A leading New Zealand fresh produce software provider says it is receiving unprecedented demand for its services, particularly following the latest successful implementation of its packhouse solutions.
Earlier this year, Radford Software onboarded leading Australian asparagus producer and distributor Raffa Fields to implement a packhouse system entirely remotely. Annually, Raffa produces around 2000 tonnes of premium asparagus in the Koo Wee Rup region of Victoria for domestic and export consumption, and Radfords Customer Success Manager Royce Sharplin says sharing news of their success has been able to attract further interest from other companies.
"They have hosted a number of industry colleagues, who have then come to us and said, based on what we have seen, we want that too," he said. "This is really exciting and has added to the current high demand we have. We've had to re-focus on managing and planning our work ahead, managing our resources effectively, and striving to deliver the best result for our customers. It's a good problem to have as it presents a new set of challenges and learnings. They (Raffa Fields) have been exceptional as a customer to work with; they are a prime example of a family-run business who have gone a long while with manual processes and has turned up with a real appetite for what efficiencies they could gain with our software. They have been a big part of their own transformation and, in turn, helped to future-proof what we have implemented entirely remotely. We haven't set foot in their packhouse yet, but we're looking forward to getting on-site at some stage."
Radford Software previously told FreshPlaza that its objective is to provide systems that help streamline day-to-day operations on farms and orchards, ensuring input and resource data is captured and maintained in one central location. There are four modules that interact to achieve this purpose; FreshGrow, FreshPack, FreshQuality, and FreshInsights. FreshPack and quality control-focused application FreshQuality were launched at Raffa Fields' Victorian packhouse in time for the 2021 spring harvest.
Radfords also has a strategy to diversify into broader fresh produce sectors to complement our 'traditional' customers in kiwifruit, apple, citrus, and avocado markets - and Mr. Sharplin says increased interest from the vegetable sector, such as asparagus and leafy salads (and the ongoing project with onion and potato heavyweights Mitolo Family Farms) has been greatly welcomed.
"There is enough functionality and flexibility in the product to navigate category-specific terms and adapt to variances in business processes," Mr. Sharplin explained. "The Raffa implementation was a good affirmation of this for us, as we have made a conscious effort over the past few years to make our solutions as 'produce agnostic' as possible to ensure that we can continue to cater to different categories. The fact we implemented it remotely, with minimal customization for asparagus production, was a real confidence booster. It was almost surprising how 'out of the box' the implementation was. It has also shed light on how we can do things more efficiently and further refine our processes."
Radfords are already well involved in the fresh produce industry in New Zealand and Australia, and expansion plans involve targeting the Northern American market with resources on the ground in the United States.
New platform to be showcased at Hort Connections
Radford Software will be attending next month's Hort Connections in Brisbane (stand 215), where it will showcase its software solutions, providing operational efficiencies from soil to supermarket. That includes the new platform on which FreshGrow and FreshQuality are built, which the company has invested a lot in the continual refinement of the User Interface (UI).
"FreshGrow is our orchard management solution, enabling control and visibility of orchard event planning, spray diaries, timesheet, and labor capture. There's more to come in the form of a comprehensive chemical inventory and more – the end result, one port of call for any orchard or farm manager," Mr. Sharplin said. "The key for these users is to make the experience as intuitive and simple as possible, as when you are out on the farm, you want straightforward, easy UI. So, for us, part of that has been about supplementing our web-based application with the ability to capture and perform duties from a mobile app, ensuring data can be captured regardless of internet connection - straight from a user's phone."
Hort Connections 2022 will be held in Brisbane from June 6-8.