WP 3

Providing business model innovation tools and skills to local food networks for B2B distribution.

Description: The term "business model" is mainly used for a broad range of informal and formal descriptions to represent core aspects of a business, including purpose, business process, target customers, offerings, strategies, infrastructure, organizational structures, sourcing, trading practices, and operational processes and policies including culture. Creating a business model for a distribution company is vital for ensuring that the wide range of costs in distribution services consistently come in below sales revenue.
The main activity of the project is designin a comprehensive business model, which includes main aspects to be taken into account when planning a B2B local food distribution in local/regional level:means and tools for involvement of farmers/producers and for attracting potential clients; description of different organizational models for intermediary company (farmers cooperative/independent business/NGO or business established by catering places etc) and strengths and weaknesses of each solution; arrangement of information exchange about available products; activities for ensuring quality level; training activities; sales volumes and storage capacity planning; pricing policy; financial management (incl.electronic tool for calculation of fixed and variable costs); planning and optimization of transportation routes and costs;packing of products; handling of orders,payments and complaints; contracting/legal issues;marketing strategy etc.
The model will be developed in co-operation with experienced and competent expert team (business,logistics,financial,marketing) to be selected as a result of the tender. The model will be available and applicable for all local food networks and/or distribution organizations planning to start the new (or to improve the existing) B2B local food distribution system.The model enables to analyze thoroughly and to make fact-based decisions regarding all aspects and components of the distribution of food products. Based on the business model local food distribution organizations can compose their own operational plans taking into account the local market situation,distances and availability of food products. After piloting the business model (WP4) the content of the model will be updated during Period 6 based on the feedback and real experience received from testing.
Food networks from pilot regions will be involved to the design of the model as it should be designed from end-users perspective.

Enhancing the wider usage of of e-platforms available in project area as working tools for B2B local food distribution.

: Partners map and analyze different market based ICT tools and e-platforms in participating countries/regions. Local food networks and distribution organizations are encouraged to use suitable existing solutions available in the market. Almost in every country in project area there are some digital solutions and e-platforms, which can be used by distribution companies as working tools for taking the orders from clients, for planning the volumes of goods and logistics, and for information exchange with farmers and clients. The solutions are intended to facilitate the daily communication between distribution company, farmers/producers and clients (restaurants, shops etc).

The functionality of available platforms differs highly. Some more advanced digital solutions and e-platforms contain modules for example for information exchange, placing orders, payments, marketing etc. There are also simple solutions used mainly for Business to Consumer distribution, which need small-scale modifications in order to meet the specific needs of distribution organizations working in B2B distribution. Partners who see that small-scale modifications of existing e-platforms in their area are needed, select most suitable solution using appropriate procurement procedures and arrange the IT-development and testing of selected solution as national/regional pilots. Partners look mainly for easy-to-use solutions suitable for food nets from rural areas enabling also step-by-step implementation. During IT-development the modules for information exchange and placing orders applicable for B2B distribution should be created (other modules for example for payments can be added according the specific situation of each country/region).
One of the project partners, Taste of Denmark, will select based on the results of relevant procurement procedures the existing e-platform in Denmark facilitating information exchange and B2C local food distribution. This partner is responsible for further development and testing of selected e-platform as main pilot working tool/model facilitating B2B local food distribution, which is designed taking into account the specific needs and objectives of the project. The updated e-platform should include more advanced modules designed specificly for B2B local food distribution (information exchange, storage management, placing orders, making payments etc). This solution is used as pilot solution and best experience, which will be disseminated and introduced to local food networks in other participating countries and regions. In participating countries/regions partners involved from this country/region organize practical seminars to local food networks and distribution organizations introducing appropriate e-platforms and solutions in their area in order to encourage them to use ICT-tools in their daily practices.

Introduction of the business model of B2B local food distribution to local food networks in project area

Practical seminars are organized for different target groups (farmers, restaurants managers, chefs, distribution companies/organizations, rural tourism businesses providing catering etc.) in pilot regions playing a key role in piloting of business model. Participation in B2B distribution of local food requires also changes in current business practices of farmers/producers (planning the production according market needs, quality management, cooperation with distribution companies etc) and catering places/local food shops as clients (designing seasonal and daily menus and offers according to the availability of products etc). The distribution companies/organizations involved or established in pilot regions will be trained involving experienced business/logistics experts.
Partners compose joint practical handbook for local food networks, which will be disseminated mainly as paper version, but in some countries also as electronic pdf (or similar) version. The handbook includes the most important information and knowledge useful for any local food network in programme area planning to start or improve the B2B distribution in their region. In the handbook the main content and concept of joint distribution model will be explained. The handbook includes also practical case studies from pilot regions sharing their experience received during the piloting.
The output is practical handbook for all local food networks who are interested to start B2B local food distribution system. Handbook will be based on final version of the model and it contains practical case studies sharing best experience of pilot regions. It will be disseminated to local food networks in paper and/or electronic version in local languages.