Security of supply has been a constant topic of discussion this year. The reality has showed that the food chain can handle a crisis. Food is being produced, processed and delivered to shops. Food companies have changed their processes flexibly as consumption changed. Have you come to think about how much information technology there is behind a functioning and flexible food chain?
Farms are firmly involved in IT development, and in many ways on its crest. As farm sizes increase, information systems and automation have become part of everyday life and essential tools on farms. Without functioning information systems, equipment, or Internet connections, much of a farm’s routine will not work.
There are risks related to the ventilation of production facilities, the operation of milking parlours and robots, the availability of electricity and utilisation of data in the information systems.
The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated that Finnish farms, as one of the cornerstones of modern society from the security of supply point of view, are adaptable and can function well even in exceptional circumstances.
However, the situation could be different if the disruption concerned electricity distribution or telecommunications connections.
It is important for the farm business to review potential risks and measures to reduce them – for example, consider acquiring back-up systems or making written instructions on the farm tasks for the event of sudden illnesses. Are there other ways to ensure the continuity of the farm in all situations?
A farm is a key part of a highly efficient chain where agricultural products make their way to the consumers’ tables. Therefore, it is important to invest in the functionality of information systems in all parts of the chain. Non-functioning warehousing systems, non-reliable logistics and a crumbling e-commerce can cause problems for all players in the chain.