CAPITALISING on the largely untapped tech-savvy agriculture industry,MSC-status iTech Worldwide Sdn Bhd is pushing its newly-launched eFlexPlantware, a plantation management business solution, to the local marketand Indonesia, before venturing into other countries like Vietnam.
These markets offer vast opportunities to solution providers like iTech,as many plantation companies with large estate areas still lag behind inthe revolution of information and communications technology (ICT).
In fact, Malaysia alone has about 3.5 million hectares of palm oil plantedarea, and approximately 3.1 million hectares in Indonesia. Moreover, theEconomic Report 2002/2003 states that the palm oil sub-sector remains amajor contributor to the local agriculture sector with a share of 33.5 percent, while crude palm oil prices stay relatively firm in the globalmarket.
The homegrown eFlex Plantware, developed by the wholly-owned subsidiary ofKLSE Main Board-listed TH Group Berhad, aims to improve cost efficiencyand productivity among plantation companies of all kinds of crops, notjust palm oil.
According to Dennis Cheng, iTech’s business development vice president,the configurable solution allows users to keep track of their variousestates spread out geographically, allowing real-time updates to bemonitored via intranet and the Internet.
Developed on the latest Microsoft Visual Studio .Net, the Web-basedsoftware adopts component-based business logic that meets changingbusiness needs, a key criteria in the ever-changing plantation businesswhere crop prices are dependent on seasons and the international market.
The software incorporates Crystal Report and Analysis tool for managementreporting and analysis. In addition, it has export facilities that readilyallows it to be integrated into any back-end financial applications withminor customisations.
Users who are onsite can even use handheld computers running on Pocket PCand Palm operating systems to capture crop-related data to be fed into thesystem almost instantly through a wireless network.
Other key features include multi-lingual support (English, Malay,Indonesian and Chinese); multi-semantic support for users to define theirown familiar business and operational terms established over the years;single logon; criteria-driven reports; inter-estate billing; andauto-reconciliation between general ledger journals and stocktransactions.At Press time, iTech has yet to finalise the cost of the solution.
Instead, the company, which has invested about RM500,000 on research anddevelopment for the product, is targeting to recoup its investment in oneto two years’ time.
Looking ahead, iTech is planning to introduce similar solutions to otherindustries like timber and construction.