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How Kancor curbed losses and saved costs using a mobile app

Ershad Kaleebullah | April 11, 2013
When inaccurate data began to eat at Omnikan’s profits—the marigold managed farming arm of Kancor Ingredients—the company turned to a mobile app and weeded out losses.</p><p>&nbsp;</p>

Picture Perfect

To take the implementation a notch or two higher, Ahmed insisted on agents sending photos of the farms to the scientists.

At the end of every two weeks, agents need to click a photograph of their assigned farms from their smartphones and upload it to the FMS. The scientists working at the agricultural center of excellence can use the photographs to analyze rainfall patterns, temperature patterns, and based on that correlate the growth of marigolds. So if something is amiss, corrective steps can be taken immediately. "Thanks to this, the gap between the experts and the ground level farmers has come down," says Jawed.

The company got a taste of the advantages of this system when last year one of the agents uploaded a photo of a small farm in Hassan. The scientists discovered pests in the farm.It was a continuous farm with 300 farmers and 1,000 acres under cultivation. "While we noticed the pest problem in one of the sections of the farms, we also noticed that this problem was present in three other sections as well. Immediately, we decided to get rid of the pest problem or else we would have lost almost a quarter of our produce," adds Jawed.

While it was important for the company to keep an eye on the evolution of marigolds through photographs, it was also important to ensure that agents visited farms they have been assigned to at least once a week.But how was Omnikan going to make sure that agents visited their assigned farms and entered the relevant data onto the FMS?

There was one way: Geo-tagging. To do that, the latitude and longitude details for each farm were added to the master data. Doing this enabled the company to restrict agents from entering data from their farms only.

Now, agents can feed data into the system from their smartphones only if they stand within a 10 meter periphery of their farms. "In case an agent enters data into the application from any location apart from the farm they are in charge of, the system would flag up the information," says Ahmed. By doing this, Omnikan ensured transparency and made sure that agents visited the farm at least once a week.But getting here wasn't easy. Ahmed faced resistance from agents as their work would be now more scrutinized. However, he managed to convince them otherwise.

Also read:Pushing Profits by Going GreenAs the mobile app was developed and tested in English, without any Unicode characters, the farmers needed to know the language to use the app. As a workaround, the company decided to use seven big, bold icons that could be used easily to identify what the application wanted to convey.


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