Compostable bags vs plastic bags

We have all used a plastic bag in a supermarket to carry the fruit or vegetables that we needed to buy. We were probably not aware that such bags are considered “light or very light”, unlike those that are delivered at the checkout to carry the groceries, which are larger and heavier. Well, from 2020 onward, according to the Draft Royal Decree on the reduction of the use of plastic bags, instead of the current ones, in the fruit, vegetable, charcuterie, meat, fish and bread departments among others, we will have to use a compostable or biodegradable bag rather than a light or very light one. Continue reading Compostable bags vs plastic bags

“Major companies need to develop skills so as to explore other models that can enable them to find the customer of tomorrow”

Intrapreneurship, Lean Startups, the Internet of Things… these are increasingly common words in the world of work. To shed some light on these terms and to understand why they are used with ever increasing frequency, last week we went to the head office in Madrid to talk with Nestor Guerra, one of the leading lights in the world of startups. Nestor is CEO and co-founder of IEC, a startup that develops solutions for smart cities, a professor of Business Design & Lean Startup at the Industrial Organisation School (EOI) for Postgraduates, MBAs and in-Company and Professor of Innovation and Lean Startups at the h2i Institute.

– After assimilating the startups concept, another term appears, lean startups, of which you are a keen exponent. Could you tell us more about this term?

A lean startup is still a formal process for trying to resolve or validate business models. It’s based mainly on knowledge validated by experimentation and integration with the customer. Basically, it’s a framework of methodologies that in turn include different methodologies to enable a startup to be as adaptable as possible when it finds a product that fits in the market. Continue reading “Major companies need to develop skills so as to explore other models that can enable them to find the customer of tomorrow”

The concept of the boycott and its consequences

These days, due to the sociopolitical context in Spain, the word “boycott” has become commonplace, probably without the majority of people being aware that they have been practiced in the food sector for years, but have been dressed with concepts or nomenclatures that are more politically correct.

To boycott is to impede or interrupt the normal undertaking of a process or act as a means of protest or as a means of pressure to achieve something. Products such as palm oil or sugar have recently been immersed in a demonizing campaign to make them responsible for numerous evils. This has and continues to be true for brand name milk from the distributor, manipulated allusion links better price to lower quality. It has also happened with fish…and we could continue on with many more products because at any time of the year, whether due to problems of price, production and origin, there is always some boycotted product or company. Every year without exception.

Here, we don’t wish to debate the damages or benefits of food, rather one of the questions we raise is if the citizen thinks about the consequences of boycotts. There is no reliable data, at least that is publicly available, that exactly quantifies the drop in consumption of, for example, palm oil. However, the evidence we have shows a drop in prices at the origin. The same happens with sugar, which for example, dropped 40% in 5 months on the international market.

We do know that evolving demographics contributes to the drop in consumption of milk, and that campaigns that question its quality without a doubt harm the product.

But when demand for one product falls, normally demand for the other goes up. In the case of palm oil, the counterpoint is butter. After publishing several studies praising the properties of butter (it wasn’t long ago that it was vilified, by the way), it has been made into the star of the commodities market, reaching historical prices…The fall in milk consumption has its counterpoint in the demand for vegetable drinks, and we could continue on with the others.

Change, therefore, is obvious and always has been, but is it really change that the consumer wants?

Speaking of boycotts, it was inevitable to bring up Catalan products during these times. Trying to reflect beyond what we’re seeing and hearing in the media, many products that by definition are of Catalan origin are in part from other regions of Spain (because of its packaging or the preparation involved). When a boycott is considered, who is damaged most? And who really benefits from it? Perhaps other products from other Autonomous Communities, or perhaps, in a globalized world with markets so open, it’s possible that other neighboring countries have come out on top that at one point were boycotted…

In day-to-day business, companies have been willing to provide data of their purchases to other countries, but there is a difference between the CIF of a company, its headquarters and its factories.

Behind every product, and behind every company, there are many employees and citizens. We shouldn’t boycott “flippantly” because in most cases, we don’t know what we’re boycotting.

DIA’s digital commercial model wins the WfMC global awards

DIA Group has been chosen from a long list of Spanish and international companies as the winner of the Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC) awards for the development of its DCM (Digital Commercial Model) project. The WfMC is an international organization composed of innovators, developers, consultants, analysts and researchers committed to the workflow model and Business Process Management (BPM).

