Marie and Laura, both sisters and Pulse finalists, built their own platform that will help local producers connect and organize themselves in their delivery and transport towards customers. La Charrette is one of the first start-ups that look into the possibilities of shortening the supply chain between customer and producer.
The idea was born by the end of 2016. Laura: “In our own quest to find good quality and locally produced products, we discovered how difficult it was to find them. They are either very expensive (due to the cost of delivery) or the delivery is utterly complicated (only once per week at a certain time). We decided to look into this a little bit more.”
“When it comes to food, people are facing a transition. They want to know it’s origins; they are willing to eat local and healthy, are aware of environmental issues and want to support initiatives related to this. On the other hand however, producers are still struggling to produce and sell their products in an efficient manner. So there is a demand but a gap when it comes to efficiently supplying this demand. Solutions for this challenge are usually focused on branding to help customers find consumers better or on the sales side by raising the amount of advertisements. But nobody looked well enough into the logistics. Local producers easily spend a day per week on delivery and have to drive far to sell small quantities of food. It costs them a lot of time and moreover almost thirty per cent of their turnover.
When we started our research, we contacted some transport companies and discovered that most professionals don’t want to deliver small quantities. That’s why we came up with the idea of a sharing economy. Since most of the local producers have the same clients and stores and sell their products in the same areas, it could be interesting to share their ways of transport. That’s why we launched our platform in the Rhone Alpes region, to test it. As a producer you can register online, post your daily delivery route (either you are looking for a route or you are offering one) and find a match! We now have over hundred local producers and already made a lot of matches! Our ultimate goal would be to expand to the rest of France and Switzerland.”
“Our mission is that everybody can have access to good and local products at a fair price and that every local producer can sell their products.”
Marie: “Our biggest challenge is to change the habit of the producers. We know they are waiting for this solution and they say they need it, but it still needs a change in mentality to embrace the new way of distribution. It will only work when everybody is in. In the upcoming months we are going to expand our service by including other parties. The platform will be opened to professional transporters, consumers and any other party that is interested. Our goal is for la Charrette to be known by all people and we want all producers to have access and be able to use our platform!”