In the raw fruit and vegetable processing industry, the journey toward digital transformation is picking up speed. From our recent conversations with processors, it’s clear that industry professionals, specifically in agriculture operations, are eager to move away from traditional operational methods toward more integrated digital solutions.

What exactly is digital transformation? 

Digital transformation involves the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how it operates and delivers value to customers. For raw fruit and vegetable processors, this transformation is crucial as it enhances efficiency, ensures better product quality, and provides real-time data insights, enabling them to stay competitive and responsive in a rapidly evolving market. 

Here’s what fruit and vegetable processors are thinking about as they aim to boost efficiency and precision in crop processing. 

Moving Beyond Spreadsheets 

One key concern for processors is their dependence on spreadsheets to manage critical data. They’re at the point where they need a unified system that can serve as a reliable source of truth. This shift not only streamlines operations but also cuts down on the errors and inefficiencies that come with manual spreadsheet management. 

Real-Time Field & Crop Management 

Real-time management of crop progress and harvesting schedules is crucial for raw fruit and vegetable processing. Technologies that utilize publicly available data—such as weather data, growing degree days/heat units, and a variety’s published days to harvest from the seed manufacturer—along with field-specific information—like plant populations, fertilizer and chemical applications, as-applied maps, scouting observations, and weather or pest anomalies that affect final yield—are particularly in demand. 

Deeper Integrations & Compatibility 

Processors are increasingly seeking deeper integrations and compatibility with third-party systems to create a more cohesive and efficient operational environment. This trend towards an integrated ecosystem is driven by the need to connect various aspects of the processing workflow and data, from field management to warehouse operations. By integrating Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, field and crop management tools, mapping applications, warehouse management, data warehouses, and agronomy management solutions, processors can achieve a unified platform that streamlines operations and improves decision-making. 

At ExtendAg, we’ve successfully completed hundreds of integrations with third-party solutions for processors, supporting the industry’s push for a more connected approach to processing operations. One of our large processor customers shared with us that last year’s harvest was seamless thanks to our solution. Improved operational efficiency resulting in a seamless harvest is one of the many benefits of embracing digital transformation for processors, it also places them at the cutting edge of agricultural innovation. 

Expectations for Innovation 

Looking forward, processors expect a clear and actionable roadmap from their technology partners. They want assurances of ongoing investment in product development and innovation, which is crucial for maintaining performance, reliability, and security. Embracing cloud-based solutions is vital today, offering significant benefits such as cost savings through reduced infrastructure expenses, enhanced collaboration and productivity with accessible data, and robust security measures to protect sensitive information. Additionally, the scalability and flexibility of cloud solutions allow processors to adapt quickly to market changes, driving continual improvement and innovation in their operations. 

Paving the Way for a Digital Future 

As the raw fruit and vegetable processing industry continues to embrace digital transformation, the future looks promising with enhanced efficiency, precision, and connectivity at the forefront. Processors are clearly ready to move beyond traditional methods, integrating advanced technologies that offer real-time insights and seamless operations. By adopting unified systems and leveraging deeper integrations, they will be positioned to streamline their workflows, reduce errors, and make data-driven decisions.  

At ExtendAg, we’re dedicated to continuing to support this digital shift. We help processors navigate their digital transformation journeys with a connected, cloud-based solution for sourcing, management and visibility of raw ingredients from the farm to the processing plant that has been trusted by leading food processors for over 45 years. 

We not only ensure continuous innovation, robust performance and security and cost savings over in-house solutions, we also empower processors to stay agile and responsive to the market, setting the stage for a more efficient and resilient agriculture industry. 

Discover how ExtendAg can support your organization’s digital transformation and ensure a seamless harvest. Book a consultation today.