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Sunday, January 16, 2022

Tech World

How modern technology is improving the overall efficiency of operations in the food supply chain

Over the years, technology has proven to be very useful in every sector. The widespread acceptance and use of technology-based food supply chains has increased efficiency, while extending the lifespan until it reaches the end user. According to a 2019 FAO report, India is the largest producer of ginger and okra. It ranks second in the production of potatoes, onions, cauliflower, brinjal, cabbage, etc. However, huge amounts of food are lost annually worldwide due to the fragmented supply chain caused by physical factors (unsuitable formality blends) and some pathological factors (decay due to fungi or bacteria). The adoption of modern technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) is playing a crucial role in the radical transformation of the food supply chain from farm to fork.

The inclusion of technology-assisted solutions has not only enhanced the efficiency of the food supply chain, but also made it increasingly cost-effective. It has enhanced the expertise of all stakeholders – farmers, retailers and end users. The scope of logistics has expanded from simply making the process economical to driving a comprehensive, transparent, efficient and traceable structure. Players in this sector are taking advantage of technology to provide customers with safe, clean and traceable products. Moreover, modern technologies ensure that food waste is minimized.

Let’s delve into understanding how modern technology is forever changing the food logistics landscape –

Simulates human performance and knowledge

The food supply chain involves many time-consuming and repetitive tasks, such as the physical loading and unloading of products from collection points to pick-up trucks and trucks on a regular basis. In addition, manual work can lead to errors and waste of resources. However, the integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning makes monitoring easy and results-oriented to suppress food waste. For example, by automating loading and unloading, the same task can be done quickly and efficiently, while reducing labor costs. Predictive and analytical tools help create accurate forecasts based on past buying data, demand frequency and relevant market trends.

Predictive models have been one of the main tools useful to all stakeholders in the supply chain. It allows producers to specify the quantity as well as the indentation of the price. Some agricultural technology operators have developed specific applications based on these models. These platforms assist farmers in planning their harvest as well as allowing them to determine the market and price at which they want to sell. Retailers or Kirana stores are free from the burdens of overstocking and shortages. Additionally, by improving delivery methods and inventory management systems, the overall customer experience is upgraded.

Improved visibility and communication

The internet has given a whole new meaning to connectivity and accessibility. Once a few devices are connected, data can be shared across systems with a single click. Modern devices such as smartwatches and cell phones have paved the way for touchless supply chains. Each step is recorded, and the necessary data can be obtained at any time. The Internet of Things (IoT) has simplified end-to-end data sharing while also detecting future errors and developing the ability to eliminate potential risks. Last report (2020) prepared by The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Arthur D present Vision 2030 for the Indian supply chain, focusing on logistics costs, optimizing the logistics mix, automating 80-90 percent of supply chain operations, building multiple channels, and moving towards green supply chains. Skills are also a critical requirement.

Another technology that enhances transparency and visibility is radio frequency identification (RFID). Under this system, goods are marked with easily traceable marks. Information such as storage of boxes, transportation methods or people who handled the products is readily available to all interested parties. It increases accountability and helps mitigate risks associated with food supply chains. RFID helps identify discrepancies in a timely manner as well as quickly resolve them. Together, these technologies have been critical to increasing connectivity, reliability, and safety.

Real time updates

Data is critical to all business. Today, there is no job that can be done without it. Logistics companies use cloud-based systems to store information in a centralized manner. At each step, the data is updated, and all changes are made in one place. By doing this, organizations can help their customers with real-time information. Moreover, it improves communication and coordination in the field. Cloud systems make sharing information hassle-free and integrate the efforts of players across the board. In the event of any mishap, central folders allow companies to immediately identify the cause and remedy the problem. One program combines a large number of activities, making supply chains efficient.

Companies work to add value to their customers. In India, the emergence of several agricultural technology companies has been crucial in bridging the gap created by the old channels. The integration of modern technologies into the supply chain has proven beneficial to all stakeholders. For example, it ensures fair pricing for farmers, timely delivery of retailers and food safety for customers. Moreover, it lowers logistics costs, which were used for 14% of GDP, which is very high compared to international counterparts. Today’s buyers know what they’re consuming. Making the supply chain transparent and traceable enhances a sense of trust between suppliers and consumers. Customers appreciate brands that provide detailed merchandise information and are not limited to packaging labels.

In conclusion, today’s technologies such as drones, blockchain, and automated irrigation systems are making supply chains more sustainable. It is safe to say that the technology has worked remarkably towards improving the overall process. Although the widespread adoption of these disruptive solutions remains a challenge, their many benefits will play a crucial role in encouraging players to include them.



The opinions expressed above are those of the author.

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