Harvest & workforce management in real time web-based application

Necessity is the mother of invention – at least that’s what Proverbs said. The Steed brothers felt the same way. When they saw the need for a tracing system within their own San Diego family farm, they created PickTrace. “In the process of doing so, they found that there are other farms out there that have the same needs,” explained Aly McCarthy of PickTrace. 

Harvest & workforce management
The system has multiple applications for harvest and workforce management, accessed from a mobile phone. Results are downloaded into an online secure web management system. The workforce management component is what McCarthy says makes them more unique. “Tracking time, attendance, and productivity of the employees was a challenge before they deployed PickTrace on the farm. ”Customers can move away from documenting on paper. Just having a system that tracks (details) and puts it into a report saves hours and hours of data entry,” she said. The system, as a whole, includes portable devices, an online interface, minimum wage and break calculations, mass time-card editing, multi-ranch analytics, automatic report-to-email capability, the ability to create new employees offline, real-time data and 24/7 support. 

Using the system to simplify payroll and access analytics that can be used for quick business decisions, McCarthy says, is “very valuable.” From a workforce management perspective it cuts out paperwork and manual data entry and is automatically collected into one system. From a harvest management perspective, accurate projections are easier to monitor, including field-by-field comparisons to see which new varieties or techniques are performing better than others. 

Managing employee productivity
Handpicking operations are the companies that would benefit the most, although McCarthy says they do have some clients that run machinery. With handpicking there appears to be added value in the system because it can track so many variables from a human resources and performance perspective. You can see which employees are most productive and even which crews are most productive. It also has potential to keep workers more accountable. “The customers we work with say that they see a 15-20 per cent increase in productivity in their workers just by having the information tracked. You can imagine that translates into a lot of savings.”

Identifying disengaged employees
According to sample calculations they performed, even just a five per cent increase in productivity with a 500-person workforce translates to the equivalent of having 25 more employees in the field. “At a time when labor is pretty short that makes a huge impact,” McCarthy said. “The other end is sometimes our customers see there are employees who are disengaged with their work – with the system they can identify who those employees are.” Data is pinpointed by scanning the employee’s badge, which can also be associated with the containers they’re picking. 

It would appear that there are tangible results and tangible savings to be had. McCarthy says the results are tangible and they work closely with customers to make sure operations benefit from the system. Currently they have systems installed with companies around the country and they’re working to expand internationally. 

For more information:
Aly McCarthy
Tel: (949) 295-3700

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