How do our fruit and vegetables arrive fresh on the dining table?
This is how fruit and vegetable wholesaler Germans Barri deals with the challenges of fresh food logistics
Erkrath, Germany 2018-09-07 - Door-to-door logistics of fast-mover shipments such as fruit and vegetables require maximum punctuality and professionalism. The suppliers must also respond flexibly to the actions of businesses and sometimes transport “just” a few pallets rather than full truck loads. On top of this, the customer wants to be able to track his goods online at all times. The requirements for transportation are at least as high as those for production. The Spanish company Germans Barri does not just use the latest technologies for storage and cooling of its fruit and vegetables, but also for the digital process optimisation of shipments.
“Our orders and routes are changing constantly. This means we constantly need new transport service providers. We have experienced very high wastage and delays in the search for transport partners. Perhaps only 10-20 percent of the 2000 emails sent out were read. This is unproductive and often very annoying as we are always playing catch-up. You are working against the clock with fresh goods and faced with high technical requirements for refrigerated shipments,” reports Natalia Echeverry, dispatcher at Germans Barri.
What used to fit on a small fruit and vegetable stand in Barcelona’s Mercado de Born, now the wholesale market Mercabarna, 60 years ago, currently extends to a total of 2100 m2 and 12 stands. The modern warehouse of the family company, which the brothers Luis Barri and Salvador Barri are already leading into the second generation, covers 7000 m2. Different types of potato, onion and salad as well as radish, cauliflower, broccoli, leeks, carrots and tomatoes are calibrated, sorted and packaged here using innovative technologies. Exactly as the customer wants and needs.
30 percent of products from Germans Barri land in the wholesale market Mercabarna, 20 percent in national and international supermarkets, 10 percent in wholesale and another 20 percent in retail. The majority of products are imported such as yucca roots from South America, ginger from China or sweet potatoes from the USA. Aside from exporting products to all European countries, Germans Barri moves a total of 150 million kilos of fresh goods every year.
“We offer a wide range of products at good prices and excellent service as well as additional logistics solutions. Our customers can order FTL from us or just a few pallets. We must be flexible here and adapt to the very specific requirements for the cold chain. Ultimately, everyone wants crunchy and juicy fruit and vegetables of excellent quality at the right price and time,” explains Marta Barri, daughter of the founder Ramón Barri and head of the administration and finance department.
The greatest challenge for the business of Germans Barri is that the interests, order volumes and rhythms of its customers often vary. “Our orders and routes are changing constantly. This means we constantly need new transport service providers. We have experienced very high wastage and delays in the search for transport partners. Perhaps only 10-20 percent of the 2000 emails sent out were read. This is unproductive and often very annoying as we are always playing catch-up. You are working against the clock with fresh goods and faced with high technical requirements for refrigerated shipments,” reports Natalia Echeverry, dispatcher at Germans Barri.
Echeverry is able to gain planning security thanks to the extensive coverage and high reaction speed of other TIMOCOM users and can also respond flexibly: “If I publish a freight offer, I know that I will get a response from a suitable service provider within 10 minutes.”
The simple search for a service provider also makes the daily dispatching easier: “You can even carry out numerous searches simultaneously. The search can be adapted as you need it thanks to the filter: by vehicle type, loading metre, route, etc.,” adds Echeverry. Another important point is trust that is also supported by the tracking approval of service providers at TIMOCOM: “If we assign a transport service provider through TIMOCOM, we can be sure that the goods will arrive exactly where they should do. We have established a network of trustworthy partners through the platform who we work with on a regular basis.”
The simplified, quicker and more secure shipment allocation through TIMOCOM enables Germans Barri to focus more on other tasks and keep improving the quality of the comprehensive service for its door-to-door logistics.