The right technology for the masses
India's progress as a country is highly dependent on the
growth of its rural areas. This is where technology can help to a great extent
by providing right solutions to empower the rural economy. Sumul Dairy's OICS
to automate its processes is one such success story of innovation. by Anil
Project: Sumul Dairy's Online Integrated Computerized
Date Started: January 1999
Date Completed: June 2002
Project Cost: Rs 230 lakh
Project Objective: To provide access to requisite information at
the nearest point of work area to all associated with Sumul Dairy through
the integrated network.
Benefits Obtained: Better capability to incorporate customer feedback,
right weighing, differentiation of cow and buffalo milk, and reduction
in sourage of milk.
Innovation: Providing the most appropriate and emerging cutting-edge
technology to rural areas to utilize information for socio-economic development,
growth and better quality of life.
Implementing and managing a supply chain management solution consisting of
1004 suppliers spread over 7,657 square kilometers is not an easy task, when
one considers rural India. Add to this the use of a Geographical Information
System (GIS) to manage resources, logistics, and procurement, makes it a bigger
Wireless laptop connectivity, biometrics, VOIP, VPNs, financial accounting,
and IP cameras are de facto in the enterprise being talked about. And, the surprising
part is that we are talking about a cooperative milk marketing organization
called Sumul Dairy (The Surat District cooperative Milk Producer's Union Limited),
and not a manufacturing major.
Read on for more information about how a cooperative society dared to dream,
and made it come true. About how emerging technology has helped our country's
rural citizen achieve the just rewards for his/her hard work. It will also give
us an overview of OICS's innovations that helped Sumul Dairy become the Computer
Associates Intelligent Enterprise Awards 2004 winner in the 'Others' category.
A right to be informed
One of the biggest problems the Indian dairy market faced earlier was its unorganized
nature. The absence of infrastructure gave rise to middlemen who exploited the
milk producers by keeping procurement prices low and cheating them of revenues.
This is where organizations like Sumul Dairy come in. Sumul Dairy is one of
the 12 district unions that act as manufacturing units of dairy products for
the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Limited, marketers of Amul
and Dhara brand of products.
While the issue of lack of organization has been rectified to a great extent
due to cooperative initiatives like Sumul Dairy's, and the globally acclaimed
Operation Flood initiative, information exchange between the cooperative society
and its members still needs to be more efficient.
Improved processes and thereby higher productivity and efficiency are but natural
offshoots if this effective information exchange occurs.
"Our IT vision is to provide access to requisite information at the work
area to all associated with the company through an integrated network. We will
especially work to provide the facility to rural areas so that they are not
deprived of latest art of IT and help them use this information for their socio-economic
development, growth and better quality of life," said Satyen Naik, Assistant
Manager (IS), Sumul Dairy.
To achieve this, the company felt a need to evolve superior workflow using computerized
processes. Also at the heart of this was the recognitionthat it was a
growing business with operation complexity and pressures to achieve higher productivity
and efficiency. In fact, the increasingly competitive and liberalized environment
demanded technology evolution and innovation.
Sumul Dairy also realized that computerization would provide
a good opportunity to redesign many of its existing processes that were predominantly
based on obsolete organizational methods.
"Our company's larger goal was to create a positive
'computer culture' within the organization that could compliment its quality
drive and establish sound forward and backward linkages with the aid of information
and communication technologies," said Satyen Naik.
Fortis Healthcare's Hospital Information System developed an in-house
application system. It automates billing/work flows, provides MIS, manages
inventory, performs digital imaging/online reporting, and monitors patient
Kuoni Travels was the next nominee for its Fundamental
Reservations, Administrations and Management Environment (FRAME) initiative.
The project is a customized ERP to automate the company's key processes,
manage the distribution/supply chains, and improve efficiency in a more
OICS covers processes like milk procurement, marketing, cattle feed management,
materials management, human resource, and financial accounting. The system also
uses an integrated GIS to keep track of animal population, animal diseases,
milk route transport management, milk procurement cattle feed utilization, and
other veterinary services.
The main components of OICS are the following:
- Milk procurement system (MPS)
- Marketing Sales Accounting System (SAS)
- Cattle feed and Finished Product Management (CFM)
- Materials Management (MM)
- Human Resource (HR)
- Financial Accounting System (FAS)
- Document Management System (DMS)
- Financial accounting package for village societies
Data and modules
Sumul Dairy's OICS processes data generated at 1004 village level dairy cooperatives
collecting milk from 2,14,415 members, spread over 7,657 Sq. Km area for various
analytical purposes. Internet and e-mail facilities are also available at each
village cooperative society.
"The system is pivoted around six major modules comprising
approximately 500 data entry forms, 40 query forms, and 800 reports. It is estimated
that more than four lakh records are created each day in the computerized systems
at different places," said Satyen Naik.
|"By selecting Sumul Dairy for the Intelligent
Enterprise Award 2004, the Indian Express Group has acknowledged that besides
corporate houses, there is a scope for Information Technology in rural development."
Minimizing milk sourage is one of the challenges of the dairy industry. This
is achieved by minimizing transport delays. Swipe cards and biometric technology
are used at Sumul Dairy for time-capturing of truck drivers and staff to help
timely delivery of milk consignments.
Ready online access is also available to all crucial processes. Weigh bridge
data and all production/stock data are captured at source from the Cattle Feed
Plant, Chalthan (25 kms away from Surat) and is available online. Cash collection
centers located at five strategic locations in Surat city are also online and
integrated using a VPN. The OICS also has an Automatic Milk Collection System
(AMCS) and Bulk Chilling Unit (BCU) modules at village cooperative societies.
Connectivity links the business
Wireless connectivity links (802.11b, 11 Mbps) are used to connect Sumul's head
office, chilling centers (a distance of up to 55 Kms) and its cattle feed factory
(25 Kms away). This innovative use of Wi-Fi comes at a low cost compared to
the more expensive optical fiber alternative.
The campus also has 12 wireless access points. IP cameras
are used at remote locations and in the dairy premise for surveillance.
VoIP technology is used for communication over wireless connectivity links between
the head office and remote locations, like the chilling centers.
"Leased lines are not reliable at remote locations, and our telephone bills
were high. The voice over WLAN solution is very cost-effective and reliable,
according to Naik.
Gains all the way
The biggest achievement of OICS has been rural upliftment. "Due to transparency
in the system, the management is in a position to take decisions, which are
advantageous to the farmers," said Satyen Naik.
OICS also had a positive impact on quality and productivity.
The ready availability of MIS data reduces expenditure, helps plan for higher
productivity, and optimally utilize resources. Higher customer satisfaction
levels are made possible by timely resolution of customer complaints.
According to Naik, zone-wise population analysis and timely dispatches in OICS
have also helped increase market share. On the packing side, OICS maintains
the data from milk Form Fill and Seal (FFS) pouch-filling machines to ensure
packing of the right quantity.
The future roadmap
Future plans for OICS include bringing every animal and milk producer under
recording and monitoring. Disease-free zones and healthcare prevention for milch
animals are also on the cards.
OICS will be extended to have access to all customers/producers and other dairy
co-operative milk producers' unions. Planned customer care initiatives over
OICS include customer service and grievance control through online customer
Sumul Dairy wants every village society in Surat District be connected to the
Sumul HO by 2007-08.
Anil Patrick R can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org