The food industry has been witnessing the lack of quality assessment processes for better accountability and better quality control. The reason contributing towards this lack of quality assessment is that food organizations consistently face labor shortages—regardless of the crises. This also proves that the food industry lacks the support of labor and involvement of technology equally. Subsequently, the food industry has been looking for ways to mitigate this risk by increasing the manual workforce and involvement of automation in the process for better accountability and better quality control. Food organizations are witnessing growing demand for sustainable alternatives.
Intending to meet this demand with a partial workforce and lack of technology advancements will compromise the quality assessments and as a result, fail to meet the consumer demands. Acknowledging all these factors, Miku Jha established AgShift, a platform that has provided a solution for food organizations dealing with quality assessment concerns. AgShift is one of the early inventors of automating the quality assessment procedure by integrating AI in the industry.
While the industry was slow in the adoption of AI, Miku saw the opportunity to revolutionize the food quality assessment process through AI. “For quality processes, AI is a natural progression. Agricultural products are, by nature, dynamic, with differences within each crop season,” she explained. These reasons contributed to developing an AI solution like Hydra that can learn and adapt to these dynamic characteristics in real-time.
Hydra-Highly Skilled Inspector
Hydra is a one-stop unique solution that can assist in maximizing employee resources. Leaving the quality assessment in the hands of an AI system than a quality inspector allows organizations to free up and cultivate that employee’s talents to maximize their workplace environment. “We do that by allowing them to manage a QC process, not be the QC process,” asserts Miku.
For instance, when a strawberry shipment leaves the farm and reaches the processing facility of as shipper, packer, or distributor, the typical inspection process is to manually inspect a sample selected randomly, which involves trained inspectors looking for visual defects or patterns to assess the quality and grade of that entire shipment. This process is error prone as a hundred berries in a sample decide the quality of an entire shipment.
Likewise, the skill set of the inspector and the task being extremely repetitive also contribute to making this task a highly subjective and error-prone task. “This leads to inconsistencies in the quality process, which is not good for anyone in the supply chain,” says Miku. A flawed shipment will inevitably lead to loss of profit margins for business and food waste.
With the integration of Hydra in the ecosystem, these tedious and repetitive tasks can help organizations maximize their employee resources. Each Hydra acts like a highly skilled quality inspector. Being an AI intelligent program, it can do inspections 15 times faster, inspect more samples, it can adapt dynamically to business metrics, buying or selling conditions, and generate a full digital report for improved claim management and traceability. Miku adds, “One skilled inspector or operator can now manage the inspection process across multiple hydras, increasing the overall operational efficiencies and profit margins.”
Disruptors of Food Industry
Currently, AgShift is the leading AI automation platform for food quality assessment that enables better, faster, and objective quality assessment at scale compared to current manual processes. Likewise, it is also improving the operational efficiencies of the food supply chain and significantly reducing food waste across the supply chain.
AgShift has successfully placed it on the map of disruptors of the food industry. Miku believes, the key differentiators that have contributed towards this success are its key offerings:
- Unique business value: AgShift is the world’s first “quality-management-system-in-a-box” solution for industrial automation of quality assessment. Likewise, it is the only turn-key solution for food supply chain organization that can dynamically configure the quality acceptance criteria as per the business metric.
- Unique AI technology: AgShift’s AI tech is highly scalable, requires low investment and is built on a proprietary Auto-ML framework. Also, the customers can annotate their data at low investment, and depending on this data the model keeps improving through an auto-feedback loop. Besides, the solution can support all commodities for all types of visual defects.
- Unique data repository: Food organizations lack an existing repository for quality data. Likewise, there are no other open-source data or standardization that exists in the industry as it applies to food quality data. This makes AgShift the only organization to have clean, curated, annotated data sets across several high values, high margin commodities.
The person behind the Curtain
AgShift was established to close the technology gap in the food sector and leverage its resources to minimize food waste. Miku belongs to a smaller farm holder family from India. This gave her an understanding of the alarming issues of food insecurity. Reducing food waste was the most feasible solution to deal with food insecurity. The company was incepted in 2016 and today ranks amongst the leading revolutionaries in the food industry.
AgShift remarkably steered the challenges of the pandemic. Miku also highlighted the efforts of the VP of Engineering, Mr. Girindra Sharma, who was instrumental in assisting the team at AgShift through the extremely difficult year of 2020. Expressing her gratitude, Miku asserts, “Under his inspiring leadership we have delivered one of the most innovative solutions in food grading and automation and have managed to deliver on the product expectations for our early customers.”
Prepared for the Future
Despite the advent of digitalization, industries failed to adapt to the unprecedented virtual shift. However, this crisis managed to highlight the urgency of automation and digitalization. This also stands true for the food industry. The organizations in the food supply chain have now developed an understanding of the need to automate the traditional manual, tedious and error-prone tasks. As a result, the key stakeholders are actively looking for ways to invest in technologies and be better prepared for the future.
“The crisis has created a sense of urgency across our customer base to invest in technology and automation to be better prepared for the future. It has shortened the adoption curve for our solutions,” said Miku. Anticipating the increased adoption of AgShift’s solutions, Miku and her team are working on expanding the automation services to other high-value commodities.
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