and that fall under its existing strategic road map. While it pays to standardize, it pays even more to understand what makes you different and better from others especially in the race to “Shelf-life Nirvana”.
For the last 15 years I’ve worked on fitting SAP to AgriTech customer needs worldwide, specifically in the meat and dairy industries, and I am highly in favor of having an ERP as part of your tech stack. Implement the latest that SAP HANA has to offer, but do not let yourself believe for one second that SAP will provide you the heuristic you need to become a market leader. You’re going to need to add in Austin Data Labs’ advanced data science working alongside your ERP for that.
The 10 things you need to know
More ERP and SAP customers are choosing to complement their systems with data science products like ours at Austin Data Labs. Whether you need our products for planning or for your entire supply chain, we can handle your complexities. We’ve outlined a selection of our key benefits for you below:
- Use the unconstrained power of the cloud and its services. SAP integration constraints are no longer a limiting factor.
- Get the data model and advanced optimization capability regardless of your SAP setup (discrete, repetitive, or a combination).
- No limits to the constraints you need to set up in your model: Austin Data Labs’ independent cloud optimization can model your manufacturing line precisely without breaking the bank to implement APO.
- We know plans change. Make the change to your capacity setup or shift plans from one plant to another without engaging expensive and time-consuming SAP consultants
- No need to share company data on LBN just because SAP stops supporting the expensive tools it sold you just last year.
- Use the power of data science without paying for Leonardo.
- Take field innovation into the fields! Our platform gives you advanced mobility capabilities. Get the insight and the dashboards you need on any platform without spending on Fiori and Tile customizations
- Get the RPO and RTO that’s right for you on day one. No need for BASIS support.
- Optimize, optimize, and then optimize some more. Run your models as and when you see fit without worrying to take the entire IT system down with it.
- Leave it to us! We take care of your IT support so you can take care of business.
We can’t wait to meet you and help you figure out what the right solution for your planning and optimization problem is with Austin Data Labs.