Every year, Steirische Beerenobstgenossenschaft eGen. sells about 8 million kg of black and red currants, elderberries, elderflower and chokeberry. About 300 active berry farmers produce conventionally or according to EU organic standards. Most of the berries are industrially processed and exported to the EU or overseas. It takes an average of only 7 hours from the harvest on over 1,200 hectares of cultivated land throughout Austria to the freezing facility in Lieboch. Sophisticated logistics based on the daily harvest quantities are the foundation for the perishable elderberries to be frozen in the best quality.
The daily harvest quantity to be collected at each transfer point was previously determined by morning telephone calls from the head office to the 18 transfer points. The managers of these transfer points in turn had to talk to the farmers from their areas to get the planned daily harvest quantities. As a result, harvest quantities were often only given as estimates or daily events such as rain falsified the quantities given in the morning.
Optimized daily processes
This long communication path and the falsified daily reports initiated the search for a solution to optimize this daily process. The requirements for the new system were defined as: compatibility with the existing ERP system, executability on cell phones with Android as well as iOs and ease of use.
In the closer selection process, the decision was made in favor of the GO! solution from activeIT Software & Consulting GmbH, whose ERP system is already in use at the Steirische Beerenobstgenossenschaft eGen. Mr. Vötsch, responsible for quality and process of the company, about the decision why traceNET GO! is the final choice: "Because GO! is 100% compatible with traceNET and we save further license fees and interfaces". Pleased he adds: "The app has been custom-made for us and is intuitively easy to use".
With the new mobile solution traceNET GO! current values of the daily harvest quantities can be reported by the farmer via smartphone and thus more efficient forwarding services can be carried out. In addition, future harvest quantities per field or field piece including varieties are recorded, which allows planning and an overview of the harvest progress.
Digitalization of food produce
The predominant process is now digital. "At present, our farms report their planned daily harvest quantities by 10:00 a.m. - they can change these during the day (e.g. in case of rain). In the evening at 05:00 p.m. we know exactly how much each producer will deliver to where. We can send trucks to the transfer points with relative accuracy and schedule collective shipments. We know which varieties are harvested and the freezing service providers can prepare themselves for the daily space requirements," Mr. Vötsch explains.
Digitalization has long since entered the industry. However, it requires the right partner to address and implement the special processes of food producing companies. "There is no way around software solutions. It allows us to increase and control efficiency, quality and minimize costs. Some results could not be achieved at all or only with extreme effort without software solutions," Mr. Vötsch concludes.