IoT - Amazon Forest
The biggest e-commerce company in Brazil, Natura, and their Innovation team had decided to work together with Telefonica Innovation team to explore solutions using IoT.
Natura Brasil is Brazil's number 1 cosmetics manufacturer, and the country's leader in the direct sales sector. The company employs around 7000 staff in seven countries: Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, and France.
Sustainable development has been the company's guiding principle in the same way than direct sales, at present, more than 1,421,000 Consultants. Innovation is at the heart of Natura Brasil's sustainable development policy. Last year, the company spent 61.5 million euros on product development.
I’ve met Natura Innovation manager in an Innovation event in Sao Paulo and we decided to book a meeting to understand what both companies were working on at that moment and explore what we could do together. During this meeting, we realize that the projects that Telefonica was working at that moment, related with IoT could complement and even solve some problems that they’re having on their side, on the production/logistics saw many different opportunities and listed some of them, but we decided to use our teams to explore possibilities.
Once we defined some topics that could guide the conversation we did a co-creation workshop with Natura and Telefonica’s Innovation team and also invite all Natura employees to participate in what we called: Future Party.
We had 7 themes divided by desks and one responsible in each desk for taking notes and register what was going on. People were invited to come and talk about each one of the themes for how much time they could and change desks/themes and please them, everything really free of specific methodologies. It was amazing to see people from diverse areas as legal/ logistic /sustainability and other sectors participating in the chat and sharing their thoughts.
All conversations generate ideas and show us some pain points but our both teams decided to invest time to create a proof of concept to solve one of them:
Drying of murumuru almonds (specific Brazilian almond), whose oil is used as the raw material for products, is a stage in the production process with a great impact on the quality of the final product - the oil extracted from a single spoiled seed during this process can damage the whole lot. All almonds are produced for riverside communities in the middle of the Amazon forest. How could Natura avoid this to happen and help the local communities who produce the oil to have a more efficient process?
We did 2 different types of process in the discovery phase:
Run in-depth user interviews with Natura Sustainability team and on Site team, responsible for dealing with the producers and for the whole murumuru almond process: from the riverside community until the oil delivered at the production line.
Field research: to understand the producers routine and structure used in the process.
By using sensors to identify humidity and temperature on the drying mats in the communities it would be possible to compare the production between communities, validate how much time the almonds need to be inside the drying matt structure and if the current standard model for drying the almonds is the best one.
The project consisted in monitoring the process by means of temperature and humidity sensors installed on drying mats in communities in Amazonas and Pará. These sensors produced data, then sent to an IoT (Internet of Things) platform. All the development of the technology was also supported by the Research Center of the Mauá Engineering University.
Three months after the implementation of the project, it was possible to monitor seeds drying and storage online, with important discoveries that impacted the structure of the drying greenhouse.
The monitoring also resulted in an unprecedented historical data series that improved the drying process of murumuru and other almonds, showing the temperature and humidity variations at different times of the day and their impact on the drying process.
Ronaldo Freitas, Sustainability Manager / Product Owner: "Monitoring indicates alternatives and opportunities for quality improvement and cost reduction. This will allow producer communities to add value to the murumuru and increase their yield, as there may be improvements in quality and productivity, with fewer losses. "