Food Corporation of India (FCI)

Food Corporation of India (FCI)
Food Corporation of India (FCI)
FCI is one of the main organizations responsible for execution of food policies of the
Government of India.FCI has a large network of 1841 depots spread across the entire country to
manage the stock of the food grains and out of these, 553 are owned by FCI.
The Government of India has taken an important initiative to implement a Depot Online System
across all the FCI depots (both owned and hired) in the country with a very tight timeline. This
is being closely monitored by PMO directly in order to ensure that the complete implementation
is achieved within the expected timeframe. FCI has appointed PwC as the consultant for this
entire project. This report will serve as the blueprint for the project implementation.

 Goals and Objectives

                                       Vision Statement

       “Transform the food supply chain management through innovative use of
   technology for ensuring transparency, reliability and efficiency for procurement,
                         storage and distribution operations”

FCI has a large network of depots spread across the entire country to manage the stock of food
grains, with the key statistics highlighted in the below snapshot -
Food Corporation of India (FCI)
Owing to its large network of operations and, complexity of interactions with internal and
external stakeholders, FCI has been facing multiple challenges in effective management of depot
level operations and stock. The primary challenges are -
   •   Information support for spot decisions owing to dynamic nature of operations
   •   Shortage of storage during peak season
   •   Uncertainties in railway movement
   •   Calculation of Release Order (RO) balance and reconciliation
   •   Assignment of work to different gangs simultaneously
   •   Timely and accurate data flow from district to depot level and vice-versa
   •   Lack of single source of validated information for depot level data
To be in alignment with the above Vision Statement and overcome current operational
challenges, FCI has taken the initiative to implement Depot Online System with the following
objectives –
   •   Standardization and automation of depot level processes
   •   Efficiency improvement in management of food grains storage and distribution
   •   Enablement of real time monitoring of operations
   •   Timely data reporting
   •   Improvement in end-to-end operational visibility for informed decision making
   •   Effective planning and optimization of administrative work
   •   Effective interfacing with key external stakeholders
This report emphasizes on the important strategic decisions which would be the key to achieving
the above objectives. These decisions include FCI management’s buy in on -
   •   Process reengineering recommendations
   •   Overall IT solution scope and design
   •   Roll out strategy for all depots including non-FCI depot
   •   Implementation timeline
   •   Infrastructure deployment to run the system
   •   Overall project costing

Process Study
The detail processes of depot operation have been documented along with the gaps, variations in
existing processes and also process re-engineering required for addressing these gaps. The
various process areas covered in the report include storage, quality control, procurement,
movement, sales, audit and engineering. The approach undertaken for conducting the process
included site visits, stakeholder discussions, interviews, workshops, document analysis
etc.Various depots located in the states of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Assam
were visited and multiple stakeholder workshops were conducted with officials from FCI
Headquarters, Zonal and Regional Offices and CWC members. Based on their inputs the
comprehensive depot operations process maps have been prepared and Gap analysis has been
undertaken to understand the major operational challenges faced at the depots.
FCI not only wants to design the new IT system to automate its end-to-end depot operations, it
also intends to improve its current processes in order to bring in more transparency, increase
efficiency and capture real time data to support its decision making process. The major gaps
highlighted by the stakeholders reveal that the depot officials do not have stock positions on a
real time basis and the officials at HQ can’t derive meaningful conclusions to make decisions
from the data available to them. Therefore it is required to incorporate the following key process
change – “all manual registers to be made online by capturing data at source and on real time
basis” which will allow cutting down lots of manual effort to record data in registers and, correct
and reconcile them at the day end to generate MIS reports.
Another key business process improvement identified is that the “truck data entry should
happen online at the place of origination” to ease the gate entry process and help reduce the long
queue outside the gate during peak season.
The gaps identified are categorized into four major heads -
   •   Lack of availability of real time data to support decision making
   •   Freeing up of resources
   •   Data inconsistency and duplication
   •   Process bottlenecks
Out of the identified categories, the first three would be addressed by the implementation of
Depot Online System while it has been suggested to address the process bottlenecks through
business process recommendations.

 Envisaged IT Landscape
FCI has already taken up isolated IT initiatives to capture stock data and generate MIS reports.
However there is no integrated IT system to cover end to end process especially considering
much of the operation is done on the field i.e. inside the sheds within a depot. There are also
challenges in terms of the availability of infrastructure at the depot level to run an online system
e.g. unstable internet connectivity etc. Therefore it has been suggested that design of the
proposed system should be based on a combination of centralized and
decentralized architecture using open source technology platform, and mobility
based solution to enable offline working when there is no internet connectivity, as well as
allowing field staff to capture data while using tablets or smart phones which can work locally
even in unconnected mode and later synchronize with the central database.
The To-Be IT Landscape section presents the envisaged Depot Online System taking into
consideration the various shortcomings of the exiting IT application landscape of FCI like
recording of the operational data manually in registers or notes by the field staff and
subsequently entering the same or consolidated data into the systems at day end.
Also, in alignment with the findings from current state assessment and resulting BPR
opportunities for FCI depot operations, the following key focus areas have been identified that
would drive the To-Be IT solution design.

