The economy of a nation is dependent majorly on its workforce. Workforce development is crucial towards community development in any economic climate, and certainly even more critical during the global crises we’re experiencing today. Workforce or labour management involves a wide range of activities, policies and programs employed by geographies to create, sustain and retain a viable workforce that can support current and future business.
Around 3.3 billion people of the total world population are employed in one way or the other. The unskilled labour sector works on a daily per capita income of less than $5. The global unemployment rate was steading at 5.4% in 2019 and is expected to increase, owing to the underutilization of manpower. The global underutilization rate of labour resources stood at 13% in 2018. Total labour underutilization is more than twice as high as unemployment, affecting over 470 million people worldwide. This clearly indicates the need for an efficient workforce management system, that can ensure maximum productivity through efficient utilization of resources.
Labour management is defined as the process of managing and monitoring human resources by implementing a systematic approach that ensures existing and potential workers’ productivity levels are maintained on par consistently with the set benchmarks by the employers to let the organization stay competitive in the global marketplace.
Productivity can be measured for a single entity (farm, commodity) or a group of farms, at any geographical scale. Measuring productivity at the commodity level entails collecting plot or activity-level data on a specific output and on the intermediate inputs and production factors, such as labour, land and capital used in its production. Measuring productivity at the farm level implies collecting data on all the outputs produced and on the different inputs and production factors used. In principle, as productivity is the ratio of outputs to inputs.
Resource Management in agriculture mostly involves monitoring and management of skilled and unskilled workers involved in farm activities on farmlands especially the large scale ones, employed by agribusinesses. These large scale agribusinesses employ hundreds of labourers who work across vast farmlands. Attendance monitoring, task monitoring, training and resourcing at this scale of the manual workforce becomes a challenge companies face generally. Labour management and monitoring was done manually through a tedious system of reporting and marking attendance, on-field monitoring by field agents, manual assignment of duties and monitoring by individual assessment. This method proves to be tasking and non-lucrative on larger scales. These businesses need an efficient technological intervention that can efficiently carry out labour management and ensure maximum levels of productivity and utilization of resources.
SmartFarm Plus is a state-of-the-art smart farm management solution designed for agribusinesses to maximize their business productivity and ensure efficiency at all stages of farming. SmartFarm Plus is a saviour for companies that require managing their resources effectively. The solution has also been designed with a dedicated feature for smart labour management.
Initially, the attendance management system was a tasking procedure. The ledgers that were maintained on each worker’s attendance was manual in nature and were done as paperwork.
The system comes with its own set of flaws and was time-consuming in nature. The field agent also had to make sure the workers were completing the set tasks for the day correctly and monitoring of completed tasks for every worker for the day was difficult for a single resource to do. This led to discrepancies and the factor of human error was something that could not be ignored.
SmartFarm Plus eliminates the concept of human error through its efficient attendance monitoring system. The field agent goes onto the field and only has to mark the worker present or absent on the app provided. The entry of attendance no longer involves paperwork and can be done from anywhere through remote monitoring as well. The tasks planned for the day for each worker can be monitored and marked accordingly on the same platform. The system allows customisation of plans and the tasks can be attached to the particular resource and can be updated upon the completion of the task. This ensures no task goes undone and the time taken to complete the task per labourer can be analysed. This helps agribusinesses understand individual resource efficiency.
With large agribusinesses having hundreds of workers employed on the fields, it becomes a challenge to assess each worker’s performance and daily activities by a single or a few managers. SmartFarm Plus makes life easier for these agribusinesses by providing a single platform for a field manager or a field agent to monitor multiple workers assigned to the farmland he/she is managing.
The farm manager is someone who plans out the tasks per resource and allocates them by generating a schedule and maps each task to the resource. This process was done manually initially and there were inefficiencies due to human error and mismanagement of task scheduling. This ultimately can affect productivity on a major scale, affect yield and cause delays in product delivery.
SmartFarm Plus comes with a ‘Farm Resource’ option where the duties to be fulfilled by the worker, commercial details and ownership can be recorded per resource. If the worker is assigned to multiple plans, each individual plan can be linked to the same resource that is performing the task and the progress can be tracked. For example, if 10 labourers on farmland are currently involved in irrigation, the plan can be created and assigned to those labourers, and tracking of progress per labourer can be done at ease on a single platform. This saves time and parallelly gives insights on each worker’s performance rate and the estimated completion time of the assigned task.
Companies can also generate schedule reports, and the cost value per plan can be ascertained through data analysis of each resource involved, their performance history and the stipulated time for completion. The decision making becomes data-driven and actionable based on the analysis of collected data only means a lucrative outcome for the company.
The operational costs that are calculated for the project can be made visible on the same medium. The input costs, additional costs that are categorised under miscellaneous, payments made to the labourers that need to be added into the ledger can all be done at one place, thanks to SmartFarm Plus.
The feature can be customised to the needs of the company. SmartFarm Plus can even be used by agribusinesses who loan out advances to farmers in need of help at dire situations. A labour payment portal has been customised for a client that establishes sustainable value-added chains to provide Fairtrade organic foods from farmers. The design of SmartFarm Plus makes it compatible for integration with other digital agriculture platforms and systems to enable those transactions and disburse cash advances for the farmers smoothly. The results have been extremely positive and this puts in more faith on the capabilities of SmartFarm Plus.
To understand the importance of a futuristic solution like SmartFarm Plus, one must understand the concept of Production Frontier.
Production Frontier is a theoretical concept that represents the optimal productivity target and has to be compared to observe productivity to measure the degree of technical efficiency (or inefficiency) at the farm-level. The measurement of efficiency relies on the definition of the production frontier which may not be unique.
Source: FAO resource material for Agricultural productivity
When applied in terms of resource management, proper data analysis is needed to ensure the x and y-axis have accurate information to draw insights from. For example, labour quality differs across countries, type of activities, region and many other dimensions. High-skilled workers produce different output than low skilled workers, which yields very different effects on production.
There is a need for a smart management platform that understands the vagaries and dynamic inputs that have to be considered while drawing insights. SmartFarm Plus is designed keeping all these in mind and hence is the one solution that agribusinesses should implement an capitalise on.
SmartFarm Plus stands uncontested owing to it being a one-stop platform that can integrate and map other technologies that have been implemented together with all under one roof. This means everything can be monitored through a single integrated platform. SmartFarm Plus not only gives an accurate analysis of data but also makes life easier and simpler through its centralised platform for monitoring.
In a world where technology is accelerating the growth of each sector rapidly, Advanced farm management solutions like SmartFarm Plus will prove to be the real game-changers in the AgTech space. SmartFarm Plus is all about understanding data and providing the user with futuristic, actionable insights. The same idea when applied to workforce development will create a highly functioning, efficient labour management system that will exponentially scale-up company profits. This translates to the economy of the country being the real winner when viewed from a bigger picture perspective. Agribusinesses, are you listening?
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