“In such a business landscape marred by trade wars, geopolitical unrest and a pandemic like COVID-19, a new kind of design thinking is needed that enables companies to reconfigure their supply chains and be ultra-agile and responsive to rapidly changing global trade policies, supply dynamics and disruptions,” said Bhandari.
While there are many aspects to evaluate when considering how to redesign supply chains, the application of innovative digital solutions in this space can certainly expedite the realization of next-generation, digitally integrated supply chains.
Digitizing Supply Chains
Agribusinesses have come a long way in the application of technology to improve ways of working within the food supply chain during the last 20 years. Blockchain, for example, is gaining traction in food supply chains for the security and transparency it provides to each actor involved. Despite this progress, digitization has been occurring in pockets, leaving large parts of the business digitally disconnected or still heavily reliant on high-touch, manual business processes.
With the largest work-from-home experiment in human history currently underway, these gaps in our ability to be digitally connected to food supply chains have become even more acute – from contracting to sourcing, commodity weight management to quality inspections, and real-time commodity movement tracking to payments and settlements.
Companies like Tri–States Grain Conditioning, Inc., for example, are working on digital grains monitoring within storage bins or silos to collect real-time temperature and moisture monitoring, an important factor in ensuring the grain and seed are in great condition until it’s time to sell.
Terrabee has also created solutions such as sensing technology that uses cameras and the Internet of Things to perform real-time stock level inventory tracking and facility intrusion detection.
These examples remain exceptions as there still aren’t many digitally integrated solutions for silo storage health. “A connected view of this information is absolutely crucial especially during pandemic emergencies,” said Bhandari. “From a farmer’s perspective, it’s about ensuring safe storage of grains to ensure minimal waste, contamination and that throughput is delivered. For governments or other businesses buying these commodities, it’s key to understand where and how the grains were stored to make informed decisions as part of their sourcing strategies.”
Agribusiness leaders must invest in building digitally connected and ultra-agile food supply chains that are rapidly able to adjust to market disruptions including pandemics like COVID-19. For agribusiness organizations operating within the food supply chain, re-imagining the overall supply chain design is now fundamentally important to ensuring an expanding global population will be able to meet its dietary and nutritional needs for generations to come.