Greencof is implementing Agiblocks

We have recently welcomed Greencof as a brand-new client of Agiboo. The Dutch specialist in green specialty coffee has chosen our flagship CTRM software Agiblocks and – with the help of our partner and MS Business Central specialist Vasilok – opted to go for the full integration with MS Dynamics. We talked to Greencof-CEO Niels Douque to find out why – because there is quite a great story behind it. For starters, his family has been part of the coffee industry since the 19th century, developing into 21st century frontrunners of future-proofing the trade.

Greencof

Greencof is active as an importer and exporter on the international market of unroasted coffee. It’s been around for almost two decades, but the Douque family name is a staple of the trade since as far back as 1895(!). Douqué Coffee is now helmed by the fourth generation of Douques, but their footprint in the world of coffee is bigger than that. For one, Niels’ father Norbert was one of the founding members of the Max Havelaar foundation, now known as Fairtrade, a rigorous independent system with best-in-class certification practices that has been making a global impact for decades.

As for Niels, he took over Greencof in 2021, where high-quality coffees from numerous coffee-producing countries occupy a special place. The unroasted coffees are purchased and delivered to roasters all over the world. “Either from storage in Antwerp or Hamburg, or directly from the producing country itself,” says Douque, who turned Greencof from a wholesaler into a specialist enterprise that focuses on long-term contracts with famers. “We have developed many close and long-term partnerships with producers and clients, while a sincere and transparent way of doing business is key to our approach.”

The complete Greencof assortment comprises more than two hundred varieties (both robusta and arabica), originating from virtually all coffee-producing countries in the world – from Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras and Brazil to Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania, and from India and Indonesia to Australia.

coffee-beans

The Green in Greencof

Sustainability is a huge part of Greencof’s approach, which is what spoke to us at Agiboo too. It is a certified FLO and Skal company (“which means that we are authorized to trade in Fairtrade and organic coffee”). As such, the company has a very clear focus on sustainably produced coffees – not only Fairtrade, but Organic, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ too. In fact, to Greencof sustainability is not a goal or a philosophy, much less a fashionable buzzword, but rather the everyday norm. “It’s how we do business.”

Given the family history and achievements, we already knew he isn’t just saying that simply because it speaks to corporate responsibilities these days. Greencof is on a mission to set a standard in the coffee world. “The way we work is to be automatically compliant so that the governance structure of the company is centered on that, linked to that. Now we’re looking to support that approach by the appropriate software – which is where Agiboo comes in.”

Streamlining

“One doesn’t choose a new software solution easily. Greencof is still in sort of a start-up phase, where we’re moving from wholesale to long-term relationships and contracts directly with famers. Which is why there is a necessity for new resources.” New and forthcoming legislation is playing a big role in that. “From 2025 on, there will several new laws for trade – ESG, CSRD, EUDR. It’s all about social-economic sustainability and responsibility and the proper documentation of each in every step of the way so that CFO’s and CEO’s can be accountable for it in their annual accounts and financial statements.”

“Smaller companies can be compliant a little later on, but for many enterprises – and the links in their supply chain – the time for change is now. We are not going to wait it out. As sustainability is already part of our DNA, we’re looking to wield the best IT solutions to create a completely transparent document trail to show how we work.”

As part of that journey, Greencof has already teamed up with FarmersDirect, who share the view that opening up the coffee chain requires full transparency. The journey of each coffee bean is recorded step by step in their open source blockchain. FarmersDirect’s founder is also the brains behind UTZ, so there is a lot of common ground.

“It’s not only about buying directly from farmers – fully traceable and knowing everything is on the mark – but also about emissions all the way along the supply chain. For instance, they provide a tool for carbon footprint measurements too.”

Given the challenge of creating a platform where all the needs and requirements of logistics and legislation can meet, Agiboo is now being tasked with assisting in that complex puzzle.

You can imagine a lot of tools and IT will have to be connected – and all of it needs to be compliant with current and future legislation too. “On the advice of Jan (van den Brom, Agiboo founding partner, red.) we’ll start with Business Central and MS Dynamics.”

