AgGateway, the non-profit industry organization dedicated to promoting, enabling and expanding eBusiness in agriculture, has released a new enhancement to the Ag Industry Identification System (AGIIS) that allows anyone in the industry to have automated web access to the standard identifiers used in electronic business transactions. Access and limited searches are free; fees accrue once a user exceeds a certain number or level of searches, while manual, web-based look-ups are free and open to all. This enhancement is designed to bring the agriculture industry closer to having globally applicable standard identifiers, which will greatly increase data quality and provide more efficiency for all trading partners. Most other major industries have already achieved this uniformity that is the basis for electronic transactions.

"If companies have been waiting for the right moment to move to standard identifiers and get connected, now is that moment," said AgGateway President and CEO Wendy Smith. "When trading partners are able to connect electronically, it results in increased productivity and efficiency for everyone. We're doing everything we can to make it easier for companies to get on board and start benefiting from those efficiencies."

AGIIS is the robust, interactive database that houses agricultural eBusiness reference data. Hundreds of ag companies already use the database to look up unique identifiers and common data elements to insert into their transactions - either internal or with trading partners. Because trading partners are able to access and use the same identifiers, the pieces of information fit together, and electronic communication is possible. Using standard identifiers is also essential for future initiatives such as industry standard barcoding and data exchange, which promise to further increase productivity and efficiency.

For example, any company can now automatically look up the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), for those companies that load products into AGIIS, which is the numerical code representing a specific brand and packaging of a given product (e.g., seed, crop protection chemicals, fertilizer, etc.), or the Global Location Number, which is the unique identifi­er for the name and address of an organization, individual or location, to insert into a transaction. A subscription is still required for full access to AGIIS, as a necessary means of maintaining the extensive directory.

"Using AGIIS unique identifiers and AgGateway standardized message formats means our systems are more automated, accurate and timely - that allows our people to focus on serving our customers," said Randy Fry, Information System Manager at Ceres Solutions, an eastern Indiana ag retailer. "In 2015 we fully implemented GTINs and barcodes at two locations and realized much improved accuracy in inventory and in Grower Point of Sale, in contrast to reporting over previous years and to our other locations who have not fully implemented the unique identifiers and barcoding solution."

Companies can find information on how to access AGIIS at www.AgGateway.org, or by contacting AgGateway Member Services at member.services@AgGateway.org. In addition, sessions on AGIIS and how to use it to improve business efficiency will be presented at AgGateway's Annual Conference, Nov. 9-12 in San Antonio. See "Events" at www.AgGateway.org.