Wilbur-Ellis: Consistency, Efficiency After Public Warehouse Multiple GLN Implementation

Public Warehouse GLNs

Wilbur-Ellis: Consistency, Efficiency After Public Warehouse Multiple GLN Implementation

By Eileen Licitra, Iteris, Inc.

Following is an interview with Seth Petersen, Wilbur-Ellis, who is a member of AgGateway’s Crop Protection Council. Wilbur-Ellis implemented the public warehouse GLN initiative in February 2017.

Founded in 1921, Wilbur-Ellis is a leading international marketer and distributor of agricultural products, animal feed and specialty chemicals and ingredients. The Agribusiness Division addresses crop challenges and individual grower needs with tailored solutions in crop protection, nutrition and seed technology. 

Seth Petersen has been with Wilbur-Ellis for 11 years and works in the role of eCommerce Administrator. Prior to joining Wilbur Ellis, Seth was an information technology consultant focused on helping customers implement software packages. “Working within an IT group in a new industry has not only been fun, but challenging. It’s doing business in new ways.”

When he’s not working, Seth enjoys spending time with his 12-year-old daughter and taking up a new challenge: tennis. As a relatively new player, Seth recently won a tennis tournament and is proud to display his trophy.

In this interview, Seth discusses the implementation of AgGateway’s AGIIS Public Warehouse Multiple GLN Project.

What were particular challenges prior to implementing the AGIIS Public Warehouse Multiple GLN?

Public warehouses are not owned by the companies storing products there; instead, the public warehouses lease space to multiple entities. They are large and often a “ship from” or “pick up” location for an agricultural product sold to a distributor. It’s common to have many manufacturers utilizing space within one warehouse. Most or all of the manufacturers would use the GLN of the public warehouse to represent the location. This became a problem when one or more suppliers assigned their own GLN, so there was a lot of inconsistency from supplier to supplier and segment to segment (for example, crop protection and crop nutrition).

Inconsistency was an issue, and that inconsistency led to inefficiency in many areas. The problem for distributors when ordering was selecting the correct GLN – the manufacturer’s proprietary GLN or the warehouse GLN. The problem for manufacturers was to track ownership when products were transferred within the warehouse to a new entity, and the need to maintain cross reference tables.

Now, with the implementation of Public Warehouse Multiple GLNs, we can track and transfer ownership of products throughout the entire process and save maintenance time, reduce cross-reference challenges and solve inconsistency issues.

What can you tell us about the overall experience implementing Public Warehouse Multiple GLN?

When you’re working with many suppliers and distributors, coordinating a change like this is difficult, and we may continue to have inconsistency for some time until everyone can transition to the new process.

Internally, we created an entity within our ERP system for each supplier in each warehouse. Now our purchasing team knows which supplier to select via this system. The new entities in our ERP system are tied to the new supplier-specific GLNs for the suppliers that have made the transition and assigned their own GLNs, or they are tied to the old public warehouse GLN for the suppliers that have not yet assigned their own. As suppliers make the transition, our data team will make the update on the backend.

This process is transparent to the purchasing department within Wilbur-Ellis. I would recommend that other companies look at their backend systems to see what modifications they can make to implement this initiative.

As suppliers begin implementing the Public Warehouse Multiple GLN initiative, distributors will need to follow suit. I do recommend that distributors evaluate how to implement this now in anticipation. Plus, they get to reap the benefits sooner.

What has been the key value of the AGIIS Public Warehouse Multiple GLN Initiative?

Consistency! And that leads to efficiency. This enables companies to eliminate cross-reference tables and track products in a much easier way.

Thank you, Seth!