Building the food supply chains of the future

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Gert Steyn. (Image supplied)
Gert Steyn. (Image supplied)

Gert Steyn, CEO Food Supply Network, in conversation with Richard Kershaw, CEO Kerston Foods.

Designing the technology is straightforward; winning users trust requires a lot more.

Kerston Foods founder and CEO Richard Kershaw shared some insights into his experience joining the business-to-business tech platform Food Supply Network.  

"It's easy to sit here now and say that we knew straight away that this platform was going to work,” said Kershaw. “But the more I saw, the more I began to believe that this kind of solution could be valuable not only to us but to the entire food supply chain."

Food Supply Network founder and CEO Gert Steyn said landing a client like Kerston Foods was one of the company’s significant triumphs but winning the backing of global consumer internet group Naspers was a crowning victory for 2020.

"We're excited about the opportunity to turn this local startup into an international business," said Steyn. "We've had a stellar start, and with all the building blocks now in place, it's up to us to take this to the next level and repay the trust shown in us by the likes of Naspers—through Naspers Foundry—and Kerston Foods."

Naspers Foundry, a R1.4 billion South African focused early-stage business funding vehicle, backs talented local entrepreneurs operating tech businesses with high growth potential.

Kershaw said he relied on his gut instinct when trusting his own company’s success to a new platform.

"You can tell the difference between someone trying to make a quick buck and someone trying to make a difference," he explained.

Steyn said, "You need that one client to trust in you, and the rest will follow.

Food Supply Network is the only platform connecting the entire industry of buyers, manufacturers and distributors of food products, so it’s easy to see how it can optimise and enhance existing business processes. 

Fabian Whate, Head of Naspers Foundry, said, "The Food Supply Network, a B2B marketplace digitalises and integrates the food ordering systems of food manufacturers, distributors and restaurants. It met our requirements, had a product, strong traction with customers, the customers are paying for the product, and it had demonstrated sustainable unit economics."

Steyn said that business efficiency enables the “customer obsession” approach that has become necessary over the last year.

"Businesses that are cutting their costs and upping their efficiency are the ones that are surviving. But the businesses that are thriving are the ones that have ingrained customer obsession into their culture," he said.

"We need the entire chain to be operating well for the industry to move forward," said Kershaw.

"Food Supply Network is the future, and I couldn’t be happier that I put my trust in their platform all those years ago. As long as they keep doing what they’re doing, this industry will thrive again."

This post was written and supplied by Naspers.

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