The Uber of pig production

Technological advancements on swine farms must move bottom line.

August 11, 2021

3 Min Read
Pig Farm.jpg

In a recent webinar hosted by Swine IT, moderator Dr. Clayton Johnson made a statement that stuck with me. "Every system needs a smart barn pilot," he said. The comment was so fitting for the conference. Each presenter demonstrated the incredible level of intellect and opportunity that cast a vision for what's to come in pig production. It also brought to light the differing approaches and strategies around what creates value. The menu of options requires some foray into piloting smart barn technology. 

There is still ambiguity about the future of technology in pig production. However, companies like Uber started simply, and by 2015, the valuation of the company was $70 billion. Uber disrupted the taxi industry.

In agriculture, the one to watch is Barn2Door. They have disrupted the supply chain by connecting the consumer to the market gardener and artisan protein producer. The resurgence of the small farm is happening. We don't know what we don't know yet. Still, with a high degree of certainty, some things will happen that will fundamentally change our industry forever. Pig Revolution 5.0 allows us a glimpse of what's to come. 

As we move from concept to implementation, here are four mindsets for investing in a smart barn pilot:

  1. Faith in the outcome- Very few technologies offered today are mature enough to provide value propositions that are empirically proven. We collectively are in front of the chasm of innovation. There is already a hint of future value illustrated by the investment and time pouring into this space. That is coming from organizations that are both internal and external to our industry. A friend once told me to "watch their legs, not their lips." In other words, actions speak louder than words.

  2. Allocation of time-  The tyranny of the urgent stifles creativity. Time budgeted to understanding how technology fits into the research and development roadmap is necessary to embrace a pilot for the system. Many companies offering solutions are willing to share the investment of time through installation, connectivity, data analysis and training. 

  3. Convergence of competition- This primarily refers to competing technologies and the ability to participate together in mutual customer pilots. This has become a regular occurrence outside of agriculture. The convergence of competition to bring intended value to the customer is the higher purpose that requires mutual trust by the system and the vendor partners.

  4. Investment- The allocation of resources to define and refine the outcome must be considered. In the book The Innovators Dilemma, author Clayton Christensen talks about how innovation is so hard to blossom in successful organizations due to the daily pressures of running the business. The technical skills around the technology will often require expertise from outside the pig production system. The development of partnerships to inject innovation into the business will be necessary for implementation. This will take resources.

Margin is the end game in all this digital transformation talk. At the end of the day, all of this technology must move the bottom line. Dr. Johnson was right in his statement. The only way to understand the value of technology is to invest time and resources to "live" it in your system as a guide to help you in the journey to digital transformation.

Summit SmartFarms is devoted to creating irresistible places to work in agriculture by simplifying the complex by equipping people to optimize performance through technology. If you would like to learn more about how Summit SmartFarms can help your organization, you can email Jon Hoek

Source: Jon Hoek, Summit SmartFarms, who are solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly own the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.


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