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E-COMMERCE PROFILE
PROVIDING BUSINESS SOLUTIONS FOR AGRIBUSINESSES
E-Markets Inc. develops and hosts proprietary Internet-based information management tools that enable agribusinesses to improve business processes and enhance customer relationships. Its customer base includes several thousand grain elevators, ag retailers and other agribusinesses such as Dow AgroSciences, Land O’Lakes and Farmland Industries.

"Our focus is on providing business solutions - efficiently and effectively - for our clients," E-Markets CEO David Abbott says. "Our suite of solutions just happens to be delivered through Internet technology." He points out that more than a billion dollars in transactions have been completed using the suite of applications powered by E-Markets, based in Ames, Iowa.

In 1997, E-Markets introduced its online grain production contracting system, which is used for tracking identity-preserved grain and managing the flow of the information from millions of contracted acres. Today, the contracting platform can be used for managing the contracting of feed, crop inputs, nitrogen, etc. In 1998, it began an Internet-based input ordering system that now underpins the seed purchases for as many as 3,000 cooperatives.

Last spring, E-Markets launched the Decision Rules for Contracts (DRC) pricing tool. The DRC application is a grain origination tool for elevators that enables them to strengthen customer relationships by providing an easy-to-understand marketing strategy to their farmer-customers.

Last year, the customers of elevators offering the DRC pricing tool, on average, registered a 15-cent advantage over the spot price for summer delivered corn, according to Kevin Kimle, co-founder of E-Markets and vice president of business development.

Dave Krog, co-founder of E-Markets and vice president of product development, says he’s confident that one of the company’s newest applications, the AgOrder input management tool, will help place ag retailers squarely in the middle of the relationship and information flow between their suppliers and their grower-customers. Ag retailers are the "pivotal hub" for e-business success in rural America, according to Abbott. "Their role cannot be replaced," he says.

All of the applications powered by E-Markets are designed to embed into the current business processes of bricks-and-mortar agribusinesses. E-Markets’ Krog contends e-business will not be about capturing new customers, but will be about doing business better with the ones you have. Bricks-and-mortars need to utilize online applications that allow them to improve the bottom line by effectively managing the value of the information generated from their business processes or that allow them to offer new services to their customers.

"The goal of E-Markets is to provide the platforms that enable current bricks-and-mortars to do business better," Abbott concludes. AM

Agri-marketing e-business consultant Warren E. Clark is president of Chicago-area Clark Consulting International Inc.


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