Agriculture is one of the most powerful sectors of Ukrainian economy. The export share of Ukrainian agricultural products to world markets is about 43%, and more than 28% of currency income in Ukraine comes from agriculture. Now, this sector needs modernization and technological innovations more than ever before.
These are the most relevant innovation trends in agriculture:
- GPS navigation and tracking of transport,
- control of fuel consumption
- self-driving vehicles,
- management of seeding machines
- control of plants (their process of growing and optimal period for harvesting)
- use of drones,
- smart farming,
- mapping solutions, certification of fields, land bank management
- agrochemical research
- satellite monitoring
- ERP, CRM systems for the company’s resource management.
Experts believe that the most promising areas for the implementation of innovative IT solutions in the nearest future will be logistics, livestock management and organic production.
You can learn more about innovations in agriculture from one of our previous articles:
Undoubtedly, the potential of Ukrainian IT companies is totally sufficient to increase Ukrainian agricultural corporations’ competitiveness and secure their strong and confident position in the world’s agriculture arena. Considerable work has already been done in the directions listed earlier, and many new progressive solutions appear every day. For instance, recently a software development company from Ivano-Frankivsk, [bvblogic], has completed their work on a large-scale project for the highly technological and innovative agricultural corporation “Svarog West Group”, which is one of the most prominent leaders on the Ukrainian agricultural market. Andriy Khomyn, business analyst of [bvblogic], will tell us about the main goals of this project and the functionality.
Agriculture is a key direction of work for our [bvblogic] company. This project for Svarog corporation is one of our recent and most interesting solutions in the agricultural sphere. It is a comprehensive solution to automate logistic processes of the agricultural company.
It is worth mentioning that logistic solutions are especially important to agricultural companies. Thousands of acres of fields located in different regions of the country, need for fast and safe transportation of production on really long distances, – all these issues cause specific needs. Fortunately, now we can forget about inefficient approaches when drivers used random routes, overcoming extra miles, wasting their time and fuel, risking spoiling the product they transport. Modern technologies make it possible to build optimal routes in a real-time mode with the consideration of many factors from the location of collection points to the condition of road coverage on each specific part of the route. We in [bvblogic] implement this functionality with the use of such services as Navizor.
This approach gives an agricultural company a number of benefits:
- possibility to use all available vehicles in the most efficient way
- minimization of extra costs on fuel
- really fast transportation of production
- consideration of road condition in order to choose a better route
- preserving natural freshness of the product, increasing its quality
As our experience shows, effective IT solutions cause noticeable changes in the efficiency of an agricultural company within just a month after their implementation.
So, basically, the main idea of the project for Svarog was to optimize the logistic processes. The system solves the following tasks:
- automatization of technological processes of logistics
- saving time and resources, keeping production in a perfect condition during all logistic processes
- monitoring of the need for transport, and distribution of available vehicles properly according to the specificity of each cooperative and its location.
- prompt response to problems in the logistics process
The process of milk logistics in Svarog corporation with this system is quite simple and involves the following stages:
- initially, the logistic operator enters all the data in the system: available drivers, milk tanks, packers, factories, etc.
- the system analyzes the data on the current and planned amount of milk that should be collected and the time of collection
- a special algorithm automatically generates the most optimal routes taking into account all necessary factors
- the created routes are distributed to the drivers of milk tanks, and the route sheets are printed
- the driver receives a route sheet, a work plan for the day and a list of collection points
- the driver begins the route from the factory and moves in the direction of the packers, and at the end of the route delivers all gathered milk back to the factory
- at the end of all routes, the driver returns to the starting point.
So, the optimal route for milk tank drivers is generated on average once per two weeks or whenever needed. What is the role of this system?
- Each driver receives a route sheet with the optimal route, which allows speeding up and simplifying the work
- Thanks to the integration with the tracking system, there is a possibility to monitor in a real time mode different parameters of each driver on the route: the time spent on the road, deviations from the route and others
- Simplification of planning and reporting processes
- The system stores and provides the ability to manage data on each driver (available/busy), as well as on all vehicles (working/under repair, etc.)
Factors that are considered in the process of generating the best route:
- volume of sections of milk tanks
- planned volume of milk for each working shift
- time for collecting milk
- location of the packers, refrigerators, factories and other participants in the working process
The system also takes into account many other very specific factors, which also have a huge impact on the efficiency of working processes, here are some examples:
- the first route point is always the most distant one
- the time between two consecutive routes should be two hours
- it is necessary to plan extra 10% of milk tank volume in case there is more milk than expected
- there are strict time measures for milk gathering: up to 10:00 AM in the morning and 8:30 PM in the evening
This web-system is closely connected with the company’s CRM system, which stores information about all members of the business processes. The administrator can easily manage all the data in the database. One can add households, members of the cooperative, individuals, or legal entities, as well as their resources (animals, machinery, etc.). For example, when a certain animal is added to the database, all detailed information is specified, including birth date, breed, the owner’s name and even a photo of the animal. There is also a function that allows adding official documentation to the user’s profile.
In addition to the function of choosing an optimal route, the system has a module, which allows one to track drivers’ movement along the route in a real-time mode thanks to the integration with a GPS system. This system makes it possible for one person to control the movement of the entire rolling stock of the agricultural company and, if needed, to respond promptly to significant deviations from the route.
How does it work?
The logistics operator has a visual map on his/her screen and sees all movements of the trucks on the routes in a real-time mode. The map shows all planned routes, and current locations of the trucks, as well as the points of milk collection and the time of arrival to the collection points, the time of loading and unloading of milk, and a lot of other data. There is an easy and quick way to find the required information with the use of different filters.
Hovering over the icon of the truck shows information about the route number, the driver’s contacts, the amount of milk collected, how much more milk is still to be collected, delay from the schedule, etc.
Hovering over a certain route shows information about the number of the route, the total length, the total time on the road, etc.
The system automatically detects deviations from the route within a radius of more than 50 m or delays from the planned schedule and sends alerts in such cases. All routes with deviations immediately appear at the top of the list and are highlighted in contrasting colors. The operator can instantly contact the driver to solve the issue.
So, this project is just one specific example of IT solutions contributing to the development of agriculture in Ukraine. Of course, the implementation of such solutions can take quite a long time, but a well-implemented solution pays off really quickly. We think that innovative technologies should be accessible to every business, not only large corporations, but also small and medium-sized farms. It is great that today a lot of large agricultural companies in Ukraine choose the innovative way of their development, and we are happy to take part in these processes.