Freshwest Discusses Their Experience
Rising labour costs is one of the biggest challenges facing growers today. Adam Forbes, founder of BumperCrop, is committed to solving this problem. He has worked with over a dozen growers, over the past year, getting to know their operations and collaborating with them to identify innovative ways to utilise technology.
NZ based BumperCrop started out with an automated substrate monitoring product, and is now expanding their offering, after listening to growers regarding the need for a greenhouse labour registration system. One grower, who is benefiting from implementing BumperCrop’s system, is Gaven Naylor, owner of Freshwest who grows capsicums in Waiuku. “Staff members are performing better, and I am able to plan and organise more effectively now.”
BumperCrop’s Operations App is designed to be easy to use and works on tablets and phones, allowing staff to simply and quickly capture data while they are working around the greenhouse. Information gets synced across the company, and the App works across the entire greenhouse, even in areas without Wi-Fi. “Growers select their own Android or IOS hardware. This lowers costs and gives more flexibility depending on each grower’s specific needs,” said Adam.
Initially, Gaven had some reservations about the data capture process slowing staff down, but that did not turn out to be the case. “Staff actually enjoy tracking the completion of the tasks and getting credit for them. Overall staff are more efficient and have greater job satisfaction due to better awareness of the work that is being done. The data capture itself takes minimal time with the App being so easy to use. The intuitive design also helps to guide new staff and get them up to speed on Freshwest’s processes quickly. “
A Freshwest team member captures row picking data on an Android tablet.
BumperCrops Operations App user interface, displays a list of open tasks and data collected from each row.
Customisable reports are automatically generated from the data, providing a dashboard of operational performance. “The report dashboard makes it easy to understand what is going on at any time” says Gaven. Gaven utilizes live picking reports to understand the production cycle of each of his crop varieties and to predict yield more accurately. “I can now set-up the market more effectively, saving on costs and getting better prices. By mid-morning of a pick I have an accurate indication of what the yield will be which I use to setup the market with distributors. Even before a pick starts, I now have a much better idea of production based on the historical trends.”
Gaven reviews BumperCrop Reports on his PC.
BumperCrop live Daily Summary and Picking reports
Gaven tracks the performance of each staff member across different tasks such as picking and winding, enabling him to offer bonuses to the best performers. This type of employee recognition and reward system incentivises all employees to continue to improve their productivity. He now knows how long it takes to get jobs done and can plan his weeks more effectively. Another report that has given Gaven a new level of understanding is the production amount for each row. “I can see which rows are performing best and worst, and from there start to understand the reasons why. This is critical information for planning future crops.”
Gaven evaluated several options before deciding on BumperCrop, and he is very happy with his choice. “The other solutions I looked at were not as user friendly, were not adaptable and cost too much. BumperCrop has been able to tailor the solution to my operation and provide responsive local support. I would recommend them to any other grower who wants to improve their staff productivity and reduce costs.”
Adam is now working to expand the system by simplifying other time consuming tasks in the greenhouse. “We’ve developed a crop registration module to make it really easy to track plant growth over time so growers can understand plant performance. We also have other modules in development for recording fertilizer usage. We’re looking to work with growers to understand their needs and develop products that make their jobs easier. “Said Adam.
For more information contact Adam Forbes, Managing Director of BumperCrop.