For just over a year and a half, the company has been working on the implementation of a task manager, owned by the company Auraportal, which has enabled full digitalization and greater automation of the mechanisms related to its commercial back office, analyzing the previous processes in depth to further optimize them in each of the countries in which it operates: Spain, Portugal, Brazil and Argentina.

Continue reading DIA’s digital commercial model wins the WfMC global awards

More action and collaboration to face a growing problem

The growing problem society has been facing in recent times as a result of the dangerous underage-drinking-fun equation is no secret. There are also many voices raising the alarm about the increasingly younger ages at which these young people try alcoholic beverages for the first time.

Last year’s data provided by the Ministry of Health in Spain itself are a wake-up call to everyone. Questions arise when we discover that according to these same figures, practically half of schoolchildren aged 14 who participated in outdoor drinking parties during last year have suffered at least one acute alcohol poisoning episode? Why is this figure so high? How do they have access to alcohol if it is banned by law? Is today’s society trivializing the effects that alcohol can have on the body and on the development of the youngest?

It is not about demonizing spirits. Not at all. From DIA we have always defended freedom of choice between each and every one of our products and which of course we consider the best in the market in their respective segments.  The point is to raise awareness and try to tackle widespread consumption among a segment of the population for whom alcohol intake can be fatal in the long term.

To this end, it is critical to be clear about who are the key players involved in this problem. In first place, the family. Without a fully aware family environment, it is impossible to make those young people realize that consumption at an early age will affect their short-term performance and their long-term development. Secondly, the participation of local bodies. A permissive legislation or an incorrect application of the same allows the attendance to mass outdoor drinking parties or to never ending night events in places where mass consumption occurs, relating the weekend or events with the consumption of alcoholic drinks. Thirdly, actions by businesses, distributors and those in charge of the sale. Without escaping responsibility that corresponds to us regarding the sales in our establishments, we should point out the existence of unorganized distribution stores that do sell alcohol to minors while looking the other way and without asking any questions. We must not forget the role of the hotel industry either.

This is the aim of DIA’s recently launched initiative “Stop Underage Drinking, A Challenge For All”. Involve each and every one of the people, bodies and companies that can and should do something to eradicate a problem that is clearly increasing. We are aware that this is a difficult task that cannot be faced by a single person or entity, thus the need to join forces in a project that we would like to share from DIA. DIA is already working to reinforce the training to communicate the message in a widespread manner; employees, adult consumers, our main target groups, but also minors whom we will address from our sports and social action projects. We also review our procedures and would like to contribute to this important challenge. It’s a long-distance race. We are aware.

In short, we would like to be the starting point, the hinge that opens the door to new projects, joint collaboration and, above all, common success.

We encourage active participation from the company. We must not forget “Stop Underage Drinking, A Challenge For All” and to benefit society as a whole.

It’s never too late: Comments on the Ruling of the ECJ regarding Spanish Regulations on below-cost-sales

On 19 October, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued a ruling (Case C-295/16) declaring that Spanish regulations on below-cost-sales contained in the Retail Trade Regulation Act (Law 7/1996), and therefore all related regulations applicable in autonomous regions, generally prohibiting below-cost-sales due to them being considered unfair in essence, except in cases where a company “is attempting to reach the prices of one or several competitors with a view to significantly affecting their sales, or in the case of perishable products that are reaching their sell-by date”, are illegal and contrary to the Law of the European Union. Continue reading It’s never too late: Comments on the Ruling of the ECJ regarding Spanish Regulations on below-cost-sales

Is it possible to compete with the Internet giants? The future is today

On September 26 and 27, DIA group held its International Management Convention in Madrid. This Senior Management Meeting revolved around the immediacy of a future packed with important changes in markets and their impact on business and on the consumer. Digital transformation is much more than just online commerce and is already generating a deep change in the retail sector, which, like any revolution or major change, entails threats and opportunities.

Placing ourselves among the first and looking outside the European borders, we see how big operators in the digital market are causing the mass closure of the more traditional retail formats to date, but above all, we see that consumers evolve in the way they increasingly consume and use tools that were unknown to them not long ago. As food for thought, the iPhone was released 10 years ago. Today there are 3 billion iPhones in the market, and they are expected to double in 3 years’ time. Large digital operators control the use of these tools and how to reach consumers through them. But let’s not fool ourselves, since they also make large investments in price that are focused on controlling the categories, and their size allows them to do so.

