IFFCO Plans To Increase Focus On AI For Predictive Maintenance
Contrary to the face that most organizations are struggling to survive during Covid-19, fertilizer manufacturer IFFCO is witnessing rapid growth in business. As fertilizers are deemed ‘essential items’, the production, movement and sales of IFFCO are almost unaffected.
As per AK Gupta, IT-Head at IFFCO, the manufacturer’s top and bottom lines are performing well even during these challenging times. The cooperative has secured a 30 percent increase in fertilizer sales through PoS machines, during the lockdown.
“It was important for us to ensure that complete IT infrastructure for managing plant operations, supply Chain, E-commerce, finance and human resource operations were available at all times for business continuity. We have a mix of on-premise and on-cloud IT infrastructure, along with a DR Site at Hyderabad. Our strategic partnerships with technology providers like Oracle helped us keep our business up and running”, said Gupta.
Gupta is confident that with advances in cloud, IoT, Big Data, AI/ML, the manufacturing sector is looking to fast-track automation, enable remote
monitoring, and predictive operations.
At IFFCO, Gupta is has plans underway to increase focus on AI for deep insights into business operations and predictive maintenance, analytics for sales and production forecasting, with Oracle’s Autonomous Database and Analytics.
“Especially in these times, we are able to use this analytics platform for our management reporting and also to devise a strategy for the future”, added Gupta.
IFFCO’s core business apps are implemented on the cloud and the firm’s employees were able to work remotely, access, manage and monitor applications without any disruption during the lockdown.
To address employee queries related to HR and finance, an AI-based, voice-enabled Oracle Oracle Digital Assistant has been deployed. Amid this lockdown, the chatbot’s usability increased manifold as a majority of the workforce is working remotely.
“Our mobile applications have helped us automate business workflows and remotely manage our Production, Sales, Procurement and Finance business operations.
Gupta believes IT’s role will only grow more significant in the new normal. “In several industries, IT is already the lifeblood of organizations. What could change is organizations looking to gain more visibility into what technology bets must one make, and scrutiny on clear cut ROI & accountability”, he said.
The nation wide lockdown also brought a cultural change within the 53-year old organisation with respect to how its senior management communicates. “User training was conducted in the first fortnight of March to help smooth transition of our business operations to digital platforms. We were able to conduct routine review meetings at all levels. For the first time in the history of this 53 year old organization, a virtual Board Meeting with 30 Directors pan India, was successfully conducted last month”, he maintained.
In March, IFFCO had already signed up with Zoom (Enterprise version) to enable Virtual meetings for employees.