Page 34 - Food & Drink March 2020
P. 34

Giving a market byte
With more complex commercial ecosystems, the ways businesses supply produce need to be digitally enabled. George Stancu and Vidhya Thangarajan from PwC’s Tech Consulting practice
share their insights.
ABOVE: Selling a tomato might not be that complicated, but the logistics of doing so at scale is drawing the fruit and vegetable sector into the digital world.
A wholesale fresh produce market may not be the first place you’d expect to find a digital experience. The seemingly endless rows of fresh seasonal fruits, green vegetables and cut flowers feel a world away from the digital transformation that so many businesses are grappling with. And yet increasingly, the food we eat is being drawn into digital ecosystems – from how it is grown to how it is transported, traded and, crucially, trusted.
Although markets have long and varied histories, the way that many of them do business has not adapted with time. Selling fruit and vegetables is not a complicated process, but the logistics of doing so in a modern era, and at a scale that will allow for a growing and sprawling population, is becoming so.
For the Melbourne Market, this meant it was time to digitise its operations. With a warehouse footprint of 120,000 square metres, a veritable city within a city, it is one of the largest warehouse precincts of any central market in Australia and the world. Within its bounds traders, contractors, forklifts, buggies, a recycling plant, and a diesel station co-exist.
The market has its own rules and regulations, safety requirements, speed limits, and demerit point system that contractors, traders, wholesalers and retailers must adhere to.
Until recently, a good percentage of the maintenance and operation of this world was documented on paper
and in spreadsheets. Signing up for a market stall required a 20-page form filled out with
supplementary documents attached.
From the traders’ point of view, it was underwhelming. Frustration around the ease of access to market services – such as access cards, parking permits or paying invoices was cumbersome, manual and slow. The existing technological infrastructure was not adequate to build digital services on.
To fix this, the market implemented new technology. With a Customer Relationship Management system from Salesforce and other cloud- enabled services, the market has transformed its operations to meet digital best practices.
For traders, this means a better customer experience, and the ability to access market services from a one-stop, self-serve online
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