The device interfaces with the market’s real-time electronic trading system, eliminating the need for a cashier. This must surely promote better efficiency and accuracy.
To appreciate the importance of this new service, we need to understand the current mechanics of payment at a fresh produce market. Traditionally, buyers always came to the market with cash to make their purchases.
This was a dangerous and inconvenient practice, especially for those carrying large sums. They then had to queue at the market cashier to make their payments, a tedious process for buyers eager to get fresh stock into their shops.
Some years ago, a buyer debit card system was introduced. This enables buyers to deposit cash at their convenience and avoid carrying wads of cash. But they still have to queue at the cashier’s cubicle.
Safer, faster and more convenient
Durban’s cash deposit device goes a crucial step further, combining safety and convenience. What’s more, it shows that the market is paying attention to its customers – the buyers.
This is not to say the farmers are ignored, but customer service – meeting buyers’ needs – should always be under the spotlight.
The indirect benefits are obvious. A safe, convenient and comfortable environment attracts more buyers – to the advantage of farmers and market agents.
Roll-out to other markets?
A small device like the cash deposit device might not look like much to the casual observer but the implications of its presence and use are considerable.
In its newsletter, Durban market says it has demonstrated the device to other market managers. I trust they have all returned to their markets determined to introduce a similar set-up!
Michael Cordes is an agricultural journalist, consultant, trainer and former farmer.