Australian Agtech company Optomni has taken a step closer to it's goal of digitalising the horticultural supply chain, announcing the soft-launch of its new omni-channel wholesale platform for growers and wholesalers; OmniOrder.
The platform will aim to help fresh produce growers and wholesalers reach more buyers and reduce waste through demand prediction and automated supply matching.
Optomni chief executive and co-founder, Murad Mekhtiev, identified three problems that OmniOrder will aim to solve.
“[OmniOrder will] give growers access to new markets and more flexible wholesale options, [It will] give wholesalers a means to improve operational efficiency and reduce manual processes through AI functionality to match supply and demand, and [it will] give independent retailers and other commercial buyers capability to reduce overbuying and waste, as well as save time,” explained Mekhtiev.
'We will see a network effect emerge as more buyers and sellers use the platform. Buyers and sellers immediately benefit by saving time and reducing manual data entry for their orders. They also reduce the risk of losing data by having communications centralised in one platform.
“Buyers benefit from more transparency in the supply chain. Once the platform gets traction, sellers can access a wider pool of buyers, not just the ones that they have been dealing with for a long time,” he added.
Optomni calls for early uptake
Mekhtiev said OmniOrder has embedded tools to better manage and control inventory. 'Sellers get alerts when stock is being sold slower than usual, which allows them to take corrective action rather than discount stock to move it, or risk spoilage or downgrade,' he said.
'For larger enterprise customers, we can integrate with their ERP systems, further reducing manual processes. Sellers and buyers can now register for our early access programme, which will allow us to agree on tailored engagement and pricing which we will honour into the future.
“The early access programme is meant for the early adopters who share our vision for greater trading transparency and want to make it a reality. It's also a chance to help shape a platform for the whole industry and receive a preferential commercial position in that platform,” said Mekhtiev.
On the ground research in fresh produce markets in Queensland, Victoria, and South Australia has been conducted in order to better develop the platform.
'We visited growers, wholesalers, and independent retailers, as well as surveyed a good cross-section of them to understand desired features and unlocked benefits,' said Mekhtiev.
'We wanted to understand internal business processes, as well as what the opportunities are for unlocking more value. We saw opportunities for unlocking value through reducing manual processes, as well as opportunities opened up through greater transparency in the supply chain.
“Every conversation that we have with a grower, wholesaler or retailer allows us to feed new ideas into our platform,” he concluded.
After the early access period, Optomni will look to move into international trade and support marketing in order to bring overseas buyers onto the platform.