Platformication-the latest disruption in the food industry!!

K Nanda Kumar

Founder & CEO, Suntec Business Solutions

A technology evangelist with over 26 years in the industry, Nanda Kumar (NK) has shaped the wave of customer-centric software platforms and solutions for pricing and billing, particularly in transaction-intensive verticals. He pioneered the concept of relationship-based pricing – an idea industry analysts and thought leaders now acknowledge as the key to balanced pricing dynamics. NK has made SunTec one of the global leaders in revenue management and business assurance space in the financial and telecom industries. Under the guidance of NK, SunTec has forayed into areas such as offer management, loyalty and relationship based pricing. Under his leadership, the company has won several awards and is considered as a leader in enterprise products. He has delivered numerous talks across global forums such as SIBOS, 3G Mobile Forum, Indian Banking Summit, Gartner Summits etc. He is also a widely read writer who has written for many technology oriented newsletters and blogs. NK holds a master’s degree in management and physics.

Dec 2017 | One in every nine people in the world go hungry each day which come out to about 795 million people. On the other hand, 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year. Just a quarter of this 1.3 billion is enough to feed the 795 million people. We have both the problem and a solution in our hands. It is now just a matter of effective implementation. Can technology help us solve this challenge? An end-to end food data platform can be the most powerful tool which can create a culture of collaboration and shared information thereby helping us solve the world hunger problem.

Single platform integrating multiple stakeholders

Like any ecosystem, the food ecosystem is also complex with multiple stakeholders each having their own set of challenges. A food data platform can connect multiple stakeholders together thereby helping in end-to-end value creation. The different stakeholders in the food ecosystem, right from farmers, manufacturers, retailers, distributors to consumers today operate in silos. Information which exists at each node is not shared with the rest of the ecosystem thus creating gaps. Platformication can help address this very challenge; a single platform, which can host the information from different stakeholders thereby creating a complete picture of the food ecosystem.

To put it in other words, it could mean, at any given point, we could know how much food is produced, how much food is consumed, how much food is in circulation, where is the food item stored, when the food is getting expired, which food item is in shortfall, which is in excess and so on and so forth. Having such a detailed view across the ecosystem could open up a myriad of opportunities to reduce food wastage and improve food distribution.

Moving towards predictability with 0% food loss

One of the biggest advantages of the platform is taking the assumptions out of the system and introducing predictability in the entire ecosystem. Food data platform aims to reduce the food loss to 0% by providing predictive insights on how much food will be needed at any point in time. This of course will come from the analysis of past data coupled with information at different nodes. It will help optimize the supply chain. It can help in better inventory planning and accurate forecasting.

Apart from helping in accurate forecasting, the food data platform will also hold insights on when the food products are getting expired. This insight coupled with dynamic pricing can help in effective distribution and consumption of the food products before they reach the expiry date. Redistribution or quick consumption of the products nearing expiry will prevent wastage of food.

In the current Factory to Fork process, a lot of food gets wasted due to reasons which can totally be avoided. With the food data platform, we can reduce the food loss to 0% thereby supporting the FLW protocol. Each stakeholder within the ecosystem will benefit from this platform, revenues will grow and overall efficiency will improve.

Evolution of Food Marketspace

In the short term, while the food platform can help improve efficiency and optimize food distribution, in the long run, it will evolve as a marketspace with multiple other players leveraging the platform and enhancing value across the ecosystem. Small and medium enterprises can use integrated information both from downstream and upstream stakeholders coupled with insights drawn from the information and generate newer revenue streams.

Once the open food data platform collaboration becomes easier; stakeholders can register themselves, call data through APIs, build products and offerings based on the platform data and form partnerships to launch joint offerings.

Value Creation for Customers

While different stakeholders benefit from this platform, it is also important to look at how this platform will impact the end consumer. The dynamics between the value chain players and the improvement of efficiency will result in maximum value creation for the customers. Different food items will be available without any shortages. Quality of the available food items will be assured without the fear of expiry dates etc. since the platform takes care of weeding out such products from the ecosystem.

The way forward

Biggest advantage of food data platform is reaching 0% food wastage and ending world hunger. But the advantages are not just limited to these. The platform helps in optimizing the supply chain, accurate forecasting, enhancing the value for the customer, managing the inventory, dynamic pricing etc. The platform will evolve to a marketspace where multiple stakeholders can leverage the consolidated information and insights from the platform to enhance value. In the long run, the platform will become the launch pad for disruptive strategies within the marketspace