Why does Tshwane Market want to reinvent the wheel?

South Africa’s fresh produce commission markets have a number of unique features that set them apart from other markets around the world.

One is the Freshmark Systems software, which captures daily sales data from 18 markets. This useful information is available monthly from the Tshwane Market, which consolidates the basic data on behalf of the SA Union of Food Markets. 

The Freshmark Systems program has been around for nearly 30 years and has grown from providing basic sales data into a system that covers a wide range of statistics. It is continually updated to stay in line with clients’ requirements.

A good example of this is Technofresh. This provides producers with exclusive sales information on their products per market at any given time. A valuable marketing and management tool, the information can only be accessed via a PIN code so it remains confidential.

Odd man out
It is now common knowledge that the management of Tshwane Market has decided to develop its own IT system. The process is already underway, and I’m having difficulty grasping the logic behind an expensive and potentially problematic move of this kind.

However, since the die seems cast, this new development invites some questions. Will it do the same job and even better than the existing system? Can it be done cheaper, faster and more effectively? What real benefits does it hold for the role players that they don’t currently enjoy?

The project is going to cost many millions of rands and will not be without its teething problems. If it is replacing a redundant, outmoded system there could be some sense in it. But, as noted, Freshmark has continually upgraded and offers a state-of-the-art IT system.

Another factor?
Freshmark also offers many years of hard-won experience that is invaluable to its clients. It doesn’t come for free of course, but the investment is worthwhile. Why does Tshwane Market want to reinvent the wheel? Is there another factor involved of which we are unaware?

I’m all for new developments in our industry, but each has to add value for its users. Can Tshwane Market make this claim for its new IT system?