My previous four posts centred on several projects associated with the Catalan Integral Cooperative (AureaSocial, MaCUS, CASX and SOM Pujarnol). In this one I would like to share with you my notes on one of the most active CIC committees, known as the CAC.
The Central d’Abastiment Catalana (CAC), which means “Catalan Supply Center”, was formed in 2012 with the purpose of creating a logistics network for the transportation and delivery of the products of small producers, who are (“self-employed”) CIC members, across the entire Catalonia. In effect, it is a public service that CIC offers to small producers and consumer-prosumer groups in Catalonia.
The main infrastructure of the network are the so-called “rebosts”, that is, the self-managed pantries that the CIC has set up all over Catalonia – twenty of them, to be exact – which constitute the “cell” of the organizational structure of the network. Each one of them is run autonomously by a local consumer group that wishes to have access to local products as well as products made (by producers associated with the CIC) in other parts of Catalonia through the list of products provided by the CAC (which currently includes more than a thousand products). The way that the supply chain is organized is as follows: the products go from the seventy producers that currently supply the network to the two principal rebosts in L’Arn and Villafranca and then are distributed by the CAC vans to the local rebosts, where from the local consumer groups collect them.
CAC is made up of a team of four persons, half of whom are working full-time. This team is responsible for coordinating the network of rebosts through CAC’s online platform, which the rebosts use in order to choose the products they want and submit their orders. The payment for the orders can be made in euros, ecos or by using CAC’s preferred mode of payment, which is barter exchange. In this way, the CAC platform serves as the “instrument” which enables the coordination of consumption and production in such a distributed environment.
In addition to performing a coordinating role through its online platform, CAC is also responsible for the transportation and delivery of products from the producers to the rebosts. In this task, it is assisted by five-six more persons, who use their own vehicles to transport and deliver products to some areas of the network. To cover their expenses, these collaborators receive 21 cents for every kilometer they make.
For its sustainability, CAC relies on income from two main sources: first, it collects 5% of the price of every product, as well as 18 cents for every kilo it delivers. At the same time, CAC members receive a “basic income” from CIC.
For organizational matters, the CAC team has three meetings per month, which often have the character of an assembly. However, the place where they are held is not fixed: each meeting is held in a different rebost in order to facilitate interaction between the “coordinating organ” and the “local nuclei of self-organization”, as the CIC calls the local consumer groups that are responsible for the operation of each rebost.
In line with CIC’s strategy of decentralization, CAC’s plans for the future are focused on strengthening the links between rebosts and producers so that payments can be made directly by the rebosts without the intermediation of the CAC.
Following up on this “profile” of the CAC, in my next post I will discuss another important CIC committee, the so-called XCTIT, which is responsible for the development of tools and machines geared to the needs of the productive projects in CIC’s network.