Empowering Digital Innovation: Asian Agri and Apical Transforming Oil Palm Plantations for a Greener Future

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Marjan Purba, Deputy Head of Digital Transformation at Asian Agri, emphasizes the transformative impact of digitalization on operational practices. Photo by: Palmoilmagazine.com

PALMOILMAGAZINE, JAKARTA – As we navigate the digital age, the oil palm plantation sector is undergoing a profound transformation through the integration of digital technology innovations. This shift represents a fundamental reimagining of traditional practices, with a focus on bolstering operational sustainability across the entire supply chain.

At the forefront of this digital revolution are companies like Asian Agri and Apical, where digitalization is not merely a trend but a strategic imperative. By harnessing the power of digital tools and platforms, these companies are redefining productivity, efficiency, and environmental stewardship in the palm oil industry.

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Asian Agri took its first steps into the digital realm with the introduction of the Asian Agri Connected Plantation program in 2016. Building on this foundation, the subsequent launch of the Asian Agri Connected Mill program in 2019 marked another milestone in the company’s digital journey. These initiatives are not just about embracing technology for the sake of it but about creating tangible value by optimizing business operations, enhancing product quality, boosting productivity, and driving cost competitiveness.

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Marjan Purba, Deputy Head of Digital Transformation at Asian Agri, emphasizes the transformative impact of digitalization on operational practices. According to Purba, the adoption of digital technologies in oil palm plantations is paving the way for improved discipline, integrity, and performance in the field. “This digital transformation is not only about streamlining processes but also about generating more accurate, transparent, and actionable insights that empower informed decision-making,” Purba said at the “Media Breakfasting Asian Agri and Apical” event in Jakarta, Tuesday (19/03) attended by Palmoilmagazine.com.

The embrace of digital innovations in oil palm plantations represents a paradigm shift towards a more sustainable and efficient future. By leveraging digital technologies, companies like Asian Agri and Apical are not only staying ahead of the curve but are also shaping the future of the palm oil industry in Indonesia and beyond.

Apical, as a major player in the midstream processing sector, utilizes technologies such as blockchain, satellite monitoring, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to improve transparency and sustainability in its supply chain. By implementing the A-SIMPLE Implementation Framework 2020, Apical has been able to improve efficiency and reduce risks, including early detection of hot spots and traceability of concession areas.

According to Vanda Kusumaningrum, Corporate Communications Manager of Apical Group, these digital innovations not only strengthen transparency but also increase stakeholder confidence in Apical’s sustainability commitments, so that as mill capacity increases, the fulfillment of a sustainable supply chain can be met.

Satellite monitoring and technology provide an accurate picture of land use, supporting Apical in protecting ecosystems and effectively managing environmental risks. Reinforced by the performance of internal frameworks such as the Sustainable Impact Management System (SIMS) and A-SIMPLE framework provides the ability to comprehensively measure and monitor sustainability, enabling target setting and continuous improvement.

Edi Tjeng, Apical Group’s Head of Sourcing, added that for the Sourcing department, technology enables it to find superior suppliers as it shortens the verification chain in Apical’s supply chain, making the verification process easier, which is crucial to trace the origin of products.

Apical plays a vital role in ESG implementation, fighting deforestation, which is also in line with Apical2030 sustainability commitments. By 2023, Apical will have improved supply chain integrity through 439 suppliers.

Digital innovation at Asian Agri and Apical is key in driving supply chain sustainability from upstream to downstream, affirming commitment to responsible environmental, social and governance practices, with traceability as a key pillar in supply chain sustainability.

The impact of this digital innovation is significant, such as: (1) Increased Transparency, which enables traceability technologies to strengthen supply chain visibility, supporting access to information on sourcing and production practices. (2) Proactive Environmental Management, enabling rapid response to environmental issues, such as deforestation, and supporting environmental risk management. (3) Data-Driven Decision Making: Utilization of big data for analysis and reporting sharpens strategic and operational decision-making, (4) Compliance and Sustainability: Technology supports compliance with sustainability and regulatory standards, strengthening compliance and corporate reputation. (T2)

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