Labour management and harvest technology provider AgPick Technology has enhanced the capabilities of its key tool, AgPick to include an SMS system, which allows growers to recruit and communicate with pickers directly ahead of the Australian cherry season.
Chief executive officer Henrietta Child said customer demand prompted the improved SMS functionality and a raft of updates implemented in time for this coming cherry season.
“The SMS integration enables growers to directly recruit and communicate with prospective pickers and plan their labour, via a simple system,” she said. “There’s a lot of intensity around the cherry season and it’s important for growers to be able to book their own labour and know who’s coming. Being able to plan labour quickly and simply, after more than two years of disruption to the seasonal workforce, should bring peace of mind to growers. We see this feature will have particular interest from any fresh produce growers with seasonal workforces.”
Photos courtesy of Aqua PR
Other key updates included the development of a detailed dashboard that captured real-time productivity and identified quality issues. As well, there had been further enhancement of its piece-rate calculation and recording feature which aligned with growers’ piece-rate management plans under the new Hort Award requirements.
“AgPick now has the ability to capture, in a rolling dashboard, much more complex and specific data such as who’s leading in productivity and what quality issues may be attributed to pickers," Ms Child said. "This enables the grower to get better control over quality issues, take appropriate action and eliminate potentially costly QA errors. Specific feedback includes frequency and severity. These updates happen in real-time, in the paddock and can be accessed from anywhere. We continue to enhance piece-rate calculations and reports – recording different piece-rates for different jobs on multiple blocks, all of which can be exported to payroll. The system supports both hourly and piece-rate operations and allows individual workers to easily move between hourly and piece-rates as they gain experience."
Ms. Child said many fresh produce growers across various sectors were still grappling with Fair Work’s ruling that they must keep accurate records of time and activity for pieceworkers and pay the minimum hourly rate under the variation to the Horticulture Award.
The system uses state-of-the-art RFID technology to capture data at the source and can read bar codes, UHF, and NFC tags. It can mix and match workflows to tailor the user experience to the farm’s needs.
AgPick relies on mobile devices and data upload and makes use of mobile touch screen technology to reduce or eliminate the need for tray tagging.
“It uploads information in real-time. It can tell the shed what’s coming from the field – what type of fruit, volumes and grade which enhances productivity and creates efficiencies,” Ms Child said. “We already have the technology, it’s affordable and easy to implement."
She said AgPick was now implemented in various tree crop operations as well as berries, table grapes and other horticultural crops. It could easily be configured for any fresh produce setting where hand-picking was involved.
Source: Aqua PR Press Release