Transforming Philippine Agribusiness for The Digital Age - PLDT ALPHAPLDT ALPHA
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Transforming Philippine Agribusiness for The Digital Age

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PLDT ALPHA and Smart boost operations of RDF Feed, Livestock & Foods, Inc. using end-to-end network technology

The agriculture sector plays a historic and essential role in the growth of the Philippine economy. Lately it has been showing improved overall performance year on year. According to the Philippine National Statistical Coordination Board’s 2016-2020 forecast, the sector’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to reach PhP174 trillion in the last quarter of 2016, and is projected to soar as high as PhP203 trillion by 2020. It also contributes significantly to local employment, providing jobs to 27% of the population as of January 2016. Top contributors to this upward trend include crops (52.06%), livestock (17.18%), and poultry (15.85%).

One company that has set itself apart as a major player in the agricultural sector is RDF Feed, Livestock & Foods, Inc. (RDFFLFI), started by veterinarian and RDFFLFI President Robert Lo in Pampanga in 1988.

As the business expanded over the years, it faced a series of challenges, including the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991 and the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997. Mr. Lo and his team showed resilience in the face of these adversities, constantly innovating processes and employing various technologies to spur business growth. “We don’t just adopt technology for adoption’s sake, we always improve its use in our systems,” he explained.

Today, RDFFLFI is a truly integrated agri-food enterprise that offers commercial livestock production, fresh and processed meat retail operations, as well as restaurant and food delivery service. It operates with over 1,000 employees spread across Central Luzon, Metro Manila, and Calabarzon.

A Digital Boost in Business

As an agribusiness in the digital age, Mr. Lo outlined some of the company’s agritech initiatives. The organization uses “environmental control system” housing – allowing for the optimal growth of livestock. The enclosed facility’s controlled wind flow effectively manages temperature, moisture, and humidity, among others. This innovation, combined with genetics technology, animal husbandry, and nutrition,
has allowed them to grow chickens in just 33 days, as compared to the usual 60-day growth period.

Among its more recent innovations is Robbie’s Deli in a Hurry, a food vending machine in SM City Clark, inspired by similar technology from the Netherlands. Its main feature is to serve up freshly prepared hot meals in just 30 seconds– ideal for people constantly on the go.

RDFFLFI also introduced Meats and Match, an interactive menu ordering system for their restaurants. “We try to upgrade food because we should not shortchange our Filipino consumers,” noted Mr. Lo. “It should be something appetizing, nourishing and, of course, meets international standards.”

For their highly distributed business operations, there was a pressing need for reliable Internet connectivity to support faster communication particularly between their stores and head office. The practice of transferring order, sales, and inventory reports via flash drives was simply too slow and cumbersome.

The choice to turn to PLDT for a solution was driven by the urgency of this need, as RDFFLFI “really needed connectivity that was stable,” noted Process Management Manager Katherine Go. Now, the team can instantly and easily send critical information to management.

Greater Push for Innovation

The mission RDFFLFI gave PLDT ALPHA and Smart was clear – to generate more seamless operations across its diversified stores and offices through various high-performance connectivity solutions (PLDT’s iGate and Smart’s BizPlan, Smart Bro, and Pocket Wi-Fi). “We primarily chose PLDT and Smart because of their extensive network coverage,” said IT Head Phillip Gerona.

Mr. Lo further added by saying, “With solutions from PLDT and Smart, we now have a centralized system in our stores. We can control pilferages, and check our customer service via our CCTV, to know how they treat our customers.” A key improvement for Mr. Gerona is the robust network support provided for their recently upgraded point-of-sale system.

The organization also utilizes PLDT’s direct corporate lines for their free local delivery service. They are also deploying mobile advertising campaigns via Smart Ads, to actively engage the market within their Parañaque branch. Mr. Gerona appreciates the fact that “PLDT is a one-stop-shop. When it comes to our ICT needs, the team is always available to help us.”

With continued technology adoption, the promising agribusiness industry, led by RDFFLFI, should continue to diversify and become more globally competitive. “The success of RDFFLFI is a clear reflection of an agribusiness that has
opened opportunities for the industry and its customers, all with the use of advanced technologies,” remarked FVP and Head of PLDT ALPHA
Jovy Hernandez. “We commend them for their constant drive to improve their overall business and to provide higher quality food options for Filipinos. As their technology partners, we are determined to configure even more innovative
solutions for their growth and future success.”

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