November 2018

 

Hydroponic Farming


Who says plants have to be grown on soil only? And by plants we mean terrestrial plants. Its true that plant need the water and nutrients which are present in the soil, and plenty of sunlight. But nowhere does it say that plants need the soil itself. As long as plants get the desired nutrients, water and sunlight they grow just fine. Therefore, plants can also be grown in water based mineral nutrient solutions, only by exposing their root to these solutions. This is known as Hydroponics.

Hydroponics is not only a way of growing plants but it’s an efficient way of farming and food production. It uses a lot less land, water and inputs to grow crops than traditional farming. Not only plants grow without soil, but they grow a lot better in hydroponic systems. This is why hydroponic farming is so successful and it is undoubtedly a way to the future food production.

Our client has a fully hydroponic horizontal farm which serves about 20000 customers. They have more than 20 varieties of herbs and leafy vegetables, and another 20 plus varieties of exotic fruits and vegetables. It’s a difficult task to manage and monitor a complex process for so many different crops. This client was maintaining their records manually on spreadsheets. The pain areas of our client were,
  1. Absence of centralized interface to manage all the farm production and inventory operations

  2. Accurate demand and supply planning of all crops

  3. Managing bed wise transplanting details

  4. Scheduling and managing daily crop specific irrigation cycles

  5. A way to trace activities and inputs consumed daily on bed level operations.

  6. Lack of analytical reports to help make decisions.

In short, they were in need of an ERP solution to manage their operations efficiently and on a single platform.

As we took on the challenge to provide solution for client’s operations and pain areas, our team of functional and technical experts studied their complex processes and understood their concerns. We decided to deploy FarmERP platform, which is a one stop solution for managing end to end farming processes. In FarmERP the user can plan the schedule for each crop. This schedule includes activities in the entire crop cycle from tray filling to all polyhouse operations, and from transplanting to harvesting. Each activity, for example - spraying can be scheduled along with the inputs it requires. The solution enables client to capture details of crops planted in every individual bed. FarmERP takes into account that the plantation takes place on daily basis, and crops are harvested in the same sequence as they were planted, and this cycle continues around the year. Records of crops planted in each bed, its plantation date, number of plants and total number of beds in the farm can be easily maintained with man, machine and material requirements. It helps to create a more accurate estimation of the expected harvests and the entire harvesting cycle. Purchase, inventory, Human Resources, sales and Accounting functions are as well supported by FarmERP.

We have also equipped client with the FarmERP Mobile App. This app has all the above mentioned capabilities, and it is now integrated with client’s irrigation system and enables the user to control irrigation via app from different locations.

Deploying FarmERP has streamlined the client’s entire process. They now have a much better and more realistic control over production, supply and quality. They no longer need to rely on multiple spreadsheets because all the data is captured and managed on a single platform.
  1. Planning module helps user to plan and schedule crop wise activities. The user requires to do this planning only once, and the same crop plan can be used for multiple harvesting cycles.

  2. Inventory module allows keeping track of the entire inventory and tracking items in batches of every individual transaction.

  3. The production module takes care of all activities from plantation to harvesting. Details of every activity performed on daily basis can be maintained and viewed whenever required.

  4. Sales module manages entire sales cycle thus helps in satisfying customers in time.

  5. Many planned vs actual reports are generated. So, in case if there is a variance between the sales orders and harvested quantity, the user is able to make better decisions to ensure continuous supply.

  6. ‘Farm to Fork’ traceability is achieved to satisfy food safety norms.

  7. Residue free framework in FarmERP simplifies residue free produce operations.

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