Last September, FourKites hosted its 2022 FourKites Visibility User Conference. At the conference, my colleague Chris Cunnane moderated a panel that included Johnny Ivanyi, Global Director of Distribution Excellence at Bayer Crop Science. Later, Chris had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Ivanyi and dig deeper into Bayer’s visibility and digital transformation journey.
Bayer Crop Science manufactures products for crop protection and non-agricultural pest control. The company also produces seeds based on plant biotechnology. In addition to conventional agrochemical activities, it is involved in the genetic engineering of food. In 2002, Bayer AG acquired Aventis (now part of Sanofi) Crop Science and merged it with its own agrochemical division to form Bayer Crop Science. In 2016, as part of the restructuring of the wholesale business, Bayer Crop Science became one of the three main divisions of Bayer AG. Bayer Crop Science’s global headquarters are in St. Louis, MO.
As visibility became more important globally, more and more companies realized they needed to integrate the solution into their overall supply chain ecosystem. Bayer Crop Science is no different. Bayer started with FourKites in 2018 in Mexico. Initially, the implementation of FourKites was part of a larger go-to-market strategy designed to help the company improve its Net Promoter Score (NPS).
When it comes to measuring customer loyalty, the Net Promoter Score survey is a best practice. The Net Promoter Score is based on customers’ response to a single question: “Are you likely to recommend this business, product or service to a colleague or friend?” When a company’s net promoter score drops, a company is in trouble; NPS is correlated with revenue growth.
Before using FourKites, the company used any method of visibility possible. Usually, this meant providing “visibility” to customers that was far from real-time. Although Bayer Crop Science had a transportation management system that they were satisfied with, the system did not cover all of the company’s transportation modes. The company was able to track shipments on the road, but had little visibility into air and sea shipments.
The implementation of the FourKites visibility solution has improved satisfaction by giving customers more accurate estimated times of arrival (ETA). This information was crucial for Bayer to improve its Net Promoter Score. In a short time, Bayer Crop Science saw significant improvements that enhanced the customer experience. Bayer was also able to use the more accurate data on actual arrival times to improve its transportation process and better hold carriers accountable. This has led to significant improvements in on-time delivery. The company’s cost performance – at the container level – has also improved. Bayer’s success in Mexico led the company to deploy the solution globally. The more widely the solution was deployed, the better their results.
Enterprise application implementations rarely happen on time and on budget. But Bayer felt that, for the most part, their implementation was. Implementation times varied by country, with nations with a lower level of IT sophistication taking longer. Leveraging a real-time transportation visibility solution also requires the cooperation of carriers. In some countries, transport partners were more open and able to share their telematics and GPS data. In other areas it was a heavier lift.
Supply chain visibility is part of Bayer Crop Science’s overall digital transformation. The company is also looking to build a center of excellence for all digital transformation initiatives. This includes the use of digital twins, combining customer service and logistics into a single view for planners, and a journey towards making more decisions based on analysis rather than the gut feelings of a individual. While the business is still planning its digital transformation journey, supply chain visibility provides a solid foundation to build on.
The main author of this article was Chris Cunnane. Mr. Cunnane is Research Director for Supply Chain Management at ARC Advisory Group.