The app is aimed at making it easier for managers at the main office to access field data quickly and at any time. Source: Shutterstock

How this company is digitizing Malaysia’s palm oil industry

A MALAYSIAN company has launched a new application to help oil palm planters streamline work processes on their plantations.

LintraMax (M) Sdn. Bhd., a provider of digital plantation management solutions recently launched QuartoConnect, which runs on mobile devices and functions as a tool for planters to digitally record data of activities on the field and have them stored in a cloud-based system.

The app is aimed at making it easier for managers at the main office to access field data quickly and at any time. Moreover, with QuartoConnect planters no longer need to rely on paper-based log books or other manual methods. QuartoConnect is now available for oil palm plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Among key features of QuartoConnect are:

Worker Attendance: QuartoConnect is integrated with a biometric device to read fingerprints. This allows workers’ attendance to be recorded and verified quickly.

Crop Harvesting: Recording of crop production with GPS location tagging improves traceability and enhances crop quality monitoring.

Crop Evacuation: Monitors crop evacuation efficiency to improve crop freshness and reduce crop backlogs and losses. An important factor affecting oil extraction rate (OER).

Khor Kheng Khoon, founder and managing director of LintraMax said, “LintraMax’s goal is to digitize agricultural practices.”

In 2016, the company launched Quarto, the main software for the cloud-based system, which served as a catalyst for customers to embrace digital solutions for their plantations. With QuartoConnect, users would be able to access Quarto with their mobile devices.

With QuartoConnect, users can record data even when the application is offline in plantation areas where there is no Internet connection. Source: Lintramax

“We saw that there was still an information gap between field operations and monitoring, and that is why we have come up with QuartoConnect,” he said in a statement to Tech Wire Asia recently.

“This is our approach to extend the digitization of plantations to include work at the field level as well, not just at the main office.”

With QuartoConnect, users can record data even when the application is offline in plantation areas where there is no Internet connection. Once it is connected to the internet, all data will be uploaded to its cloud-based central system.

For plantation companies, having proper recording of data on the field is crucial for their business.

“In many cases, planters are still stuck with using conventional methods including paper-based log books. Not only are these not easy to manage but they also make reporting of field data to main office a long process,

“We have also discovered that lack of workers, poor crop harvesting quality, and crop losses are among the biggest operation challenges faced by many planters. So, digitization of these processes helps improve traceability and monitoring of field operations, which can reduce the impacts of these challenges,” Khor explained.

Market and industry trends

1. Why did you choose the palm oil plantation sector for your digitization efforts even though its products are faced with dipping commodity prices and an impending ban from the European Union?

Khor: The palm oil industry is the fourth largest contributor to Malaysia’s gross national income, accounting for about 8 percent or equivalent to RM50 billion (US$12.5 billion). There are more than 600,000 smallholders whom their livelihood depends on oil palm cultivation. Palm oil industry has been a pillar of country’s social and economic development for decades, especially rural societies. LintraMax’s mission is to help smallholders and plantation organisations to enhance their productivity and efficiency through enabling technologies. The agriculture sector is an underserved industry that’s ripe for creative disruption.

Like other commodities in the world market, palm oil is subject to cyclical pricing environment. This doesn’t mean the market is shrinking. On the opposite, the global demand for palm oil is growing from US$65.73 billion to US$92.84 billion in 2021 at the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2 percent.

On the note of EU tariff and non-tariff barrier, WTO has ruled against EU’s anti-dumping duties in January 2018. On a separate note, Malaysia exports little if any bio-diesel at all.

2. What is the minimum requirement in terms of phone specs to install the app? Will the potential users with older phone models be able to use it easily?

Khor: QuartoConnect is one of the mobile components of LintraMax’s solution platform. It runs on Android devices. For biometric and infra-red scanner functions it requires the necessary hardware components on the device. We recommend industrial design based hardware for optimal usage potential.

3. How is the reception of the app among industry players so far? 

Khor: The clients who use LintraMax solutions as their operating platform as QuartoConnect have given us good feedback on the app which helps bridge the gap between field and back-office operations. A number of major clients have already adopted QuartoConnect.