Before and After. That is how business worldwide and especially here in the Philippines now call the two paradigms we have. There was the one before COVID-19 and the one that we are still navigating presently, as the pandemic changes everything from how businesses are run to how customers purchase their goods.
One industry that has been thrust into the very spotlight of this post-COVID19 reality is agriculture and our food chain. Even before COVID-19, the Philippines already had issues with food safety and food security. There were truckloads of overdraft vegetables being disposed and of lopsided systems that lead to recurring poverty among fisherfolk. This already existing problem reached a tipping point with the COVID-19 crisis. An essential, food became all the more scarce, and supplies further groaned at the weight of increased demand and limited movement.
At ORCA Cold Chain Solutions, we already knew that automation would be key to raising the Philippine supply chain standard to world-class levels. We understood early on that automation would provide higher quality, complete hygiene and safety and perfect accuracy. That is why we built the first ever fully automated cold chain facility in the Philippines, and we launched it last February 2020.
This facility, located in Taguig, was awarded Pioneer Status by the Bureau of Investments (BOI) and as we speak, we also in the midst of building another fully automated cold chain facility in Caloocan.
However, we never imagined that with the COVID-19 crisis, that automation would be even more necessary, as together with the rest of the world, we fight a deadly virus. With automation, specifically our ASRS or Automated Storage and Retrieval System, the food items are being handled with minimum up to no human intervention, and that is one way we further ensure our facility and the supplies we harbor are COVID19-free.
This crisis is not just going to create a trend for technology, we are already in the midst of a new normal where businesses will need to partner medium- to long-term with companies like us, as experts in automation and cold chain, to take care of their supply chain and logistics for them.
As food businesses nationwide continue to be challenged, as restaurants remain shuttered or for delivery only, there is an opportunity also to pivot into better supply chain partners and policies that will enable them to weather this storm.
ORCA is also working closely with stakeholders, even with LGUs in key areas, so that we can together find solutions to their needs, if not today but certainly in this new future. In the fight of this generation, we at ORCA continue to work hard, 24/6, to make sure that we serve our partners, in maintaining the freshest food and making sure that the Filipino community remain healthy and strong to overcome this crisis.
Yerik Cosiquien is the President and CEO of ORCA Cold Chain Solutions.