Santa Maria Partners with Clarifruit to Automate its Quality-control Operations and Reduce Costs

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Santa Maria

About Santa Maria

Compañía Frutera Santa María S.A. was founded in 1989 with a vision to improve the export of high-quality fruits in order to meet all of its client’s expectations, with the value proposition – “The right fruit in the right place”. The company sees its mission as providing an integral and excellent export service in order to achieve one of the best results in the industry for each one of our growers.

Manual quality control was impacting accuracy and visibility for Santa Maria

Santa Maria is one of the leading grape exporters in the world, working with various growers across Chile, exporting their grapes to buyers globally. However, back in 2020, the company recognized that it was suffering from a heavily manual process for quality control inspections.

The company was exporting between one and two million cases of table grapes each season, and yet was collecting valuable data with pen and paper, and then entering it into Excel spreadsheets at the end of the day.

The manual effort involved in writing down the information, from fruit color to information about the stem or any defects took a lot of time. In addition, QC inspectors were manually marking the produce with a standard, A, B or C depending on their subjective opinion, causing a lack of consistency and control.

The solution for Santa Maria: Supporting front-end inspectors and back-end managers with AI and computer vision technology

Santa Maria reached out to Clarifruit in late 2020 to start their own journey to digitization.  

Today, Clarifruit’s AI-driven fresh produce platform leverages proprietary computer-vision technology to assess the quality of a wide variety of fresh produce for Santa Maria, and its customizable web application digitally designs and manages QC operations, auto-generating smart reporting, and analytics, all from a single dashboard. Each inspection adds data and improves the match, and Santa Maria can use the dashboard to search and filter a lot of different information. The company has reduced operational costs, and improved the way it manages quality control across the organization. 

The biggest change has been the gathering of QC information. “We use the same QC guys we did before, but they all use the Clarifruit app from their own mobile phones” said Andres Flores, Technical Manager at Santa Maria. “They complete all the inspections digitally, and automatically upload the data, so we can see everything online in real-time. We have packing houses from the North to the South of the country, and with this centralized dashboard we can see all inspections immediately. It’s become crucial for our business.”

After two seasons, Santa Maria now works with efficiency and accuracy through automation

Ongoing benefits for Santa Maria include:

  • Standardized QC reporting: With objective and consistent inspections, Santa Maria can get a clear view of the quality of table grapes across dozens of packing houses across the country. 
  • Objective information: Automated inspections ensure that all information is accurate, objective and consistent across all inspectors, providing clear and honest data about grape parameters, with no human error or bias. 
  • Full real-time visibility: At any time, QC managers can view inspections on the dashboard across multiple locations, drilling down into granular issues with quality control in real-time. 
  • Root-cause analysis: Senior management can perform root-cause analyses in an efficient and accurate manner through the Clarifruit platform, a task which used to be time-consuming and mundane.
  • Smart negotiation capabilities: Using the reports, Santa Maria can now renegotiate accurately, using the data as proof of granular information like the percentage of defects in any shipment.

“Through the Clarifruit platform, we now have accurate, real-time data uploaded in real-time at the moment of inspection to a single management dashboard. The real-time visibility has been a game-changer for our business.” Andres Flores, Technical Manager at Santa Maria.

Looking to make a change from manual processes to automated quality control? Request a free trial, here. 

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