Artificial Intelligence and Supply Chain Industry, when combined, have proven to give industries and their intricate processes a certain sophistication and empowerment. Implementing AI innovations in the agriculture sector—although at a nascent stage—gives us glimpses of a promising future.
As the cliché goes, ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’, let’s change it a bit and call ‘Necessity, the mother of innovation as well.’ With such an innovative idea born out of necessity and curiosity, Consentio entered the global market in 2019.
Consentio has striven to address the problem of food wastage in the world, along with the cause that leads to it. But what is more innovative than the problem, is the solution that Consentio conceived, revolutionizing the industry. With the inclusion of AI, it enhanced the fruits and vegetable industry along with the supply chain industry.
In the following conversation with Vincent Rosso, the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Consentio, he uncovered how Consentio solves the problem with a perfect blend of traditional market and modern technology.
Please brief our audience about your company, its USPs, and how it is positioned as a leading name in the horticulture sector.
Consentio addresses multiple inefficiencies within the fruits and vegetable industry. We transform every commercial conversation into structured data sets, reducing a significant amount of time spent doing manual data processing, time that can be dedicated to improving customer relationships and increasing sales at the same time.
Consentio transforms thousands of daily e-mails, excels, pdfs, faxes, phone calls (that are all too common in the fruits and vegetable sector) into a streamlined all-in-one order management platform.
With a direct plug-in into the company’s core IT legacy system, Consentio sends all the key data there in seconds, eliminating the pain of manual data entry (which is highly prone to mistakes). In this way, we are reducing ordering errors, resulting in a reduction of food loss and an increase in profit – a desirable combination for our customers.
Being an experienced leader, share with us your opinion on what impact has the adoption of AI and machine learning technologies had on the horticulture sector and what more could be expected in the future?
The primary impact that AI and machine learning technologies have had on the horticulture sector is the reduction in resource-use inefficiencies and disease prevention to make production more sustainable. Consentio is largely implicated in the impacts of these technologies because of its strategic positioning at every stage of the farm-to-fork supply chain.
According to the UN, approximately 40% of all fruits and vegetables produced are never eaten, where overproduction and disease are important drivers of this inefficiency. By applying AI and machine learning technologies to players like Consentio, who are advantaged by their strategic positioning, the horticulture sector could limit overproduction and disease by:
- Predicting consumer demand for fruits and vegetables to 1) help farmers and wholesalers or retailers draft contracts that are more representative of their output and consumer demand and 2) allocate excess production of fresh produce to markets that are in demand.
- Tracking where disease spreads to and originates-from to 1) improve the consumer’s end-product by supplying the market with disease-free produce and 2) helping farmers and governments take preventive measures to reduce and learn about disease spread.
These applications of AI and machine learning to precision farming and disease tracking are already in the market, nevertheless, they could be enhanced by the unique data that Consentio collects along the entire farm-to-fork supply chain.
Considering the current pandemic, what initial challenges did you face and how did you drive your company to sustain operations while ensuring the safety of your employees at the same time?
Consentio’s management team ended the lease of office spaces in Barcelona whole-market because of the foreseen duration of the lockdown and pandemic. We invested resources into cloud infrastructure to help our company and our clients transition their operations to fully remote. This made remote work more productive, giving employees resources to connect and work more efficiently with clients, colleagues, and other stakeholders.
The situation also reflected an opportunity for Consentio, which saw an 800% increase in active users and a nearly 400% increase in GMV over 12 months beginning in April 2020. Many buyers and suppliers depend on the platform to access new markets and have improved their internal operations while being highly competitive at the same time.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the horticulture space?
I would tell the entrepreneurs that the horticulture sector is ripe for digital disruption. Supporting the livelihoods of approximately 25% of the world population and making up a recommended 50% of your diet by volume, fruits and vegetables are essential for everyone’s health. Nevertheless, farmers, wholesalers, and retailers are limited in terms of data collection, an important driver of the sector’s inefficiencies because “we cannot improve what we do not measure.”
However, this is bound to change, as we’ve seen in other industries that have been transformed by big data, such as finance, banking, communications, entertainment, and education. Hence, for entrepreneurs that want to make an impact and play an active role in the renaissance of a vital yet traditional industry, now is the time to act!
How do you envision scaling your company’s operations and offerings in 2022 and beyond?
For the foreseeable future, we will scale our operations and offerings by achieving the following:
- Collaborating with talented, creative, and passionate individuals, whether they are part of our internal or external operations. We realized that these are vital ingredients for disruption and success, hence it is essential to invest in individuals that have these qualities if we want to participate in the renaissance of the horticulture sector.
For example, our team is composed of diverse backgrounds from 10+ different countries spanning Europe, North and Central America. This diversity contributes to our creative disruption, helping us to connect with and understand stakeholders in a global industry.
- Building a community of Consentians who share a common vision to bring circularity to the linear food supply chain, thereby improving the traceability, transparency, and accountability of all actors from farm-to-fork.
In this way, we foresee a fresh produce sector that is not responsible for a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, millions of tons of water waste and food waste that accounts for half of all food produced.
Consentio will provide the foundations for this community by bringing together producers, wholesalers, retailers, social media influencers, and government actors to understand and address the needs of all stakeholders in the fresh produce industry.
- Developing a product that addresses the specific needs of the fresh produce sector. This is achieved by maintaining an agile approach to software development, whereby our marketing, sales and engineering teams work dynamically with our users to address their specific needs and respond to the industry’s future challenges.
About the leader
Vincent Rosso is the co-founder of Blablacar Spain, a car ride-sharing company that has raised $450 million from investors such as Accel, Index Ventures and Insight Partners. He is also a board member of ONTRUCK and others.
The founding team has decades of experience in the tech industry, either founding themselves or playing a pivotal role in some of Europe’s biggest success stories. Shortly after inception, Consentio hired experts within the fruits & vegetable industry bridging that knowledge gap and bringing in a team with complementary skills.
Below are testimonials from three clients that highlight Consentio’s position in the market.
Jorge Vasquez, the president of Latin Specialties LLC, a wholesaler from Houston, Texas with annual revenues of $25 Million, highlights the value-add and unique characteristics of Consentio’s solution for his business in the following testimonial:
“Traditional ERP systems have a weakness, as the sales order entry does not reflect the variable and dynamic nature of our business trading.
We have hundreds of customers, retailers, wholesalers, food service companies, all of whom communicate and trade with us using a variety of channels including phone, fax, SMS, email, WhatsApp, etc.
Coordinating and consolidating this demand is a great challenge. Once received, these orders must be manually entered into our ERP system creating a considerable additional workload.
And then I found Consentio, and I realized there was a proven, ready platform that did all that we needed, and would link back to the ERP system. So, ensuring we only need to enter data once.
With Consentio we save money, sell more and deliver improved customer service.”
The Greenery, a client based in the Netherlands with annual revenues over $1B, claims that using Consentio increased their sales revenue by 15% while improving collaboration within their sales teams, and fully streamlining their ordering system.
The Chief Operating Officer of Alsum, a client from Friesland, Wisconsin, Wendy Dykstra, said in an interview: “Consentio will link directly to our Microsoft Dynamics ERP system removing the need to manually enter orders and significantly reducing our workload.”
Altogether, these testimonials highlight that Consentio’s product is differentiated from traditional ERP systems and offers a dynamic sales process that eliminates the bulk of manual data entry, increasing sales revenue, enhancing customer experience, and benefiting internal processes. This positions Consentio as a disruptor of fresh produce trading by being complementary to traditional ERP systems.