Akshaya Patra banks on digitization to run its mid-day meal prog more cost-effectively

|October 12, 2017 0
Akshaya Patra

BANGALORE, INDIA: Akshaya Patra Foundation, the nonprofit organization which is working towards bringing more children to school and serving them with wholesome food now looks to digitize its operations to run in more efficient and cost-effective manner.

Akshaya Patra Foundation implements the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in government schools and government-aided schools and feeds over 1.66 million children from 13,958 schools across 12 states in India.

“Digitization of our kitchens and operations will help us realize significant gains in productivity, scalability, and cost-efficiency and accelerate our goal to reach 5 Million children by 2020,” said Shridhar Venkat, Chief Executive Officer, The Akshaya Patra Foundation.

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Currently apart from the ERP, most of the work is manual in Akshaya Patra. Through digitization, Akshaya Patra will have faster and better connectivity in their offices and will make the collaboration better between their field executives, kitchens, and distribution network- which is critical to the kitchen’s operational performance. In addition, Akshaya Patra will be able to analyze, and operationalize disparate sets of data in near real-time helping them to improve the overall speed, security and responsiveness of the programme.

The networking major, Cisco said that the company will be working with Akshaya Patra Foundation to accelerate the digitization process of their kitchens, as part of its global CSR efforts.

“Technology connects people in meaningful ways and has the power to create new opportunities and boost economic growth and well-being,” said Tae Yoo, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Cisco.

Cisco will deploy a robust enterprise-grade network including improved wireless access and collaboration suite to connect their kitchens and offices.

The upgraded Akshaya Patra network will connect their two offices in Bangalore, Gurgaon, and field kitchens across seven locations (two kitchens in Bangalore, one each in Lucknow, Vrindavan, Bellary, Guwahati, and Jigani) on a single network which will enable them to efficiently track their kitchen production, distribution, supply chain and logistics.  Each of the kitchen serves an average of 250-300 children.

“This digitization effort is expected to increase Akshaya Patra’s operational efficiency by about 5 percent in the initial phase, which will help them extend the mid-day meal program to over 28,500 students everyday immediately and also result in a cost savings of approximate Rs 5.75 lakhs,” said  VC Gopalratnam, SVP-IT and CIO-International, Cisco.

“We always strive to reduce our overheads. If you save even 1 paisa on your cost, you can serve to an additional 3,000 children,” said Venkat.

“Small improvements in operational efficiency can have a big impact when you distribute at scale. Currently most of the data collection and planning is manual; with a rapidly growing network of kitchens, the network platform we are putting in place today will help us in our digitization journey by enabling real-time data collection, streamline kitchen production, distribution and supply chain. All of this will help us in our mission to reach more children,” said he.

Cisco has been associated with Akshaya Patra since 2007 through employee giving, volunteering and disaster relief assistance. In the aftermath of the 2015 Chennai floods, Cisco sponsored Akshaya Patra’s first kitchen-on-wheels. The kitchen-on-wheels can run around the clock, with un-interrupted power supply to provide 2000 meals every two hours when stationed at any site post a disaster. In the aftermath of the recent floods in Gorakhpur, this kitchen generated about 100,000 meals.

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