The recommended application stack has been illustrated that includes the functional landscape,
the phasing options for the different modules and the deployment architecture. Additionally the
details of the key solution components like mobility solution, analytics and dashboard,
communication management, document management, workflow management and issue
management have been provided.
FCI currently manages and maintains a set of independent applications for either managing
some of its business processes or capturing data to generate MIS reports. They are -
   •   Procurement Monitoring System (PMS)
   •   IISFM Rapid Reporting Services (IRRS)
   •   District Information System for Food grains Management (DISFM)
   •   Depot Code Management System (DCMS)
   •   Financial Accounting Package (FAP)
   •   Release Order (RO)
The functional landscape describes the internal and external applications that will be integrated
with the To-Be IT solution as well as the existing applications which will be phased out.
The application development is considered to be undertaken in 3 Stages. The essential
functionality of end to end operations of a Depot would be covered in stage 1 before the
start of the rollout. The complete functionality of the application along with any additional
requirements will be delivered incrementally during the rollout and the 1 year warranty period.
It has been proposed to commission the required client side hardware and infrastructure at the
depot level in order to run the new IT system like providing configured Tablet devices to
field staff along with desktops at the gate, depot/district office, within depot LWB
and QC lab in each depot based on their storage capacity. For online data capture by
third parties e.g. Millers/SGAs and LWB operator outside depot, it has been suggested that they
will use their own android based mobile or smart phones to access the mobile application for
Depot Online System. For infrastructure deployment at the non FCI depots, a financial model
has been proposed to recover the hardware cost at a rate of per month per quintal
over a period of 5 years.
It is suggested the depots should be connected to National Optical Fiber Network
(NOFN) in future for stable connectivity, and till then continue with existing mode of using
the broadband or 2G/3G dongle for internet connectivity. However it is understood that there
would be around 100 depots where no connectivity is available at all specially at the remote
areas; setting up of VSAT network has been suggested to connect those depots.

 Implementation Strategy
Details on the Implementation strategy have been provided for rolling out the Depot online
system. Keeping in view the urgency of the initiative and also the recommendation from PMO, a
roll out strategy of six months across all the FCI depots has been considered. This
includes rolling out of the application, training and change management, and infrastructure
For rollout of depot online system a phased wise approach is considered. During Phase 1 a pilot
rollout to 25 FCI Depots (1 depot in each region) would be done. The aim of getting the pilot
done would be to get the application tested and refine the application before we go ahead with
the actual rollout. Post successful piloting the rollout would be done to all FCI and non FCI
depots in phase 2 & 3 respectively. Piloting of application at 75 non-FCI depots would begin
along with the rollout at FCI depots as depicted below:
Piloting at non-FCI depots would be done at depots identified from CWC, SWC as well as private
depots. During the rollout a dedicated team stationed at depot level would be responsible for
ensuring roll out of the depot online system. This would include Application/Hardware
configuration, application testing, conducting adequate trainings to the depot level staff, provide
necessary handholding and ensure end to end implementation at the depot level.
Various training types like Train the Trainers, field level training, and change management
training shall be conducted both before and during the rollout at various levels as per the
training calendar defined in the report. The objective would be to impart the training, as per the
training calendars, to the stakeholders for ensuring successful rollout. Apart from these
trainings a Basic Computer Awareness certification course by an authorized agency for e.g.
NIELIT, C-DAC etc. is also envisaged for the FCI staff, specifically for those who may lack the
basic computer working knowledge.
It has been suggested that the Depot Online System implemented at the non-FCI depots would
cover only the FCI related operations being conducted at the depots. It has also been highlighted
that rolling out at the non FCI depots could pose a challenge for the successful implementation,
especially since they may have to put additional effort to maintain their independent records, in
parallel, to manage their operations outside FCI. In case CWC/SWC also plans for automating
their own depot operations, the current application scope may be expanded to incorporate the
non FCI related depot operations which may have financial implication for this expansion. In
this regard, integration with the existing systems available at non-FCI depots may be
During the implementation & rollout of Depot Online System, several brand building and
awareness activities could be undertaken, which may include organizing an event at HQ level
during the launch of the system, advertising in newspapers, and printing of banners, posters and
reference study material/catalogue etc. to be distributed across various levels of FCI. The
objective of this exercise is to sensitize and create awareness about Depot Online System across
FCI eco system.
To monitor and inspect the quality and effectiveness of the rollout of Depot Online System
across depots provision for a Third Party Auditor (TPA) is considered. The selected agency is
required to undertake physical check/monitoring of the hardware delivered and commissioned
at various levels. Agency will also underkate the audit for software funtioning at depot level.
Various risks during the implementation phase have been identified that would have an impact
on the successful rollout of the Depot Online System. Some of the key risks identified are the
following –
   •   Delay in application development
   •   Lack of buy-in from non FCI stakeholders for implementation
   •   Delay in overall rollout
   •   Lack of common consensus over process standardization drive
For each of the identified risks, the mitigation measures have been captured and documented as
part of this report.
In perspective to FCI Depot Online System, a project governance team has been defined which
will ensure smooth implementation and rollout as well as address the operational challenges in
a timely manner. The various levels of governance envisaged under depot online system are:
   •   Steering Committee
   •   Technical Review Board
   •   Project Execution Committee (at HQ level)
   •   Project Execution Committee (at Zone level)
   •   Project Execution Committee (at Region level)
   •   Project Delivery Committee
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