The main objective was to provide complete transparency to all the interactions between the sugarcane farmers and the sugar mills. This sharing of information was to lead to considerable financial gains to both the sugarcane growers and sugar mills. The growers would gain from higher supply to sugar mills, greater area under sugarcane, higher weight of supply and freedom from wasteful travel to sugar mills. On the other hand the sugar mills would benefit from better relationship with growers, higher sugar recovery from fresh sugarcane, better capacity utilization and savings in data entry.
The strategy adopted was to be such that the objectives were clearly understood, commitment was unwavering and implementation was perfect. The human side of the project was as important as the technological aspect. Accordingly stake holder consultation, training, regular review, audit, setting of standards of performance and social audit were the pillars of implementation :
(i) Stake holder consultation : The three stake holder viz the cane grower through the cooperatives, the sugar mills and the officials were consulted right from the beginning. There was unanimity on the problem identification and their solutions. It was ensured that all the stake holders benefit from the SIS.
(ii) Decentralization : Each sugar mill was designated as an independent delivery centre. Thus the huge task was divided into smaller integral parts making it into a problem confined to a small geographical area. All the stake holders could easily contribute to the solution.
(iii) Training of farmers : The farmers were trained on the use of SIS by the grower cooperatives. According to their literacy levels, the farmers could use the website, the SMS system or the IVRS. Leaflets and posters were also distributed.
(iv) Setting of standards : To ensure that quality of information is uniformly high, standards of performance were set for website, SMS system, IVRS and HHC.
(v) Training of IT personnel : To communicate the desired performance levels, the IT personnel of sugar mills were given training at the office of sugarcane commissioner.
(vi) Launch of model website for sugar mill : The sugarcane commissioner’s office launched a model website for the guidance of sugar mills. This contained the standards of performance of each sub-system which each factory could access. This mode of communication led to better performance.
(vii) Performance review : The performance review of each sugar mill was carried out by the office of sugarcane commissioner. The farmers and sugar mills were called for monthly review. Each problem was identified and it was hosted on the website. In the following month, the review included the solution of previously identified problem. The regular monitoring ensured that all the components of SIS were complying with the standards.
(viii) Service Level Agreements (SLA) : Many of the activities were outsourced by the sugar mills. The venders were to sign a SLA with the sugar mills to ensure adherence to standards. Below par performance attracted penalty provisions of the SLA.