Agriculture is changing and us, producers, wish to value better our products doing direct selling. But selling products from the farm takes a lot of time and we already have long days. The vending machine of farm products is an interesting solution and I am personnaly equiped with 400 lockers. However I noticed limits to the solutions offered nowadays.
With my experience in information and communication technology as an engineer and winner of a French national contest of innovative technology companies (I-LAB), I perceived all the advantages those new technologies could offer to improve the existing solutions and thus offer to the toher producers an alternative that can really improve their income.
First of all my solution consist in ofeering you to built your vending machine by yourself. The law authorize using wood for the lockers construction if it is covered with a special coat. Thanks to online videos and tutorial, you will be able to built your vending machine by yourself. This will allow to devide approximately the cost by four. The payement will be done with a smartphone to allow the opening of the lockers. There will be no need of physical payment system onsite, expensive and source of vandalism. As the whole process of programming, from order to payment is done online, the solution offers numerous advantages compared to what already exist.
If I was to select only two advantages, it would be the two following that really allow to differenciate this solution compared to what already exist, and to allow its deployment in an important number of farms.
The cost price is one of the essential points. Today the existing solutions cost around 200 euros per locker. The solution we offer will allow a cost price for the producer of around 45 euros per locker.
The vending machine can be supplied by various producers. To motivate the client to come to the vending machine, it is necessary that it offers a large variety of products so that the client can value his drive. But one producer can hardly produce such a wide variety. Personally today with the existant solution I have to do purchase resale. I go at other farms to find products I don't cultivate (tomatoes, carotts, bread...) and I resale them in my vending machines. It takes a lot of time for a reduced margin. Moreover I am limited by the law in terms of purchase resale and I have to think about ordering my products everyday. The existing solution doesn't allow the supply by diferent producers because the money only goes to one bank account. The solution offered will allow to send the turnover of each locker to a diferent bank account. A vending machine will be supply by four or five producers. Each producer will know in real time the state of his stock in each vending machine and will be able to supply when needed.
In practice, it means that Pierre's vending machine will host his vegetables but also Thomas bread, David's flours, Jacques juices, Jeanne's apples... Thomas vending machine will host his bread, Pierre's vegetables, David's flours etc...
But why can we speak of a real revolution?
The majority of the young agricultors whish to do direct sale of their products. The lack of time leads them to take an interest in vending machines. But they don't want to invest large amounts of money. Moreover, the most selling points there will be, the more money they will make.
On his side, the consumer wishes to buy local products but he needs to have access to those products outisde his working hours and whitout driving too much.
If an important number of producers has on his farm a vending machine, and as the cost price allows it, we can create a mesh able to cover all the countryside. Producers will be able to control the selling of their products and have a real income. Consumers will have access on their way home to local products at long hours.
What about the cities?
A company, a community, an NGO... that has sufficient space to install a vending machine can do it. In this case the app will send them a rent in percentage of the vending machine's turnover. Only the mayor can refuse the installation of a vending machine. In villages without shops, this could rvitalize the center and vreate social link because the vending machine is also a place of exchanges.
What does it look like?
The vending machine can be made of untreated wood if the producers makes it by himself. He can also ask a local caraftsman to build it in inox. It is equiped with electrical locks and elecrtonical cards. There are only the connections to be made. No special knowledge is needed. An app allows to use it very simply.
What about the financial aspect?
A 140 lockers vending machine generates around 1 euro of turnover per locker and per day. This number can of course change according to the type of products and the localization of the vending machine. This means 365 euros of turnover per year for a locker, and 51 100 euros of annual turnover for the vending machine.
A 16 lockers vending machine generates about 3 euros of turnover per locker and per day, which means 17 000 euros of annual turnover for the machine.
Obviously those numbers are only indicative and do not engage us.
To finance the development, the secured data hosting, the financial costs etc..., the company MyEasyWay, owner of the brand Les Casiers Du Coin, receive a percentage of the vending machine's turnover (8 to 12 % according the chosen options). It is one of the lower rate for this type of activity.
I personally supply daily 400 lockers and I am alone on my farm. I also supply organic shops and restaurants. Those numbers are then totally realists. The vending machine can also be placed into a refrigerates cabinet for the products that need to be conserved in low temperatures.