Belgian company Aucxis is active in 26 countries globally. It's known in Belgian and Dutch fresh produce sectors mainly for its auctioning systems. "Auction automation is just one of our business units," says Patrick Bauwens of Aucxis. "We also have one for our regulator. This is used for long-term storage of apples and pears. For this, we work with [the Dutch CA Technology company] Van Amerongen. Our latest business unit concerns RFID. These solutions are used to track products like vegetables from the grower to the supermarket shelf."
“Auction systems are used worldwide. But they aren't as popular everywhere as in Western Europe, particularly in the Netherlands and Belgium. Not all products are auctioned. They're sold via, for example, contracts too. However, auctions are still the best way to determine correct reference prices. That convinces me that auctions certainly have a future. Outside Europe, the first major auction with a clock system was the Brazilian flower auction. They successfully copied this system from the Dutch. That auction is still in use."
In Western Europe, auction systems are well-developed. So much so that remote purchasing has been possible for more than a decade already. Buyers can purchase their products from home or their office. And everyone considers this routine practice. "We recently installed a new auction system in Saudi Arabia," says Patrick.
"That was at the country's largest date auction. We managed to implement the system before the date season started. That was despite the coronavirus and all the measures we had to consider. The implementation was done entirely remotely from our offices in Belgium. Not at the client's site."
LED wall at Veiling Rhein Maas, Germany
“Under normal circumstances, a potential client would travel to Belgium. We'd visit an auction house to determine their needs. Does the client want everything done virtually, or do they want an auction room? We answer all their questions and make plans. The client then returns to Belgium for training. Our team goes on-site to install everything and train the people there," Bauwens explains.
"Our people are on-site for support during the first trading weeks too. We assist companies with the transition to a new clock sales system. To do so, we regularly work together with former auction directors. As experienced experts, they can often give new clients good advice on how an auction should function."
Kosmos screen for buyers
Online auction systems have been around for more than ten years. These systems are becoming increasingly important. That's since the internet has become available everywhere, anytime. "This trend will continue. But we shouldn't underestimate an auction room's power. There, buyers get an idea of how the market's faring. The great social aspect also plays a role because you can have contact with fellow buyers," continues Patrick.
"Nevertheless, there's an increasing demand for virtual auctions. Two years ago, we deployed Kosmos, a new platform. That's in response to this trend. This cloud solution is straightforward to use. The buyer simply goes to a certain website and starts buying. Kosmos was fully ready for use in June 2019."
The auctioneer's Kosmos screen
“Kosmos meets the market need for purchasing goods via your smartphone, laptop, or tablet. The market is becoming increasingly international. So, it's very appealing to attract buyers in this way. There are no more purchasing barriers. We're in discussion with many fruit and vegetable auction houses in Belgium and the Netherlands too. They may want to implement Kosmos."
"We expect several of them to be working with this system within a couple of years. We also continually invest in Kosmos by adding contract and webshop sales. We want to continue to adapt the Kosmos system according to market requirements. Then we can always offer an innovative, modern solution," Patrick concludes.