Digital Transformation in the Agribusiness Industry - Part 1

12th August 2021

The agribusiness industry in sub-Saharan Africa faces intense challenges, including constant pressure to meet the demand of feeding a population increasing at 1.2 births per second, and growing safety and environmental concerns.

Companies must balance increasing productivity, efficiency and innovation with the need for socially and environmentally responsible products, including those  destined for export to countries with strict regulations.

Some key challenges companies in the agribusiness sector face to achieve profitability are:

Business Process Automation

A Harvard Business Review survey found that internal dysfunction and complexity is the main barrier to profitable growth. Over time, companies accumulate disparate, inconsistent and siloed processes, introduced through acquisitions or from when the company was smaller, and from organisational resistance to change.

Reducing costs and optimising processes while producing high-quality products is paramount for a competitive advantage. By digitising processes, companies can re-imagine their business functions, understand customer behaviour and improve their bottom lines and move products faster.

Business Process Management (BPM) has featured in the enterprise technology market for at least three decades. By adopting BPM, agribusiness enterprises can derive a competitive advantage.

Identifying bottlenecks, automating activities, applying electronic forms and creating dynamic business rules offer short-term returns to companies applying BPM.

Reliable Service Centres

Equipment used in different processes influence capability in quality, productivity and safety.

Efficient service centres promote optimised use of resources, reduced downtime, better cost control and reliability.

Non-conformance and CAPA

Incidents in agribusiness processes are customer complaints, poor maintenance, and non-compliance in specification, employee safety or environmental accidents.

The detection process is complex, including multi-user checks, approvals, actions, spotting evidence, and automated business rules.

NCRs and corrective actions taken can be used for process improvement. Regulations are rigorous, and consequences enormous (eg. listeriosis).

Integrated Product Data Management (PDM)

A central PDM system includes computer-aided design data, supply information and manufacturing instructions.

A product comprises packaging, labels, nutritional facts and the content. To reduce time-to-market and costs, companies transfer their activities across the supply chain to third parties, increasing PDM complexity.

Companies must be able to react to market changes using agile information systems.

Effective Supplier Management

Agribusinesses must have effective supplier management, but often struggle with process quality and compliance, such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, FSSC 22000 etc.

New suppliers need a selection process, conducted by supplier analysis, audits and evaluation of product development and shop floor efficiency, regarding changes, complaints and warranty.  

Strengthened Regulatory Compliance

Agribusiness regulation, including global marketing, affects the quality and safety of products, monitoring transport, storage and sales, and increasing production costs.   

ISO 22000 and FSSC 22000 create a unified approach, making food systems healthy, fair and environmentally friendly, which is essential to avoid penalties.

Powerful EHS and Sustainability Program

Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) systems help them overcome the myriad challenges of risk and sustainability for success in the marketplace.

Compliance with ISO 14001 or ISO 45001 is critical, protecting your company from potential disasters. Missing compliance deadlines result in hefty penalties.

Agribusiness leaders are increasingly tracking waste to reduce their environmental footprint, energy consumption and waste generation.

Automated Document Control

The agribusiness industry traditionally relies on paper-based processes with stringent compliance requirements. To optimise processes and efficiency of operations, this needs to change.

With the global nature of the agribusiness industry and increasing suppliers’ compliance challenges, many companies must comply with many regulations, which usually stipulate document control procedures to help to improve their management system.

General records, like sales contracts, repair orders and test results, HR and financial records, notifications, electronic forms etc. are all easily managed with a document management system, freeing up time and reducing administrative workload, providing improved productivity, quality and company delivery for profitability and competitiveness.

In Part 2 we will discuss Governance and Risk practices, and Training and Development for results.

Rifle-Shot Performance Holdings