Palm Oil Digitalization 4.0 in the New Normal Era
Since Indonesia became one of the countries affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, many changes have taken place in daily habits. The implementation of lockdown policies in several countries or the Large Scale Social Restriction (read: Pembatasan Sosial Skala Besar/PSBB) policy carried out in Indonesia in the context of massive preventing of transmission of the Coronavirus, also has implications for changes in consumer behavior in activities. One of the major changes in daily human behavior become “Go Virtual”.
By utilizing technological developments through various digital platforms, people throughout the world can continue to work, study, pray, shop and socialize by just sitting facing the gadget. “Go Virtual” activity has indeed become difficult to separate from human life in this era, but these activity become greatest role in the pandemi and new normal era. Various activities undertaken virtually also become one of the easiest alternatives to minimize contact between humans (social distancing).
All economic and non-economic sectors are required to following digitalization framework to remain productive in the new normal era, including the palm oil industry. In addition to implementing health protocols, operational in oil palm plantation and palm oil milling which has supported by innovation and technology or smart farming are the choices to minimize contact between workers and solutions to achieve efficient use of labor in the upstream palm oil industry.
The concept of digitizing oil palm plantations (including and palm oil milling) in the new normal era, has been actually introduced for a long time by researchers at the Indonesian Oil Palm Research Institute (IOPRI) namely the Technology Package of Oil Palm 4.0. Just like the Industry 4.0 concept that utilizes Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Robotic and Sensory, oil palm 4.0 also utilizes these technology in plantation management (fertilization, pest control, harvesting) to processing to optimalization productivity palm oil in palm oil milling.
Maybe in the next few years, we will see robots that will harvest FFB or drones that will fly on the palm oil fields to fertilize or control pests on palm oil plants. Even though the technology does not really exist, but at present, the application based digitalization technology has begun to be applied in oil palm plantations.
Astra Agro Lestari, as one of the major companies in the national palm oil industry, has begun to utilize digital technology in its plantation and Palm Oil Factory’s operations. The company is developing a digitalization and real-time-based information application system that has been worked on since 2018. These applications are MELLI (Mill Excellent Indicator), DINDA (Daily Indicator of Astra Agro) and AMANDA (Foreman Application/Aplikasi Mandor).
MELLI (Mill Excellent Indicator) application which is useful for supplying fast and accurate data on indicators in the palm oil milling approaching real time. How to use employees in a palm oil milling will input some data to the application using the gadget. The data is needed to conduct analysis and problems in the milling.
DINDA (Daily Indicator of Astra Agro) is one of the smartphone applications that assistants use to report daily achievements. This application makes it easy for assistants to carry out one of their jobdesk, which is to make daily reports related to their duties and responsibilities. This application is also designed to make it easier for companies to monitor plantation operations from maintenance and harvest so they can find out the level of labor productivity.
AMANDA (Foreman Application or Aplikasi Mandor) is used by the foreman on Astra Agro Lestari’s plantation which makes it easy to do its daily work and tasks. One of the functions of this application is a digital-based are attendance feature, a series of Short Interval Control (SIC) and reports from Krani (checker). Besides AMANDA, there are other applications intended for foreman, namely AMANTA and TIKA. AMANTA is intended to simplify the task of the Crop Foreman (Mandor Tanaman), while TIKA is a FFB digital calculator application used by Krani to calculate and grading FFB each harvest.
In line with Astra Agro, PT. OWL Plantation System also developed the Harvest Digitalisation application, an application with the concept of developing digital technology to increase oil palm productivity through harvest control, which has adjusted to the way HR works, speed and accuracy, and to make it easier to see the condition of the fruit to be harvested.
Although there are inhibiting factors such as needs some comprehensive research and relatively large investment costs that cause not many palm oil industry players, both companies and farmers using Oil Palm 4.0 digitization technology. But it is expected that the technology can be implemented in the next few years. This opportunity can also be used by millennials and Z-genes to become Sawitpreneur (Palm Oil Entrepreneur) by starting to develop digital application start-ups in the palm oil industry.
If linked from the current perspective, the technology of Palm Oil 4.0 is a new solution in the new normal era. But with the other perspective, existence of the Covid-19 pandemic can also be a “blessing” for the national palm oil industry to make a revolutionary leap in technological digitalization. In the new normal, encourage palm oil actors (companies and farmers) to start investing in digital technology so they can continue to operating and implementing health protocols, while also carrying out missions in order to achieve the vision of developing a sustainable national oil industry through increased productivity, efficiency, and competitiveness.
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