Business Central

Business Central is part of the Microsoft Dynamics family, and shares the same data model as Navision, because NAV is being phased out in favor of its heir apparent. In other words, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (D365BC) is the successor of Dynamics NAV. It is one of the most used ERP software programs for business operations. Vasilok has created a connector for Agiboo that effortlessly links Agiblocks to Business Central in order to access the advantages of both tools – which is what makes the integration so special.

The coffee industry and indeed the soft commodities trade in general is unique and very specific. Your software should reflect that and have all those variables and requisites built-in to allow you the freedom and flexibility necessary to do your job as a commodity trader. That is what Agiblocks brings to the table – especially in its latest 4.0 version – and also what D365BC is missing. Of course, Agiblocks doesn’t feature the financial specifics of accounting. Business Central and Agiblocks are perfect complements.

microsoft-office

Bridging Agiblocks and MS Dynamics

D365BC is ideally suited to communicate with a product such as Agiblocks, you just need to ‘make a connection’. That bridge is offered by Vasilok; a link between a CTRM solution that is uniquely suited to a specific industry on the one hand, and all the financial possibilities and prowess of an ERP software package – specifically D365BC – on the other.

One of the advantages of D365BC – and indeed one of the reasons it matches so well with Agiblocks – is the international aspect, which is always the best option for the end user. It is now a SaaS solution in the cloud, just like Agiblocks. No dependence on location, end user or office tools – OSX versus Windows for example –, but simple convenience and efficiency. Nobody wants an office full of bookkeepers when a third of that manpower suffices. Lastly, it is part of the Microsoft Power Platform, so it can be matched to a variety of other useful tools. It integrates easily and is always a step ahead of the rest. It’s future-proof.

When it comes to accounting, every organization has to comply with local or national legislation. You can do that with D365BC without any problems, regardless of the market. Take the differences between Dutch GAAP and US GAAP, or the complex VAT-situation in Italy. It’s all there in Business Central, so you already have a first-class solution for your finances. Add Agiblocks as a best of breed software for commodity traders and you have the leading packages of both worlds. Efficient and easy to use technology, the global nature of both packages, a back-office that you can deploy worldwide, the benefits are endless.

Restoring confidence in the coffee industry

“At the end of the day, our USP is bringing confidence back to the coffee market thanks to transparency, fair trade and the way we conduct business”, says Douque. “The goal is to have the complete supply chain visible, mapped and linked. It not only enhances efficiency, but also demonstrably improves the position of our coffee farmers. Through technology, they can be provided with better solutions (more appropriate fertilizer, for example), which benefit the health of the farmers, of the product, and you can now map all that with IT and connect it to each other – reducing the cost price and increasing the yield for farmers. At the same time, audits and all legislative red tape becomes less and less costly because you can pluck those document trails right out of your transparent blockchain. We like to remain frontrunners and stay ahead in sustainability and the technology now makes that possible.”

“Agiboo was one of the first to come to mind, to be honest. A true product specialist that can guide us out of Excel mania. Excel has been the only tool flexible enough to navigate the coffee trade, outside of a dedicated CTRM such as Agiblocks of course. The logical step for us now is moving into an environment where we can link its CTRM prowess with MS Dynamics, our warehouses and the FarmersDirect platform. One of our warehouses runs on Dynamics, so that will be the pilot case. Implementation will start in the second week of March. We’re looking at an onboarding time of 30 days so it’s very exciting.”

coffee-tree

AGIBLOCKS DEMO

Agiblocks is the first CTRM software solution that simplifies the daily practices of commodity trade professionals. It has been developed with the single goal of making your fixed routine of commodity trading and risk management more efficient. Its clean user interface is simple with fast access to key functions. For every task, from creating a contract to evaluating your risk, all required information is readily available. It is as powerful on smartphones and tablet computers as it is on the desktop, so it’s accessible anytime, anywhere.

Experience our CTRM software solution for free and get a front-row seat to all the benefits Agiblocks has to offer with our free demo. The full range of Agiblocks functionality is available within the demo environment for your browsing leisure. Familiarize yourself with the tools and features of our powerful and agile software solution and find out how you can make the daily practices of commodity trade and risk management more efficient.

Fill out the form on agiboo.com/demo and we will get back to you.

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