Big Idea; Logistics

I have to admit it … I’ve never really been the idea guy. Being the “idea guy” is a dangerous place to live. To “boldly go where no man has gone before,” as Captain James T. Kirk famously proclaimed, is usually a frustrating, painful, and expensive proposition. Some people can’t help themselves — they get an idea and off they go, occasionally to tremendous success but more often than not, something far less.

Personally, I prefer to be the “idea after the idea” guy. I don’t necessarily need to invent anything. I’m most interested in taking a good idea and making it work for me. It’s generally not any less work to take this approach, but often it cuts down on the mistakes made along the way.

Which brings me to the idea that, if I were you, I’d be finding a way to steal this idea this off-season — electronic vehicle tracking and logistics.

When I came over to this magazine in 1998, I remember people talking about this concept. The overnight delivery companies were driving it first, then Wal-Mart really took it to another level. Through the magic of bar codes and a sophisticated tracking software system, packages, boxes, and shipments move anywhere and everywhere, with negligible levels of error.

Of course, all this was outlandishly expensive. So most of agriculture took a pass on this technology — but now, there are some applications coming online that should have you taking notice and, at the very least, have you exploring the possibilities in the near future.

One of them is profiled in this issue. A company called Intelleflex is providing a system using radio frequency identification, or RFID, technology to provide a way for retailers to monitor the comings and goings of equipment at the plant. RFID got attention about five years ago as the tracking technology of the future, and it has been implemented in some industries, but has been cost prohibitive until now.

The retailer using this technology, Bear River Supply, has RFID “tags” attached to the equipment that’s delivered to growers in the field. When it leaves the yard, the tag triggers an RFID reader, which records what is leaving the yard and when.

Other technologies coming online are taking advantage of the proliferation of more reliable high-speed Internet and cellular service in rural America, along with dropping hardware prices. Two of these technologies now available emerged at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition in Bloomington, IL.

GVM Telematics from GVM is a new equipment tracking system that utilizes the Internet and cellular technology to track the movements of machinery in the field. John Deere announced the soon-to-be-available AgLogic system that will have similar tracking capabilities. Both systems have additional capabilities for collecting data as well.

Next month, our cover story will focus­ on a retailer that is using a new program from Software Solutions In­tegrated called Dispatch, yet another fleet management program that provides tracking of vehicles. For this retailer, Dispatch is the icing on his efforts to analyze and rethink his entire operation’s efficiency.

With so much investment in fuel and inputs, these technologies are shaping up just in time. Give these ideas a spin this winter.

Leave a Reply

Latest News
ManagementAn Inside Look at Award Winning Ag Retailer Gar Tooteli…
April 20, 2017
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses An Inside Look at Award Winning Ag Retailer Gar Tootelian Read More
Students Soybean Field
Industry NewsMACA Announces 2017 Young Leader Scholarship Recipients
April 19, 2017
The Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) Board of Directors selected 11 college students to receive the MACA Young Leader Scholarship Read More
Growmark FS Outlet
SoftwareKnoa Software Solution Helps GROWMARK Boost System Perf…
April 19, 2017
Knoa Software, a leading provider of user experience management (UEM) software, has announced that GROWMARK, Inc., a regional agricultural cooperative Read More
Crop InputsFBN Publishes ‘Voice of the Farmer’ Agricul…
April 17, 2017
Farmer’s Business Network (FBN) released today its “The Voice of the Farmer”, which the company is describing as “a special Read More
ManagementTalking Responsible Ag
April 13, 2017
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses the Responsible Ag program with director Bill Qualls. Read More
Crop InputsFlying Under the Radar No More, FMC Goes Big
April 13, 2017
Describing FMC as “under the radar,” admittedly, is probably a stretch. But in a snap of the fingers, FMC upped Read More
Crop InputsWhat do Roundup and Mickey Mouse Have in Common? Califo…
April 13, 2017
(SOURCE: East Valley Times) Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto Co.’s Roundup and many other weed killers, is being added Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsSource: ChemChina to Divest Assets to Adama Following S…
April 11, 2017
China National Chemical Corp. plans to redistribute agrochemical assets to its Adama unit after the $43 billion takeover of Syngenta Read More
Farming drone air
Eric SfiligojThe Interest in UAVs for Agriculture Grows
April 10, 2017
At times, it seems as if experts have been predicting “big things” for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for several years Read More
OpinionOpinion: Taking On The Farmers Business Network
April 8, 2017
Well, another round of venture capital funding has come to Farmers Business Network (FBN), followed up with the obligatory feature Read More
Drone
EquipmentFarming Drones: The Future Of Agriculture?
April 7, 2017
Chances are, you already know drones are amazing. After all, this is something DroneLife readers just understand. But if you’re Read More
ManagementFMC-DuPont, Crop Plantings, and UAV Updates
April 6, 2017
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Jackie Pucci discuss the purchase agreement between DuPont and FMC, the 2017 crop acreage mix and Read More
Falcon soil sampler
EquipmentSerious Soil Sampling Rigs
April 6, 2017
The industry has seen an increase in automation in sampling equipment, and consultants now often pull cores with an automated Read More
Iowa waterways
FertilizerDow AgroSciences Recognizes Ag Retailers’ Role in Prote…
April 6, 2017
The state of Iowa and its agriculture community have worked for decades to preserve soil health, protect water quality and Read More
Farmer Scouting Weeds in Soybean Field
EquipmentSoil, Scouting Programs Continue To Gain Value
April 5, 2017
How much growers and their retailers utilize soil testing and scouting varies greatly. But they should step up their game Read More
Forbes Mixing Bowl NYC
Precision Ag6 Key Takeaways from Forbes Mixing Bowl NYC
April 5, 2017
Advisory investment group The Mixing Bowl teamed up with Forbes for its New York-based event this year to discuss technology’s Read More
Pam Marrone
Crop InputsQ&A With Pam Marrone On The World’s First All-Biolo…
April 4, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations Inc. and Israel-based Ground­work BioAg in February announced successful field trials of the world’s first all-biological comprehensive Read More
Corn soil
Crop NutritionBiostimulants Clamor For A Piece Of The Row Crop Market
April 3, 2017
The question these days isn’t who is venturing into biostimulants — it’s who isn’t. Or more to the point: The Read More