July 06, 2021
MAUÁ, the Los Grobo app
The agricultural company launched a specialized platform for producers.

The technological advances of the 21st century are allowing us to digitize all the areas that we know. The latter has gained further momentum with the coronavirus pandemic and quarantines.

However, there are companies that have been implementing this type of practice for several years. Los Grobo is a modern company based on innovation and with a great presence in different areas of the agribusiness sector. Along these lines, a few months ago, the company launched its MAUÁ platform, designed to facilitate the day-to-day work of producers.

In an exclusive interview with Data PORTUARIA, Ianir Sonis, leader of the “MAUÁ Project”, and María Cuesta, head of the Institutional Relations and Communication Area at Los Grobo, tell us about the development process of this innovative digital tool and what they are its main characteristics.

How did the idea for MAUÁ come about?

M. Cuesta: The Los Grobo group has always been a pioneer in the application and investment of technologies applied to the agricultural sector. They were the first to use precision agriculture, environmental management, the use of drones and even satellite images for field monitoring.

The company's Board of Directors worked on a projection of the company 10 years from now. He started a job that led us to analyze on the one hand what was happening in the world, on the other what our clients needed, and how these clients imagined that future.

Hundreds of Agtech options were analyzed and fundamentally an academic work was done, with two professors from U. de San Andrés (Jorge Forteza and Luciana Pagani) where producers and leaders of the sector were interviewed.

We realized that most of the interviewees thought that there was going to be a new technological convergence that was going to transform agriculture, and also that producers required simple solutions that solve their daily problems; With these two hypotheses we began to work on what would become Mauá. Conceptually we define not so much the details as the orientation.

The producers found it difficult to access transactional information, they wanted to see the current account in a transparent way, in an easy and friendly way. To achieve this, it was necessary to carry out a very complex work of integration with the company's ERPs. But there was also a series of content that we were interested in being available because that led to the producers staying longer in the platform environment, and from there the other verticals that are present in this first stage of the platform arose: Reports of climate and markets, satellite images, input control and the Community Section.

I.Sonis: The information that the respondents gave us we translated into "what are the" pains "of the producers?" in order to understand the technological ecosystem that they were already using. They explained to us that, from the first hour of the day, they checked their email, the dollar price, the forecast, etc. Therefore, our idea was to consolidate all that data on a single platform. This positions MAUÁ and Los Grobo at the center of the technological connection and the business.

What are the main benefits of MAUÁ?

I. Sonis: The main thing has to do with the granary and monetary account. We understand the account, not only as the information itself, but as the relationship between the company and the client. A client does not only enter his account to understand his situation, but to understand his position with respect to the company and vice versa.

M.Cuesta: The business is very complex since it does not involve just knowing how much someone has of a product or how much they spent. It was necessary to cross a lot of information from other bases of the company to be able to put everything in a simple way. Thus, the producer can operate knowing everything he owns.

We integrate information bases to create a kind of Home Banking that allows us to know the amount of cash, grains, delivery dates, input debts, and many other integrated questions.

The idea was to create a space for relational knowledge, market decisions and technological decisions, where the group, through this information, allows the user to build knowledge and make decisions.

How was the development of the platform?

I. Sonis: The development process began with an investigation that allowed us to understand trends at the national and international level and to know what similar initiatives existed.

The second step was a process, together with different providers, in relation to the user experience to focus and understand who the producer of Los Grobo is. The analysis and consulting took almost half a year.

Then there was another half year to develop the platform itself. During this process we worked with many providers in the interior of Argentina, such as Tandil, Cazares or the Universidad del Centro, who were in charge of various tasks, such as processing satellite images.

Although MAUÁ was launched in March, since the beginning of the year we had started trials with a select group of producers called “Beta”. We asked them to use the app to see what came up on a day-to-day basis. Beyond this, product development is never going to end because it can always be improved. There is always more to do.

M.Cuesta: To summarize this idea, the process started a year and a half earlier. Once we got the platform to work with Beta producers, the new challenge was to project a large reach and generate interest in the product. The most interesting thing is that MAUÁ is not only for Los Grobo customers, since everyone in the sector can download it and use some of its functions. This also generates a more emotional bond between the participants, since it makes it possible to take part in various events.

Today, MAUÁ allows access to weather reports, satellite images, market information, such as the Chicago Stock Exchange, and view transactions with the company.

In these first three months, what have been the results? Are there new projects in mind?

I.Sonis: In the first instance, very good. We achieve that the producers have a very good adoption of the platform. This does not only mean that they download or install it, but that every day the producers enter it and interact with it. They adopted the platform as a tool for everyday use.

Regarding MAUÁ, we are already developing the next version. We have many ideas to improve and mitigate the pain of producers so that they can do more and better business with Los Grobo based on more efficient information.

M.Cuesta: As a company, the projected growth is to continue incorporating new branches and we hope to open five new ones in 2022. The idea is to accompany this development with new tools. We are on our way to digitize a lot of company processes.

What does the satellite image service imply?

I. Sonis: There are many sources of satellite images. Today Los Grobo are using images from the Sentinel 2 satellite, which provides free and open images. Its resolution is good, although we make the real difference through processing.

We evaluated about 15 providers of this type of services, from Argentineans to Europeans, and we ended up opting to develop our own processing engine, understanding the particularities of the region and the area where Los Grobo has influence. Our added value is in how we process the images and allow producers to view productivity rates or the NDVI. You can see how the progression of these indices was in each batch and even take measurements on them. →

Automatic translation from spanish.

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