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How Innovation in Commodities Can Put Your Business on Track for the Future

Como a inovação em commodities pode colocar seu negócio nos trilhos do futuro

Technological innovations will be a support vector for the production chain


Contemporary society faces unprecedented and almost frightening scenarios, such as climate change, global tensions, and population growth. According to IBGE, Brazil has experienced a population increase of 6.5% in the last twelve years, surpassing 203 million.


In the coming decades, the world will be home to 9.5 billion people, according to a UN report. These are just some of the reasons why agribusiness should focus on innovation in commodities and thus ensure that the production chain keeps pace with this socio-economic context. 


In parallel, the digital revolution has allowed an exponential leap in the evolution of everything we do and produce. The challenge now is to implement new technologies in commodity production so that it adapts to current and future times.


The importance of innovation in the commodity production chain

The added value brought by the implementation of technological innovations is undeniable and brings numerous contributions. As mentioned in my last article (read here), agriculture is already connected: a survey by the University of Brasília showed that over 95% of rural producers, here in Brazil, use some form of digital technology. This data is convenient for maintaining the national economy, given that agriculture represents a significant portion of our GDP.


It's interesting to imagine how habits and customs have changed so rapidly in recent decades. Today, with minimal effort, it's possible to have decisive business information at your fingertips: what the weather will be like in the next few days; the exchange rate of currencies involved in your transactions; forecasts and data on grain harvests in the country.


A importância da inovação na cadeia produtiva de commodities

Among the main benefits of technological innovation for commodity production are increased productivity, more accurate analyses and forecasts, both in the field and on the factory floor, and better supply chain management. All within reach of a screen, through management software that allows you to take a closer and more attentive look at what's happening. 


It becomes outdated to think that commodity production is not related to products conceived in places like MIT, such as artificial intelligence or DNA studies. After all, work optimization brings added value that puts your brand in the spotlight and ahead of competitors.


O que dizem as pesquisas

What the research says

A curious 2021 data point from McKinsey regarding the digitization of processes in the national agriculture sector is that, due to the pandemic, there was a 10% increase in the use of digital means by farmers. Today, it is known that a good portion of agricultural producers use some internet-connected resource for field work, even if it's just a simple cell phone for consultations. This digitization has also contributed to the increase and agility of commercial transactions in agriculture.


The use of drones is also highlighted in the agricultural production cycle. Their operation ensures 66% accuracy in pasture monitoring, according to research conducted by Embrapa between 2019 and 2021.


Another disclosure, from the World Economic Forum report, revealed that regenerative agriculture, with the help of artificial intelligence, will generate 62 million jobs and businesses that exceed the trillion-dollar mark.


New Workforces

In practice, Agriculture 4.0 optimizes the commodity production cycle, with data automation in the virtual environment and machine-to-machine communication (M2M).


This technological advancement enables functionalities such as:

  • Integration with employees' mobile devices;

  • Cloud storage of information;

  • Easy access to industry best practices knowledge.


All these categories are factors of development and automation for the production chain.


If machines can solve issues that used to take up more of an employee's time, now it will be possible to assign specializations and more strategic planning.


Thus, a favorable context is opened for the overall business growth, as well as for the qualification and/or hiring of high-performance teams.


Desafios e oportunidades na inovação de commodities

Challenges and Opportunities in Commodity Innovation

Connectivity in Rural Areas

Internet access in rural areas raises concerns about the application of technological innovations. Innovation in commodities can greatly help rural producers leverage and grow their commercial activities.


However, with weak or no coverage in certain regions that encompass their lands, it is practically unfeasible to invest in devices that depend on the internet for their functioning. Except for functionalities that can work offline.


But the scenario is optimistic: according to the 2021 ICT Household survey, internet access in the rural population increased from 51% to 71% between 2019 and 2021. Mostly through cell phones, which shows that the number of connection points is constantly expanding.


Although rural areas have less focus from telecommunications companies than urban centers, technological innovations are already serving as a boost for increasing coverage and subsequently speed.


The Success Case "From Field to Pump"

One of the successful cases illustrating good technological implementation in a company is the Shell Box app, created by AP Digital Services.


The application was developed as a digital solution from Shell to offer convenience and benefits to drivers in Brazil. It enables mobile payments and loyalty rewards for refueling at the brand's stations.


The incentive for loyalty has increased customer retention and has become an essential tool for many drivers who appreciate its ease of use and the benefits offered. Today, it has processed over 35 billion fuel transactions, with over 40 million transactions in total.


This can be a source of inspiration to rethink the relationship between the supplier and the buyer, as well as to centralize workflows internally and offer rewards in certain situations. This way, it will be possible to acquire added value with innovation and even gamification, providing a more organized journey for the company and a pleasurable experience for the employee and/or customer (click here to learn more about the case).


O case de sucesso “Do campo ao posto”

The innovation in commodities is an opportunity for the Brazilian agribusiness to become more efficient, sustainable, and competitive. Companies that invest in technology and overcome the challenges of the sector will be better positioned for success in the future.


Click here and discover how AP Digital Services can help you achieve this goal:




Luciana Miranda







Professional with over 20 years of experience in product development and innovation. Luciana has worked in major companies such as CI&T, Coca-Cola Company, and Accenture.

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