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Digitalising Malaysia’s plantation industry – Part One

A recent report noted that, historically, the plantation or palm oil industry has been one of the key economic drivers for Malaysia, and this is still clearly the case as 2016 figures still indicate that the industry accounts for 13 per cent of our GDP.

Despite its importance, the industry has been rather slow on the uptake of integrating digital tech into their operations as some analysts point out that many companies are unmotivated to upgrade themselves due to an abundance of labour and foreign labour resources in the country.

However, with increased foreign worker levies and minimum wages, it is getting costlier for these companies to avoid going digital and so, there has been increasing interest in the digital solutions available out there for planters.

While there still isn’t any tech out there that can automate palm oil harvesting and eliminate the need for physical labour altogether, the founder and managing director of a plantation management solutions provider believes that the next step for planters will be to digitalise a lot of their administrative operations.

He noted that as the world’s population grows, the demand for edible oil will only increase so there is no doubt that the plantation industry is very resilient, adding that companies, however, still need to adopt technology into their operations as human resources are getting harder to find, lands are getting scarce even in Sarawak, and the cost of quality land is only rising higher.

Because of this, planters need to make their operations more efficient and digital tech is one way for them to gain efficiency while being able to control their cost better, he noted.

He went on to detail that many plantation companies in Malaysia, especially smaller companies, are often still manually driven; a lot of them are Excel-based and incorporate manual bookkeeping, manual systems, manual data entry and so on.

His company seeks to bring forth these plantation companies from being manual intensive to becoming a digital plantation so to speak, using IT software and other technologies to manage it efficiently. The firm provides digital management products and services that help plantations become more efficient by being less dependent on manual labour and easier to supervise.

For example, with their integrated cloud-based plantation management system tailored specifically for palm oil businesses, companies can utilise this all-in-one solution and easily manage their operations on a single system that supports various key operational functions.

These key features include functions such as accounting, staff payroll, general worker and harvester check-roll, procurement, inventory management, nursery management and vehicle management.

He explained that the system can easily simplify some of the administrative processes in a plantation company, saving valuable labour and time resources as a company would no longer need to rely heavily on large teams of administrative staff to ensure that all operational data is keyed in and kept up to date.

Being a cloud-based system, the founder commented that data from a company’s plantations can easily be seen by its management or headquarters whenever and wherever they might be in the world, as long as they have access to a working internet connection.

With the data so easily accessible online, management workflows are streamlined as managerial staff can easily supervise and control operations through the system all while making quicker and better business decisions.

Adding to that, the founder detailed that the system also included several analytical tools that could help interpret historical data from plantations to visualise trends and make forecasts.

It was noted that things yield forecast and areas of improvement can be generated. For example, companies can easily view the average time taken to transport fresh fruit bunches (FFB) to the oil palm mill or their worker’s efficiency in harvesting, the founder noted.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Renowned for our consulting expertise and delivering expert IT solutions, CTC Global Singapore has become the preferred IT outsourcing partner for businesses across Singapore.

PARTNER

Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.