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Cisco inks pact with Akshaya Patra Foundation for kitchen digitisation
Friday, 13 October, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Bengaluru
In a major corporate social responsibility initiative, information technology major Cisco has inked a pact with Akshaya Patra Foundation to digitise the kitchens of the the foundation, which is the world’s largest non-profit mid-day meal programme, across seven locations in India.

The mid-day meal programme serves wholesome food to over 1.66 million children from 13,958 schools across 12 states in the country. The project, which has taken off, is scheduled for implementation by the year-end and will be in full throttle mode in early 2018.

“This is the world’s largest kitchen digitisation programme. Small improvements in operational efficiency can have a big impact when you distribute at scale. Currently, most of the data collection and planning is manual,” said Shridhar Venkat, chief executive officer, Akshaya Patra Foundation, at a press conclave in Bengaluru.

“With a rapidly-growing network of kitchens, the platform we are putting in place will help us in our digitisation journey by enabling real-time data collection and streamlining kitchen production, distribution and supply chain. All of this will help us in our mission to reach more children,” he added.

“The digitisation of Akshaya Patra kitchens and its two sales and offices will help realise significant gains in productivity, scalability and cost-efficiency and accelerate the Foundation’s  goal to reach five million children by 2020 from the current 1.6 million,” he added.

As part of this agreement, Cisco will deploy an enterprise-grade network and collaboration suite connecting their kitchens and their offices by enabling end-to-end information technology and process digitisation.

The upgraded Akshaya Patra network will connect their offices in Bengaluru and Gurugram and field kitchens across seven locations (of which two are in Bengaluru and one each is in Lucknow, Vrindavan, Bellary, Guwahati and Jigani). These will be on a single network which will enable them to efficiently track their kitchen production, distribution, supply chain and logistics.

“Through digitisation, Akshaya Patra will be able to have faster connectivity, virtual collaboration and knowledge-sharing,” said V C Gopalratnam, senior vice-president, information technology and chief information officer-international, Cisco.

“The Foundation will be able to analyse, improve the overall speed, security and responsiveness,” he added.

“In fact, it is expected to increase Akshaya Patra’s operational efficiency by about five per cent in the initial phase, which will help them extend the mid-day meal programme to over 28,500 students everyday immediately,” said Gopalratnam.

“Using the power of the network, we are committed to focusing on solutions that can be scaled to benefit millions in underserved communities around the world,” he added.

Cisco has been associated with Akshaya Patra since 2007 through employee giving, volunteering and disaster relief assistance.

During the 2015 Chennai floods, Cisco sponsored Akshaya Patra’s first kitchen-on-wheels to run around the clock, with uninterrupted power supply to provide 2,000 meals every two hours when stationed at any site following a disaster.

In the aftermath of the recent floods in Gorakhpur, this kitchen generated about 1,00,000 meals.

“Technology connects people in meaningful ways and has the power to create new opportunities and boost economic growth and well-being,” said Tae Yoo, senior vice-president, corporate affairs, Cisco.

“For the past 20 years, we have applied our technology and expertise to accelerate global problem-solving,” she added.
 
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