In the most advanced markets it is often said that the “digital future is a reality”. In China, for example, the internet cannot be used to make only online purchases, but the development of large Market Places is a new way of life for consumers, we enter a universe where these markets are used to discover new products, compare prices, or establish an open form of dialog with the market. In China it is common practice to be able to make a purchase through your mobile phone and pay through it.

If we move to the US, we have a huge operator, which aims to be the company that focuses more in consumer goods. Be the preferred choice in the retail sector. A retail sector that covers all-things consumable, including food.

In both cases we are talking about operators that far exceed the size of any of the European operators. That is, market capitalizations that exceed €400 million. Now let’s compare this figure with that of any European operator, or beyond, with the total of the Spanish market. The comparison inevitably leads to a reflection on whether Europe is prepared for an already present revolution that comes from outside, and whether its operators will have the capacity to compete. As we have seen, the reality is that capitalization is much lower, its purchasing power is almost non-existent in comparative terms and the speed of change in Europe is much slower. Perhaps the multiple and historical interests will cause that we cannot see the forest for the trees.

Not everything are threats, there are opportunities too; the technology and the networks allow us to access the knowledge to be able to compete and to continue being next to that consumer that is in constant change. But in order to compete and in order to reach those opportunities, we must stop looking back, to limited spaces, the market is broad and must be free. Alliances are necessary and obstacles must be removed. Let’s not waste time because since will miss the opportunity. The future is today and these operators know it.

Much more than just a sports sponsorship

From DIA we started to consider the possibility of going further in the collaboration agreement with the Federation and its team that both entities uphold since 2014, we did not suspect for one moment the warm welcome and the excitement that female basketball in this country had in it. We were aware of the difficult path that the players and technical staff have to give voice to basketball, a sport with such a large fan base, and the desire to fight for the visibility of a sport that is not yet where it deserves in terms of media coverage. But there is different between what we are told and what can actually be experienced. And, indeed, excitement cannot be broadcasted, it needs to be experienced.

We have met with a group of people whose values define and promote us as a company. Respect, team work and, above all, the desire to excel, have made us look upon the DIA Basketball League as a benchmark. This is the first sports sponsorship agreement that the company signs in its more than 35 years of history. And the experience is as good as it gets. Continue reading Much more than just a sports sponsorship

Running against child poverty. Would you join us?

The fight against child poverty requires determination and firm actions. Therefore, in our company we believe that only by playing a leading role in this battle and adding our efforts and synergies can this difficult challenge be tackled.

DIA Group organizes the first ‘Solidarity Race against Child Poverty’, to be held on November 26 in the Alamillo Park in Seville, in support of the NGO Save the Children. This family, social and sports event, aimed at people of all ages, aims to raise funds for those projects the NGO carries out to support the care of children living in poverty in the capital of Andalusia.

This action, in which, in addition to these two entities, also has the participation of Andalusia’s Local Government, the City of Seville and the company Jolca, is part of the Alliance against Child Poverty in Andalusia, launched in June 2015 and was joined by the autonomous administration and thirty-one entities and organizations of the Andalusian civil society. Its goal is to offset the effects of the crisis and the exclusion and child poverty in Andalusia. Continue reading Running against child poverty. Would you join us?

Dismantling myths

In a complex world where so many economic, technological, and human factors are involved, we often hear about the strong or weak party in a negotiation, a chain, or a production system. Nevertheless, reducing the complexity of processes to a mere adjective does not make things simpler, nor does it help improve the efficiency of such chains or processes.

It is also common to hear about fair or unfair relations between the parties. If we draw from a concept of justice, in which it is defined as a moral principle that encourages individuals to act and judge in a spirit of respect for truth and of giving people what they deserve, the question becomes even more awkward, as there are many parties, and many truths. Who knows what each person deserves when in twenty-one centuries of history human beings have never reached agreement on this point, nor on many others.

In the agri-food sector, various parties are involved, including suppliers (agri-food, logistics, technology and service companies, etc.), consumers, the primary sector, regulators, competitors, shareholders and employees, among others.

Establishing, in a general manner, who is the strong or weak party should be no simple task. However, there is one axiom that recurs constantly and persistently: the primary sector is the weakest link. Thanks to this axiom, the primary sector continues to receive considerable direct and indirect aid that other parts of the chain do not enjoy. Continue reading Dismantling myths