In the Tasmanian horticulture sector, this year things are a little different for growers and pickers; a new fixed award rate of pay is prompting change in orchards and berry patches around the country. For this reason, Hillwood Berries in Northern Tasmania has developed a new app to help track productivity, maximize profitability and support workers.
Hillwood Berries general manager Simon Dornauf: "Now the award has changed, and rightly so, the business needs to ensure that everybody makes the hourly rate and we need to look at things from a truly productivity-based approach."
Hillwood Berries is now measuring how each worker performs. "We're able to monitor the workers through the day and how many trays they're picking to see where our exposure is in terms of productivity of the group," Dornauf said. "That allows us to then make decisions about whether we need to bring more people into a field, whether we need to performance manage or improve some of the workforce that are struggling to get up to speed."
To use the app, fruit pickers register at the start of their shift. Then each tray is scanned using a barcode system, to attribute it to the worker that picked it.
"We make sure we pay correctly, but with that comes an accountability to the workforce to ensure that we are remaining profitable or at least breaking even," Dornauf added. "This app is a way for us to give feedback to those workers, so they can understand where they sit in the pack, where their shortcomings might be and how we can improve."