Shortly after the onset of the Corona crisis, the Spanish Red Cross found that workers in low-wage sectors were lacking essentials, especially food. At the same time, the Mercabarna wholesale market in Barcelona had full stores of fruit and vegetables that were in danger of spoiling, because markets had been closed. As part of a round-the-clock hackathon, T-Systems developers designed the web-based solution T-Mercabarna Solidaria within 24 hours. The innovative initiative complements the regular work that Mercabarna's wholesale companies do through food banks, contributing more than 100 tons of fruit and vegetables a month to 35,000 people in need. T-Mercabarna Solidaria gives stakeholders real-time insights: perishable foods can be sent to food banks and distributed at short notice. The system is designed to be scalable, so that other non-profit organizations, wholesalers, and transport companies can come on board at any time, even outside of Catalonia.
The solution helped to realign supply and demand for fresh food, helping needy people through Covid-19 times.
Mercabarna connected two fruit and vegetable wholesalers, Frutas Diego Martínez and Hermanos Fernández, and a logistics company, TAE Transports, with the Spanish Red Cross to distribute the wholesalers’ perishable goods to the needy. However, the timely matching of supply and demand for perishable goods at the 90 Red Cross distribution points in Catalonia posed new logistical challenges. The partners approached T-Systems – with the aim of supporting distribution through a digital platform. And time was of the essence.
For T-Systems and the developers involved, participation was a project from the heart. They performed the service pro bono as part of the TSIBCovidChallenges campaign by T-Systems. The digital platform supports the work of the aid community. It brings together non-profit organizations such as the Red Cross on the demand side and the fruit and vegetable wholesalers on the supply side, along with logistics companies. The wholesalers enter the available food into the system and the non-profit organizations see which foods are available. At the same time, they can initiate delivery to the various distribution points. With integrated order and delivery time statistics, the system gives all stakeholders a high degree of transparency. Order tracking based on status and location in real time is possible – so the local distribution points know when the deliveries will arrive. The web service runs on a server in the T-Systems cloud.