Farm or orchard traceability has come a long way since the days of handwritten bin tags and stacks of paper records cluttering up the office. And sure, many of those paper records eventually end up being entered into a computer, but at what cost? Time is the major one; then there are labor costs and the detrimental effects on the business caused by the loss and lack of comprehensive data, including poor reporting, compliance headaches, inability to forecast accurately, and so much more.
These days, Ag-Tech companies, like Hectre, allow you to track and trace everything from exactly where a bin of apples was picked, and by who, to the effectiveness of treatments or the cost per hour to pick a certain variety.
Best of all, you can now capture all that priceless data with a cellphone or tablet with just the click of a few buttons. And if you’re thinking traceability apps are complicated and more hassle than they’re worth, I suggest you give Hectre’s Orchard Management Software a try. Clever but super simple to use is what Hectre is known for.
What Can Better Traceability Do For You?
Whether you’re a small, medium, or large-sized business, improving your traceability has numerous benefits. First, let’s look at the most common form of traceability: bin tagging.
Bin tags or bin tickets are attached to a bin (or bucket or tray) to identify and track the specific variety of fruit, its location, and other important information about the fruit, such as maturity and any treatments applied to the fruit.
This information is used for record-keeping, inventory management, and tracking the fruit from the orchard to the packing house and eventually to the consumer. Farm to fork, fork to plate.
With Hectre’s bin tags, a few taps on a tablet or phone creates the tag, and within 3 seconds, the waterproof tag prints from a portable printer you can attach to your belt.
Furthermore, along with the orchard, block, sub-area, row, variety, and rate, you can also record the fruit quality, the pick number, treatments, and where it will be exported. Once the bin tag is created, you can track the bin easily on a tablet or cellphone, or by scanning the QR code or barcode.
Geo-tagging allows you to trace the fruit back to within yards or metres of where it was picked, helping you to better manage your harvest.
With Hectre, each bin tag is represented on a heat map that allows you to click on the bin to view its information and to get a real-time view of the pick moving through the orchard.
While bin tags are great for keeping track of the picked produce, job tracking delivers another form of valuable data.
Job tracking begins when you open the Hectre app and select who is working and what the job is. Typical jobs include picking, pruning, spraying, thinning, fertilizing, or some maintenance, like fixing a fence.
Once the staff and job are selected, the location and start time are recorded. All this information helps you to see what is going on in real-time and to make decisions based on the data. For example, who are your best pickers, or how long does it take to prune a row?
The information recorded helps track the job’s progress and to make decisions, such as whether the quality picked justifies the labor expense.
Tracking the quality of the fruit helps growers to identify where the best or worst fruit is coming from, determine the causes, and take action to improve.
The Hectre QC module enables growers to easily record quality data, and identify and respond to issues. Photos can be added to assist with quality conversations and coaching, and notes can be recorded.
The quality control information collected is yet another traceability method that Hectre offers.
Whether it’s a great bin or a poor one, it’s easy to see on the Hectre app where the bin came from, who picked it, who assessed the quality, and whether the issue is specific to the bin, or a symptom of a wider problem.
And if you often wonder if your QC staff are carrying out the level of QC tasks you expect of them, wonder no more. QC modules like this enable you to track exactly what QC work they are undertaking and to address any concerns (or thank them for the great work they’re doing!)
Want to achieve a better packout? Find out how here: Hectre QC – The Quickest Way to Improve Your Packout
Traceability also extends to tracking events or tasks around the farm or orchard, like maintenance, the discovery of a pest, or a health and safety issue.
Hectre’s Scout module provides you with a satellite map that shows you where the issue is, making it easier to find and identify problem areas or recurring issues. Tasks can also be allocated to staff members, and the time taken to fix the issue can be monitored.
Whether it’s a recurring issue requiring a different solution or a job requiring a more experienced employee, with Scout, all the information you need to make more informed decisions is captured.
Insights & Reports
What good is all that priceless traceability information if it isn’t recorded, simple to access, easy to understand, and collated to maximize the insights?
Hectre’s Insights & Reports module provides all that traceability data, easily accessible, and customizable for your needs. You can create reports for compliance or audits and make better-informed decisions, such as whether you should hire more people (or less!) or perhaps grow more of a particular better-performing variety.
There’s no need to guesstimate anymore. With the Hectre app, you can see exactly how long a job takes, what the cost is, how much labor is required, and so much more.