Press release Workable work in increasingly digitalized agri-food chains

cartoon of people next to a tractor

How do individual employees of agri-food companies actually deal with digitalization on the shop floor and the digital transformation throughout the chain? ILVO, Flanders' FOOD and Workitects are looking for an answer to this research question in a European-Flemish action research project. Interested agro-food companies can participate in the project as pioneering companies.

Stephanie Van Weyenberg of ILVO: "Technically speaking, we have mastered the digital data sharing between companies in a production chain better and better, and the advantages and opportunities are now known. But do we also succeed in organizing the collaboration in the chain in such a way that the implementation on every workplace goes smoothly and that the employees involved also benefit from it?" This project CHAIN, a European Social Fund (ESF) project, therefore aims to achieve and maintain a good workability balance in the technical process of data sharing and data economy.

Smooth organization of data sharing: is guidance needed?

The world is digitizing, digitalizing, and automating. The agri-food sector, which by nature generates a lot of data, has not missed this digital train. By making optimal use of data and sharing data throughout the chain, both upstream and downstream, processes can be optimized, existing products can be made smarter or new digital services can be developed. The data sharing platform DjustConnect, developed by ILVO, supports various chain partners in this process.

But how do you organize collaboration across companies when sharing data, so that the digital transformation is successful for each partner and also the individual employee feels helped and supported? These are some of the questions ILVO, Flanders' FOOD, Workitects and Alimento asked themselves. In the CHAIN project, Connecting Humans in the Agrifood INdustry, chain partners from the agri-food sector are being guided in their data sharing process and multidisciplinary teams are assembled and supported. "The impact of technological innovations in the workplace is also exposed and a sustainable solution is sought that will be tested out via a guidance process," states Karl Boumans of Flanders' FOOD.

CHAIN chooses two chains as a case

The CHAIN project officially started on November 1, 2021 and will receive financial support from the European Social Fund Flanders (ESF Flanders) for 2 years. Two different agri-food chains will be intensively involved. The final goal of the guidance programs is to help data sharing between companies run smoothly organizationally, to make the digital transformation easy to adopt at each of the companies and to maintain or improve the engagement and workability balance of the individual employees.

Is digital data sharing changing your job?

The basic premise of the project is that digital data sharing and better cooperation between chain partners will ultimately lead to more workable jobs. "For example, operators get the right information or have more impact on the work schedule, which can ensure greater efficiency, but also less work stress and greater commitment," says Lieven Eeckelaert of Workitects.

Call to action: keep an eye on CHAIN or participate yourself

The CHAIN action research project promises useful results: On the basis of the detailed guidance programmes and an extensive feedback loop, an inspiration brochure and script will be produced to make companies enthusiastic about data sharing with appropriate guidance. These handy tools will be usable by all sectors of the agro-food industry.

If you would like more information about this CHAIN project or if you are interested in participating and prioritizing workable work for your employees, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Contact us

Stephanie Van Weyenberg

Data integration and cattle farming technology expert

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