Overcoming Covid-19 Challenges in Agriculture with Digital and Data
By Michelle Waddell, 3 June 2020
Last week we were delighted to be asked to participate in Agri-EPI’s webinar on the topic of “solutions to the barriers to innovation”, aimed at identifying ways out of the many challenges faced by business owners during the Covid-19 crisis.
The webinar opened with an interesting session from Agri-EPI itself on the lack of real world sites to test and trial technology, and how Agri-EPIs services and resources can support companies during this time. Co-members of Agri-EPI Catax Group and Vault IP then followed with useful presentations on overcoming a lack of capital to scale your company as well as delays to IP protection.
The theme of our presentation was Digital Resilience and Skills. Covid-19 has brought many unwanted and unprecedented challenges for agriculture and farming organisations, from labour shortages and supply chain issues to a need to find new direct business models.
Our presentation was focussed on the role digital technology can play in helping many organisations not only find a route out of the crisis, but to become more resilient and sustainable in their operations too. Areas we covered included:
- Predicting future peaks in demand with forward looking reports and dashboards
- Building digital tools with minimal risk
- Identifying and accessing new markets
- Enabling new business models
- Tools for identifying trends in the wider industry
We discussed the essential skills companies would need to consider to address such challenges in the industry. When building digital tools, for example, designing proofs of concept using simple and low-cost tools such as LucidChart or Balsamiq is an effective way of expressing detail what you’d like the application to do, before committing to any development work. This can significantly reduce risk and also help massively with stakeholder buy-in or investor engagement.
The ability to predict peaks in demand is something that can be achieved with good data and tools. We’re all familiar with the panic buying of recent months; being able to predict future peaks allows organisations to plan more effectively in everything from supply chain, production and staff resourcing. We use data engineering and data science to help organisations move from descriptive to predictive reporting and forecasts, creating dashboards and tools to highlight most favourable actions. For companies looking to upskill, there are many tools such as PowerBi, Tableau, Google Data Studio that come with extensive lessons and tutorials too.
Get in touch to find out how we can help you.