Case Studies

The Client:

The Fankhauser family has been growing apples in Australia for around 140 years. Owners Liz and Glynn Fankhauser, are fourth generation orchardists. Their son Brad Fankhauser leads the business as General Manager, Brad’s wife Darlene runs all of the admin, and Brad’s sister Lauren works in the orchard and packing shed. Together they produce approximately 2,000 tons of apples each year.

Location:           Drouin, Australia
Size:                    98 acres / 40 hectares
Fruit Type:        Apples
Photo of Brad Fankhauser - apple grower in Australia using the Hectre Orchard Management App to meet minimum wage regulations

Fankhauser Apples signed up to the Hectre Orchard Management App in 2016.

Here, Brad Fankauser, General Manager at Fankhauser Apples, shares his experience and talks through how they’re handling the introduction of the new minimum wage regulations.

How Fankhauser Apples Is Addressing The New Minimum Wage Requirements:

Strong Focus On Performance

As a result of the changes, we simply can’t employ any staff that don’t meet expected targets.

We have always paid new staff an hourly rate for the first three or four days, before moving them to piecework rates. It gives the employee a chance to make changes to their performance, and it helps some workers to identify that they may not earn as much as other higher performing staff. With the requirement to now pay a minimum wage, we can’t afford to carry any workers that are not performing.

We have been using the Seasonal Worker Program (SWP) for four years and they are all paid on an hourly rate. We generally don’t have any issues with performance targets with our SWP workers.


We’ve been using the Hectre Orchard Management App since 2016. Hectre captures all of the hours worked by our employees, so we’ve already got the recording side of things sorted.

The app automatically calculates whether minimum wage requirements have been met. If an employee hasn’t met minimum wage, Hectre will use algorithms to automatically calculate the top up amount required for that employee. This will be highlighted in the payroll reports. So if we ever had someone not meeting minimum wage through their performance, we would be able to identify this easily and address it.

Before Hectre – the challenges Fankhauser Apples were facing:


Traceability is one of the most challenging aspects for our QA. We needed a system that delivered excellent traceability.

A Way To Reduce Manual Recording

Before we had Hectre, we were spending heaps of time manually writing out bin tickets. It was time wasting and frustrating. So we really wanted to have printable bin tickets with all of the details on them, and move away from the labour intensive work of handwriting bin tickets.

The Need To Upgrade

The software that we had been using, had become outdated and obsolete. It was time to upgrade.

With Hectre – the solution to those challenges:

Since we signed on to Hectre, we have saved time and reduced our labour costs. Hectre has made compliance so much easier. It’s definitely positively impacted our bottom line.
Traceability Back To The Pick And The Picker

With Hectre, we have bin codes that are automatically GPS tagged to the picking location in the orchard. We can include all of the detail that is required for QA. And being able to separate out and review individual pickers, is always impressive in an audit. Knowing we’ve got this covered with just a couple of clicks, is great piece of mind.

Waterproof Bin Tickets In The Field

Being able to push a button on the Hectre App while we’re out in the orchard and have bin tickets printed straight from a portable printer, complete with all of the traceability data we need, makes a huge difference to our operation. No more handwriting bin tickets!

Insights On Labour Costs, Yield And Profit

During our yearly block review, Hectre gives us the ability to compare all of our labour inputs with picking tallies for each individual block. Getting all of this valuable data is really simple with Hectre. It makes it very easy for us to see where our profits and losses are, and how best to make decisions on improvements for the future.

Time Savings

When it comes to billing the labour company, we’ve made considerable time savings. Being able to easily pull all of the hours worked and get all of that information in a spreadsheet instantly using Hectre, means it’s simple to do our invoicing.

Wish List:

The Hectre Question

At Hectre, every innovation we deliver, is built off the needs of fruit growers and packers. We are continually asking our customers: What more can we do for you? This commitment to discovery drives even greater innovation and we never shy away from asking the question.

Spray Integration

I would love to see a spray diary implemented that can also feed back into the bin ticket for spray/block history. If it could connect into smart controllers found in new tractors and sprayers, it could become a very simple and accurate way to record relevant information.

Hectre Note: Hectre is currently developing a comprehensive spray module.

Storage Warnings

It would be great to have a storage warning extension in the app. Larger growers may have the ability to designate rooms for early, mid or late sales, but as a smaller grower, we are often putting mixed quality fruit into the same room. Almost every year, we discover bins that probably should’ve been sold a month or so earlier, that had been forgotten about.

Hectre Note: This is why we love asking this question. We’ll be checking to see how many other customers would find this useful and then assessing the requirements.

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