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Establish strategies to generate engagement in the context of the digital shift in the bio-food industry

Establish strategies to generate engagement in the context of the digital shift in the bio-food industry

With the launch of its "Offensive de transformation numérique", Quebec is aiming to establish itself worldwide as a pioneer in eco-responsible digital technologies and artificial intelligence. This initiative aims to accelerate the digital shift and improve business competitiveness by providing financial support for targeted collaborative projects. Not to be outdone, the bio-food sector has already embarked on a profound transformation thanks to the rise of digital technologies and robotics. This change is taking place in both the agricultural and food processing sectors, where more and more companies are investing in robots and the integration of artificial intelligence. Indeed, significant advances are being made in digital farming and agricultural robotization. Since the appearance of the Oz robot in Quebec in January 2019, robotized weeding of vegetable crops has been a new strategy for weed control. The company Les Serres point du jour in L'Assomption, which grows different varieties of tomato hydroponically in Lanaudière, uses sensors to autonomously operate fertilizer distribution, watering or heating. Montreal-based Les aliments Rustica, which specializes in the production of frozen Italian pizzas, has invested in the automation and robotization of certain jobs to better cope with the shortage of "floor" workers. A study carried out by food giant Nestlé showed that the use of artificial intelligence for supply chain planning and optimization reduced costs by 10% and delivery time by 15% on average.

With the promise of productivity gains and a more secure supply chain, leaders in the bio-food sector have every interest in successfully implementing their digital and artificial intelligence projects. Ultimately, these changes will help them to overcome the challenges of labor shortages and facilitate the development of more sustainable, eco-responsible processes.

However, to make a success of these changes, the industry must adopt a collaborative and inclusive approach. The company's management cannot be the only one involved in the changes affecting systems and processes, or management and production methods aimed at bringing about a major digitization of a plant. The involvement, commitment and mobilization of all employees will be key, especially as many will be affected by these changes. That said, according to the report of the survey on sustainable development, ecoresponsible practices and clean technologies conducted in 2021 by the Institut de la statistique du Québec, only 20% of companies involved in a sustainable development approach claimed to have consulted stakeholders.

Having a strategic vision based on innovation is another crucial element in the success of a 4.0 shift or the adoption of eco-responsible practices. When this vision is supported by the management team and widely adopted by all employees, companies are generally very successful. This evolution is usually accompanied by a transformation in leadership and management style.

NATIONAL's experts can help you meet this challenge by developing an effective strategy to establish the desired behaviors and achieve the desired commitment so that your employees embrace change and become your organization's best ambassadors. We help you develop strategies to harness the capacity for innovation and implement change, to communicate effectively with office and "floor" employees, as well as strategies to support internal initiatives. We help you activate communication campaigns to stay connected with employees.

——— Jacinthe Côté is a former Senior Director and Leader, Food Sector at NATIONAL Public Relations


Written by Jacinthe Côté

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