Creating Transparency: a new supply chain alert system

The three pillars of supply chain development are Trust, Transparency and Sustainability. This can be difficult to achieve when smallholder farmers and artisan producers in developing countries are involved at the start of the supply chain. However, this is where GeoT focuses, offering innovative technology systems to help companies working with smallholder farmers and artisan producers. Trust and transparency are achieved through geo-data collection on the production of goods and tracing the movement of those goods from farm to export. The information gathered can then be used to support sustainability initiatives and monitor their progress. However, our latest feature – the Alert System – allows companies to go one step further.

In many supply chains, accurate timely data is important for managing and coordinating activities, whether this is organising delivery trucks or monitoring the quality of produce. With the GeoTraceability System, it is now possible to gather data on independent farmers, trace produce from these farmers through the supply chain (even when middle men are involved), record delivery of goods at processing plants, and send alerts (via email or SMS) when there are delays in the delivery of goods or issues with the quality. This allows action to be taken in a timely fashion.  

Whether you are a commercial company looking to improve your supply or implementing a development program to improve farmer livelihoods, the new Alert System (combined with the suite of other GeoT tools saves time and hassle). Instead of having to regularly check the data to be aware of issues, you can set-up alerts for the areas that matter most for your business and supply chain. The geo-data collection on farmers and farming practices combined with the traceability data allows you to target initiatives where they are most needed. The Alert System is another tool for monitoring the success of initiatives and improving the supply chain. Our competitive rates and flexible fee structure, means this is also an affordable option for many organisations.

You can learn more about the System by reading the case study below or by getting in touch with us (Contact us).

 

Palm Oil Case Study

A key challenge in the palm oil supply chain is minimising the time between when the fruit is harvested and processed. The quality of the Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFBs) deteriorates very quickly and it should ideally, be processed within 48 hours of harvesting. However, this can be a challenge for the mills purchasing fruit from independent small holder farmers who are farming in remote locations. The new GeoT Alert System allows those managing the logistics of the supply chain to be informed when the time between harvesting FFBs and processing them is in excess of 48 hrs.  This allows the FFB procurement team to monitor these instances and minimize them in order to improve FFB quality and the oil extraction rate. In addition, alerts can be sent notifying the logistics team of farms where there is fruit that has not been collected and is still sitting on the roadside. This transparency can facilitate an efficient collection process.

Further information on GeoT’s innovative work in palm oil can be found here Geotraceability for Palm Oil.pdf

 

Electrical Faults: will the switch to electric cars create healthy shockwaves in the cobalt supply chain?

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Electric cars are the solution to all our transport pollution issues. Or are they? Following France’s ban on petrol and diesel cars by 2040, other countries are following suit. The result is an expected increase in electric cars operated on re-chargeable batteries and a decrease in pollution. However, in addition to the fact that electric cars are powered by electricity from coal fueled plants, there are also issues in the supply chains of the components of the cars, particularly that of lithium-ion batteries. Production of the battery requires cobalt, but supplies of this mineral are currently limited (due to the lack of sources) and ethically questionable. The majority of the world’s cobalt is from the DRC, however, the current unstable political climate in the country has led to a fall in production and a sharp increase in price. Over the last year the price has more than doubled, reaching 59784USD/MT in June. With supply still restricted and demand set to increase further, the market is expecting further increases in price. One potential consequence of this is that the increased profit margins will draw artisan miners and traders into the market who couldn’t not previously afford to operate. This trend is likely to increase the risk of conflict-minerals entering the supply chain, something which is unfortunately already occurring. There is a lack of transparency in the sourcing of cobalt, which not only impacts the car industry, but has a broader reach into other supply chains, such as that of the smart phones most of us use.

Can anything be done to address these supply chain issues? There is no doubt that solving the sourcing issues for cobalt and other minerals is highly complex and requires a holistic multi-agency approach. However, the expected rise in the price of cobalt, resulting from the increased demand, should allow extraction companies to invest in their mining processes and traceability solutions. One of the issues is that as the price of cobalt increases, it will be attractive for people to sell cobalt on the black market, hiding the origin of the mineral and the practices used to extract it. With supply limited, buyers may also choose to turn a blind eye to practices in order to obtain the cobalt they need. However, for those who choose to, the increased profit margins could be re-invested in the supply chain to improve its sustainability, including increased transparency. GeoT already supports companies demonstrate that their tin, tantalum and tungsten are sourced ethically, and provides tools to gather data on interventions taken with artisan producers.

With the increased global focus on the cobalt supply chain, extraction companies now have the opportunity to differentiate themselves through providing customers with piece of mind about the origin of their cobalt.

Traceability for Palm Oil now Commercially Available

Over the last two years Geotraceability has been working with the largest names in the palm oil sector to develop a ground-breaking software solution to assist with some of the industry’s key sourcing challenges.

Geotraceability’s purpose is to better integrate small-scale farmers in global supply chains. We do this by providing tools to, improve supplier relationship management, deliver traceability, increase FFB volume and quality for the mill, then, using the same data, we can simultaneously produce individualised Farm Business Plans, to improve smallholder productivity and livelihoods.

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Our approach involves adapting and configuring the Geotraceability system according to your needs and the processes which already exist in your business. We then combine this with our specialist in-house support and training services, to offer cost-effective and scalable solutions for;

 

  • Accurate GPS farm mapping
  • Farmer surveys on mobile Apps

  • FFB supplier quality management & analysis

  • Bespoke FFB traceability systems from field-to-mill

  • Live dashboards with total system synchronisation

  • Tailored productivity improvement plans for growers

Following the completion of a successful prototype, we can now offer this solution at a very attractive commercial rate both for initial set-up and on-going cost.

See the GeoT for palm oil briefing for more information and please get in touch if you’d like to see a demo of the solution or have any questions.

Please also note that Geotraceability will be at the upcoming RSPO EU Roundtable in London, June 12-13th, 2017, and we’d be happy to arrange a meeting with you in person.

ALUR Highlands Coffee Alliance Project

Over the last 4 years, the ALUR Highlands Coffee Alliance (AHCA) has made a significant investment to support the development of the coffee market in rural northern Uganda. But what has the impact been?

The project works with farmers in an area of low income and high poverty. To date, over 16,000 farmers have been supported. The average age of the farmers is 46, and they have an average of 5 children. To improve the livelihoods of these farmers, the programme has provided extensive training on farming practices. This has included the development of demonstration plots for farmers to learn in a hands-on and visual environment.

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The GeoTraceability System has been used to collect data on the farmers (including GPS coordinates to create a map of their fields, socio-economic data and production data). The System has also been used to record the training delivered to each farmer and the location of the demonstration plots, nurseries and warehouses.

As the project draws to a close, the key activity is to evaluate its success and determine what lessons need to be taken forwards to future projects. As part of this assessment, the GeoTraceability System is being used to re-collect data on 5,000 farmers. The re-collection will include questions asked during the initial data-collection, as well as additional questions to assess the attitude of the farmers. To collect the data, a mobile application is being used, which is able to work off-line in the field where internet access is limited. Field agents then upload the collected data when they return to the programme office. With the data collected it will be possible to clearly see visually the impact of the project initiatives using the GeoTraceability on-line platform.

Another activity currently being undertaken by the project team is to find organisations to continue using the System and existing data once the current project ends later this year. If this is of interest to you, please contact Hannah h.hobden@geotraceability.com