The evolution of cost control in the horticultural sector

2 min de lectura |

«Agriculture was not traditionally associated with technology, but with the strong price competition brought by the opening of the markets, it became necessary for full cost control policies to be implemented, from the planting until the shipment,» observes Manuel Artero Adell, Manager of Artero Consultores.

Based in Castellon, Artero Consultores is formed by a team of 12 consultants who are engineers or have graduated with postgraduates in business management at Spain’s most prestigious business schools.

The company started with the development and implementation of production and traceability cost control systems for the largest Spanish citrus firms more than 20 years ago. «We are currently still developing its production systems,» states Manuel Artero.

Production control is carried out by capturing the activities of all operators in each section and with the reading of the production, making it possible to know what the staff’s level of performance is and what the costs are for each section. «A correct control on each operator’s performance generates a great increase in productivity, and nowadays, that is pretty much essential,» explains Manual Artero.

n the 80’s, operators clocked in by using large coloured buttons (each colour represented a section of the company) very visible to prevent mistakes, taking into account the computer knowledge at the time. Currently, personal cards and touchscreens are used.

With the rapid advance of business-applied technology and with the launch of the ERP management systems, it was proposed to integrate all the production software in an integrated management software, or ERP, which managed the remaining sectors of the firm. This would lead to the unification of all data, and more importantly, to the improvement of the quality and reliability of the data.

«For this reason, around the year 2000 we started working with several ERP distributors, until 2004, when the firm SAP launched its solution for small and medium firms called SAP Business One. Artero Consultores was selected from the very start to distribute its systems at national level.

Shortly after obtaining the SAP certification, the company focused on the development of a vertical solution for the citrus sector, expanding all the functionalities available at the time, as well as the sector’s remaining needs (plantation management through mobile devices, chemical analyses to register the LMR, purchases and liquidations to owners, sales and expeditions, etc.). «Nowadays, the system is able to control every cost generated since a tree’s planting until the fruit is received by final clients in an exhaustive manner,» affirms Manuel Artero.

At the moment, Artero Consultores is adjusting the ERP to the various fruit-producing sectors, such as strawberries and stone fruit, and it will soon begin its internationalisation process.

«Our short term goal is to introduce our systems into South America and Central America’s horticultural sector, where there is a growing market recognised worldwide and where technological solutions will make all the difference for the sector in the coming years,» explains Manuel Artero.

With annual revenue of around 1 million Euro in services and a 15% average annual growth of sales in the past few seasons, Artero Consultores aims to become a worldwide technological reference in the horticultural sector. Among its clients we find important companies in the domestic sector, such as Exportaciones Aranda (FILÓSOFO), Serifruit, Cooperativa de Pego or Cooperativa citrícola de Villanueva de Castelló.