Stir it into your coffee, or add two spoonfuls to your BPO.
A technology-savvy Maharashtra sugar cooperative has decided to add its own sweetener to the country's booming business process outsourcing (BPO) industry with a shared service hub for fellow sugar mills, and aims to chalk out a global market in countries such as Brazil and Australia.
BPO work usually involves office processes such as payroll management and accounting, but often, such work gets intertwined with special details of particular industries, described in the industry as "domain knowledge."
The Warana group, India’s largest co-operative conglomerate with interests in sugar and dairy products, has now set up a BPO unit for the sugar industry, with an eye on using skilled workers to cut costs and boost convenience for others in the industry.
The 1000-seater BPO facility, which is coming up at Warana Nagar in southern Maharasthra's Warana district, will provide call centre services for villagers in the sugarcane growing region and do accounting work for other co-operatives.
Warana will be making a small upfront investment and the technology requirements would be handled by SA Voices, a Mumbai-based IT services company. Some of the existing employees in Warana would be re-skilled and employed in the BPO unit.
Currently, Warana sugar, the flagship co-operative of the Warana group, supplies sugar and sugar-related products to leading food companies like Nestle, Pepsico, Britannia and Parle Products.
“We will create a back-office model for the sugar industry from which many sugar companies in India and abroad can use our services in both technology and processes, which can be used by our internal customers,” said Vinay Kore, the chairman who is heading this initiative. He added that the company will be exploring outsourcing opportunities from places like Brazil and Australia.
“If things go according to plan, the focus on technology to bring in future changes would be a key thrust area,” said an executive who prepared the blueprint for technology adoption.
He adds that the company will use IT to comply with global sugar industry standards in Australia, US and European Union (EU) and increase its exports. According to the International Sugar Organisation, Brazil dominates the world sugar market with a 33 per cent market share, followed by India. In 2002, the Warana undertook a Rs. 2.5 crore IT project as a part of its modernisation programme.
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