At a Glance
- Saved $US200,000 a year in travel costs
- Achieved 200% ROI in less than 6 months
- Streamlined business operations
- Enhanced productivity
- Improved Green IT and environmental sustainability
Farm Co-op Meets Green IT Target, Reduces Carbon Footprint While Saving Thousands in Costs
Video conferencing brings profitable collaboration to India’s farm fertilizer cooperative of 40,000 outlets.
IFFCO is a leading player in the fertiliser industry in India and works closely with the Indian Government to increase foodgrain production in the country, utilising 40,000 cooperative outlets and 158 Farmers Service Centres in 29 states for the distribution of its products.
With a staff base of over 6,700 spread across five mega plants, 80 marketing offices, and the company’s Corporate Headquarters, effective communication and collaboration is a vital part of how IFFCO conducts its business, particularly for the efficient management of employee relations and the execution of vital HR functions, such as the company’s annual employee appraisals process. In the past, over 1,000 employees travelled to the company’s Corporate Headquarters in New Delhi each year for their appraisals, which resulted in lost productivity and substantial travel and downtime costs. Looking for a way to streamline operations and with an overall goal to implement Green IT practices and reduce the impact to the environment, IFFCO turned to Polycom’s high-definition video and telepresence solutions.
Enhancing Operational Efficiency and Streamlining HR Processes
Realising the value and benefits that a high-definition video conferencing system can offer, IFFCO’s IT team deployed Polycom HDX 7000 and Polycom HDX 9000 room telepresence systems across its five plants and Corporate Headquarters to aid in decision making and improve workflow efficiencies, whilst reducing carbon emissions.
Prior to the deployment, each year members from the Department Promotion Committee (DPC) at IFFCO’s Headquarters would review hundreds of performances as part its annual appraisals process, resulting in employees travelling to New Delhi to be reviewed. With offices spread across India’s vast terrain, this often resulted in days, and in some cases, weeks of lost travel. Today, Polycom’s solutions enable the members of the DPC to conduct appraisals over video and as a result, the company has been able to reduce travel costs and downtime substantially, in addition to improving the overall operations of the business and enhancing productivity. By being able to communicate in high-definition quality, face-to-face, without having to leave the office, employees have also been able to reduce fatigue, anxiety and stress levels that are often associated with business travel. According to Mahesh Chandra Srivastava, Systems Manager for IFFCO, the company has also achieved savings of over $US 200,000 in travel and lodging costs in six short months, equating to a 200 percent return on investment year-on-year. “The ROI has been phenomenal,” said Srivastava.
The Polycom system is now used in other areas of the company for strategic meetings among leaders, deliberations of plant officials with Corporate Headquarters, reviews of production targets, crisis communications and regular business meetings and training sessions, broadcasting live audio and video messages to all plants, in addition to hosting small press conferences with media over video.
The adoption of Green IT has also resulted in a substantial reduction in carbon footprints as well as energy conservation. The new and improved Green IT practices complement IFFCO’s overarching ‘Green Philosophy,’ which includes a vision of green buildings, wind mills for power, solar panel for street lighting and water harvesting. IFFCO believes such environmentally sustainable corporate practices will be key to the country’s future and longevity.
The Polycom Advantage
According to Anil Kumar Gupta, Dy General Manager, Systems at IFFCO, the decision to deploy Polycom’s solutions was an easy one: “Polycom has a clear market leadership position and an exceptional reputation for delivering high-quality, easy-to-use products and solutions. That, coupled with Polycom’s robust after sales service and value for money in delivering the lowest total cost of ownership and best return on investment, made Polycom an obvious choice,” he said.
The deployment of the Polycom solution has, as Gupta puts it, “for the first time added to the image of the IT team and its inputs are seen as yielding visible gains for the company.”
IFFCO has also benefited from the expertise of Polycom’s Professional Services team: “We have had tremendous support from Polycom Professional Services, particularly when training staff on video best-practices and providing recommendations for the deployment. They have been fantastic,” said Gupta.
Benefits to the Fertiliser Industry
Not only has IFFCO realised significant benefits from the video system, but it believes the industry too will see far reaching benefits. “The fertiliser industry requires extensive marketing to and a strong sales networking system in place. Speedy decision making is critical, as well as being able to effectively track product demand and stock positions. Real-time connectivity using video conferencing will better enable this process and help us to achieve efficiency in tracking sales, stock as well as deliveries, which will in turn, impact positively on the industry,” said Gupta.
Furthermore, companies in the same field will be able to train extension workers remotely as well as accelerate efforts in the marketing and sales field force, and contribute in a positive way to environmental initiatives.
Given the wide appreciation of the video conferencing system, IFFCO plans to deploy 80 additional units in years to come across its 80 marketing offices around the country, and will continue to promote green IT initiatives and contribute positively to the long-term sustainability of the industry.