Mahindra Shubhlabh Services works with about 250 farmers who grow fruit crops such as grapes, apples, and agri input products for MSLS. This produce is then packed and exported to European companies.The company aims to be a farmer’s single point access to all the products, services, and knowledge they need to run productive farms.
All 400 farms are now visited by field officers once in 10 days
The project, which cost about Rs 2.5 lakh, brings more accuracy to an officer’s report, increasing productivity by 40 percent.MSLS’ business reported a 20 percent increase
The Business Case: The company also employs field officers whose job is to visit farms and counsel farmers with the help of MSLS’ in-house experts. During their visits, field officers collect data and create reports monitoring how well the farm is doing. These are then sent back to regional offices, where experts analyze them to advice farmers.
The problem was these reports were created manually. That meant that it could take up to 10 days before an officer’s report crossed an expert’s desk. That’s the sort of delay that can cost, and in 2009, it did.
That year, European legislation banned the use of over 22 pesticides. “Although we were aware of the restriction, the farmers didn’t get the information in time,” says Vijay Mahajan, VP-IT, MSLS. As a result, an entire consignment was treated with banned pesticides and was rejected by customers in Europe. MSLS lost Rs 8 crore in the process.
The Project: MSLS vowed that would never happen again. “So, we consulted with corporate IT to look for ways to use technology and simplify this process,” says Pritam Dutta, project manager, MSLS. Mahajan decided to go mobile. He created a mobile app route that’s compatible with any Java-enabled phone. Field officers can now send their reports quicker, ensuring that reports are seen within two hours of a farm visit.
That faster turnaround ensures field officers can advise farmers without having to come back after days. “All 400 farms are now visited by field officers once in 10 days and we are now able to resolve a farmer problem on the field,” says Mahajan.
The Benefits: The project, which cost about Rs 2.5 lakh, brings more accuracy to an officer’s report, increasing productivity by 40 percent. And it’s also bringing in new business. “This tool has given us an edge over our competitors since the app is also being used as a marketing tool to acquire more business,” says Mahajan. MSLS’ business has also reported a 20 percent increase. This has allowed the company to recoup its losses from the pesticide episode and even turn a profit.
This tool has given us an edge over our competitors since the app is also being used as a marketing tool to acquire more business
“This tool has given us an edge over our competitors since the app is also being used as a marketing tool to acquire more business”