Today’s post comes from Rama Notowidigdo, Co-Founder at Sayurbox, an Indonesian food platform that brings same-day delivery of fresh, pesticide-free produce from traditional farmers straight to city doorsteps.
The heart of Indonesia lies in its farming traditions, and we have an amazing heritage that’s reflected in the variety of crops we produce. Mangosteen, cassava, coconuts, shallots, and kale, to name a few.
But younger generations are turning away from this lifestyle, seeing the poverty in which many farmers live. Instead of pride in cultivating the bounties of the earth, they see a life of hard work with little reward. I wanted to change not just their perception, but the reality for Indonesian farmers—so in 2016 I started Sayurbox.
My founding partners and I are on a mission to restore pride in Indonesia’s farming heritage through digital technology. By creating an app that enables same-day delivery of healthy produce to urban centers, we want to raise rural living standards and make farmers proud, knowing their dedication nourishes lives far from home.
Google Maps Platform helps us turn this mission into reality, through world-class mapping tools that enable the supply chain innovations to help us deliver quality produce to city tables.
Bringing farmers and city dwellers together with Maps-enabled supply-chain innovation
The life of farmers in traditional ‘kampungs’, or villages, may seem a world away from Indonesia’s bustling mega-cities. Yet there’s a natural synergy between fresh farm produce and Indonesia’s surging middle classes, who increasingly seek healthier and more varied food choices. The problem? Distribution hurdles often get in the way.
That’s where we come in. Sayurbox sourcing centers fan into the countryside to collect goods directly from farmers and intelligently distribute them to one of three sourcing hubs. From there, we can sort, package, and deliver to online customers on the day of their order, with the help of itinerary and route optimization enabled by Google Maps Platform.
With the Geocoding API and Geolocation API, we can automatically assign itineraries that bundle multiple jobs–a task that used to take us nearly a day’s work, but can now be completed in under 10 minutes. Thanks to Google Maps Platform, we’re ensuring that lovingly cultivated vegetables reach homes almost as fresh as when they were plucked from the earth.
Absorbing a 3X surge in growth with Google Maps Platform
When COVID-19 reached Indonesia, we saw demand for fresh, locally-grown vegetables soar, with three times more orders as people remained indoors. Without Google Maps Platform we wouldn’t have been able to handle a situation that created urgent need in cities for quality produce. Our AI-enabled supply chain system easily met the surge in demand, with the help of Google Maps Platform route optimization and Google Cloud tools such as Firebase and BigQuery, which support instant scaling both in compute power and data crunching.
What happened next was a big surprise. Inspired by the benefits of fresh, quality produce, a number of our customers (many in their twenties and thirties) started becoming part-time farmers themselves, planting crops in their backyards or developing land on unused lots.
Now, they’re coming to us to sell their produce through Sayurbox, enhancing the richness and variety of our solution. We never expected to find such a direct way to boost pride in cultivating the earth. And it’s a joy to discover that tech innovation can inspire new cycles of farming growth.
We’re inspiring change in the countryside, too. Sayurbox’s success is proof-of-concept that quality, organic crops can be good business, as the extra effort of agricultural best practices is rewarded in higher sales. That’s generating a trend for farmers who depended on pesticides to plant chemical-free crops instead.
Ultimately, our mission is not just about empowering farmers—it’s also about deploying technology to lift living standards across Indonesia. By creating digital supply chains in a country still struggling with inefficiencies, we’re contributing to a network effect of more prosperity and healthier living.
For example, we help freelance drivers survive the COVID-19 storm through demand for their services, as mobility restrictions hit their ride-hailing business. Meanwhile, super-efficient logistics enabled by Google Maps Platform allow us to bring urban families fresher produce, for less than supermarket prices.
A future of unlimited organic growth enabled by digital mapping tools
With Google Maps Platform, we’ve only scratched the surface of the growth opportunities we can pursue. Beyond last-mile delivery, we plan next to boost farmers with first and mid-mile delivery. We’re developing an app for farmers that will give them the fastest, most efficient routes to Sayurbox sourcing centers with Google Maps Platform products and features, so even more farmers can join our network.
Our hope is to provide an inspiring shopping experience of fresh produce and products direct from farms to consumers. Although organic produce has been one of our key selling points, we have now grown past that with the hope that our app can help farmers sell organic, hydroponic, conventional, and ‘imperfect’ produce, because every fruit and vegetable is different. And with Google Maps Platform we’re proud to be fostering vibrant green shoots in our cherished farming heritage.
For more information on Google Maps Platform, visit our website.
Cloud BlogRead More