Cisco to digitize the world’s largest non-profit mid-day meal programme

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Cisco has entered into an agreement with Akshaya Patra Foundation to accelerate digitization of their kitchens across seven locations in India. Akshaya Patra Foundation’s nonprofit mid-day meal programme serves wholesome food to over 1.66 million children from 13,958 schools across twelve states in India. Digitization of Akshaya Patra kitchens and key offices will help them realize significant gains in productivity, scalability, and cost-efficiency and accelerate Akshaya Patra’s goal to reach five million children by 2020.


As part of this agreement, Cisco will deploy an enterprise-grade network and collaboration suite connecting their kitchens and their offices by enabling end-to-end IT and process digitization. The upgraded Akshaya Patra network will connect their offices in Bangalore, Gurgaon, and field kitchens across seven locations (two kitchens in Bangalore, one each in Lucknow, Vrindavan, Bellary, Guwahati, and Jigani) on a single network which will enable them to efficiently track their kitchen production, distribution, supply chain and logistics.


Through digitization, Akshaya Patra will have faster and better connectivity in their field offices which is critical to the kitchen’s operational performance, and necessary to support virtual collaboration and knowledge sharing. In addition, Akshaya Patra can now analyze, and operationalize disparate sets of data in near real time helping them to improve the overall speed, security and responsiveness of the programme. This digitization effort is expected to increase Akshaya Patra’s operational efficiency by about 5% in the initial phase, which will help them extend the mid-day meal programme to over 28,500 students every day immediately.


Cisco has been associated with Akshaya Patra since 2007 through their employees giving, volunteering and disaster relief assistance. In the aftermath of the 2015 Chennai floods, Cisco sponsored Akshaya Patra’s first kitchen-on-wheels. The kitchen-on-wheels can run around the clock, with uninterrupted power supply to provide 2,000 meals every two hours when stationed at any site post a disaster. In the aftermath of the recent floods in Gorakhpur, this kitchen generated about 100,000 meals.


“We are excited to work with Cisco to digitize our operations. Small improvements in operational efficiency can have a big impact when you distribute at scale. Currently, most of the data collection and planning is manual; with a rapidly growing network of kitchens, the network platform we are putting in place today will help us in our digitization journey by enabling real-time data collection, streamline kitchen production, distribution and supply chain. All of this will help us in our mission to reach more children,” says Shridhar Venkat, Chief Executive Officer, Akshaya Patra Foundation.


“In India, we focus on positively affecting and engaging with the communities in which we work, live, and play. Using the power of the network to digitally enable nonprofit organizations such as Akshaya Patra is a great example of how technology can help solve the world’s most challenging problems. We are committed to focussing on solutions that can be scaled to benefit millions in underserved communities around the world,” says VC Gopalratnam, SVP-IT and CIO-International, Cisco.

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