When I had filled out the application process for an internship at Procurant I didn’t realize how complex the produce industry was. I am a student studying organizational psychology at California State University East Bay and I know a bit about food retail having worked briefly at Whole Foods. But as a consumer, I really was oblivious to the effort and ingenuity that comes with this industry. I think many of us (including myself) don’t put a lot of thought into the overall process of how we get our food.
Into my first week, I dove into the depths of food safety, dabbled in IoT and encountered blockchain. The interconnectedness of it all intrigued the student in me. I am by no means an expert in technology, so when I heard “blockchain” and “IoT” I needed to do my due diligence to research these topics.
After reviewing the company brochure and a variety of related materials, my view of Procurant was that it provides a platform that not only caters to growers but shippers as well. Everyone that is part of the supply chain provides data and receives it. From the farms, packing houses, importer processors, distributers and retailers. This platform provides transparency, allows companies to connect with each other more efficiently, creating a network and solving issues that are common in this industry.
My retail experience taught me that when you order items from a supplier you’re going to get those items no matter what. In the case of the produce industry it doesn’t always work that way. An example I was given was that someone might want to order 20 boxes of strawberries, but something happens with the weather or transportation and suppliers simply can’t produce or deliver that much. This platform enables you to see that transaction and make decisions based on that type of information.
Traceability is another fascinating thing. With something like Procurant, issues can be identified and understood in seconds rather than days, which is beneficial because if there was an outbreak of foodborne illness it can be solved much faster. It also deals with problems such as food waste, food fraud and freshness. These issues are some of the top concerns of consumers. People are becoming more aware and informed on the products they choose to buy, so transparency and efficiency on these issues is exactly what a retailer needs to meet the needs of their customers.
The most exciting day of my internship was when I saw the demo of the first product, ProcurantOne, and the mobile app. I could see the information I had heard about come to life. Seeing everyone’s faces and hard work gave me a sense of pride for what the company is doing and what will be accomplished in the future.
In addition to learning about the industry and the products, I also learned quite a bit about the culture of Procurant. I have worked in toxic environments that I felt hindered people’s ability to thrive in the workplace. At Procurant I felt safe asking questions. I know that is something that will help me in the future. Part of my degree is seeing where you can improve the business, so working in a positive environment has shown me what is possible.
At the heart of being human I believe we want to create solutions for the betterment of our society and future generations. I truly value a business that is aligned through purpose and passion, and I’ll be rooting for Procurant’s success as they continue their journey.