Towards Zero Touch Supply Chains in Horticulture

Written by infra

November 23, 2021

We all have seen the colossal amount of paper used in control sheets, load schedules, manifests! and the cost is not only wasted time and human effort but the loss of data that can be leveraged to improve Horti sales and costs!

Rock, Paper, Scissors

A day in the Life Of: If you were to live a day in the life of a farm supervisor; or that of the driver to move the trolleys filled with all the exotic and lovely produce from the farms till the stores; you will also handle more than 30,000 sheets of paper every year. And not only you would handle them, but you would also scribble notes.

There is a consignment that could not be loaded, or another that needs to go to another store, or to pick the racks and bring them to the depot. And you might worry that others understand what you painstakingly noted down. And then mistakes do happen, people do forget things!

Sustainable reduction in costs

Well, this can change! Supply Chains in various sectors are moving towards Zero Touch. This is one of the cornerstones of the new age fast velocity but nimble Supply Chains. A report by McKinsey suggests that businesses can expect “30 percent lower operational costs, 75 percent fewer lost sales, and a decrease in inventories of up to 75 percent”

The same report adds that one of the goals should be minimum touchpoints. Zero-touch also means a very fundamental re-look at the supply chain network. There are several examples of how the networks were fundamentally altered to minimise the touchpoints and brought in digitisation and automation to reduce human intervention, and thus creating sustainable efficiencies.

Contactless in Covid? With the onset of COVID pandemic in 2020, the notion of Zero Touch has taken on additional flavours. Of course, the pandemic has sent the supply chain operations into a tizzy and in their attempts to future-proof themselves businesses are looking to simplify the network, use technology to the maximum and keep their workforce safe. And in this new world, “Contactless” is the new normal at all points of human interactions.

Where does a transformation start?

There are many levers towards zero-touch. The very first opportunity to gain is to go digital and eliminate paper. Is paper such a big problem? We all have seen the colossal amount of paper used in control sheets, load schedules, manifests and so on. A study actually calculated that 39% of all paper copies

made were thrown away.

The physicality of handling paper itself slows things down and add to the costs.

Move to software applications will meaningfully automate and digitise the consignment information at the time of Supplier Pick Up, Inward and outward processes in the depots, and the delivery at the store.

Obviously, such software applications should be made available to different user types in a manner that makes them efficient. For example, a Supervisor on the floor cannot carry a desktop computer around. She or he would be happier if the consignment information or operations are available on a handheld device.

Whereas an Operations Manager needs to look at the same information on a laptop while also responding to emails. The truck drivers on the other hand need to access and update while they are on the move. An in-cab screen or a sturdy mobile phone is the best option for them.

It is also critical that the software is easy to learn and easy to use. And to be used anytime anywhere in today’s world of a dynamic workforce, pop up warehouses and Direct To Consumers. Training the users is critical to high technology adoption, and if the products are intuitive this can be a breeze!!

STEER for Horticulture Supply Chains

STEER product, developed specifically for Horticulture Supply Chains, will take you forward towards a Paperless and Zero Touch Supply Chain. And it can be rolled out in 4 weeks straight!

Reach out to us at, or write to us at We can demonstrate how STEER will work for you, and you can even dare us to prove the value with a POC in your operations!

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