AB Wood Holdings

Upper Moutere, New Zealand

How AB Wood Holdings implemented Hectre for a faster, more efficient payroll and improved record keeping and traceability across the orchard.
A more efficient payroll process with improved record-keeping for better decision-making.
NZ map showing where Motueka is.
Fruit Types Apples & Kiwifruit
Size 80 hectares / 198 acres
Using Hectre App Since 2019
Modules In Use
  • Timesheets & Payroll
  • Harvest
  • QC
  • Scout
  • Background
    AB Wood Holdings is a family-owned and operated orchard located in sunny Upper Moutere at the top of New Zealand’s South Island.

    The orchard was purchased in the 1980s by Ashton and Anna Wood. Ashton, Anna, and son Donovan currently own and manage the orchard, with Anna doing the payroll and daughter Tanya working as a supervisor.

    AB Wood Holdings are dedicated to growing high-quality apples and kiwifruit. Once the fruit is picked, it is transported to nearby Golden Bay Fruit for packing and distribution.

    Bins of red apples.
    Challenges & Solutions
    We talked with Owner/Manager Donovan Wood and Apple Supervisor and Kiwifruit Block Manager Raewyn Cunnigham about their experience using Hectre to streamline their payroll process and improve traceability across the orchard.
    We Use Hectre Daily
    Hectre keeps getting better.

    Why did you decide to get Hectre?

    Donovan: We were looking for a way to make our work in the field easier, like printable bin cards, and a better QC process. We were carrying around a lot of paperwork and we wanted to cut back on that. We also wanted to reduce the amount of paperwork and time it took to do the payroll.

    What do you use Hectre for?

    Raewyn: We use Hectre on a daily basis for our payroll and bin traceability during the harvest season. Typically, everything we do with contract or piece work - so, thinning, picking, and pruning - is what we use Hectre for.
    6 bins full of apples at Monson Fruit
    Apples on a tree in an orchard.
    Red apples on a tree
    No more paper!

    What did you do before you had Hectre?

    Raewyn: Put simply, there were oodles of paper! We had lists and lists with different tallies and pieces of paper for the various blocks. It was a lot.

    Hectre has been revolutionary for our payroll administrator. She has a lot more free time now.

    For thinning, I would have tallies and lists for the rows, tree numbers, who did what in what time frame, and when we moved blocks. Tallies and lists for everything! Even if it rained or not. And then for picking it was the same. We had paper bin cards, and daily picking sheets, which we used to keep a tally of what everyone did. Then we had daily timesheets that recorded the hours, so that was a big double-up of paperwork. And with pruning, it was much the same; a lot of paper notes and records.

    What would you do with all these paper records?

    It was all sent to Anna, who would spend many hours in the evening correlating the information for the payroll to make sure everyone got paid on time. Hectre has been revolutionary for her. She has a lot more free time now.
    Payroll Time Savings
    Before Hectre, you definitely knew not to bother Anna when she was doing the payroll.

    Raewyn: When we have high-staff numbers, like at harvest time, we might have 50 pickers. So, if you can imagine the workload correlating all that information from all the different pieces of paper when we used the old paper-based system, it was daunting. When we’re not as busy, it’s not so bad, but I’m sure she still appreciates the simplicity of using Hectre to manage the payroll.

    Donovan: Before Hectre, you definitely knew not to bother Anna when she was doing the payroll. She used to spend a lot of time calling us and checking stuff, but now it’s all automatic, it links to our payroll provider, and the data is easy to find on the Hectre app.

    Before you could also miss mistakes when you were in the office and unsure of everything going on out in the orchard. Tracking people down and resolving issues was difficult. Having Hectre keep track of the payroll process, with easily accessible information in one place, speeds up the process and makes it a lot smoother.
    Hectre speeds up the payroll process and makes it a lot smoother.
    What is it like having Hectre?
    Hectre on iPad
    2 rows of yellow-orange cherry trees at McClaskey Orchards.
    What are the benefits of having that information?
    It’s easily accessible information that helps us make informed decisions.

    Donovan: Being able to review the data from previous seasons is very beneficial for forward planning, harvest management, and budgeting. I can compare costs, how long a task took, or how many bins we got from a block. It’s easily accessible information that helps us make informed decisions.

    Raewyn: It’s really useful and valuable for seeing things like how much a block costs to prune or how many people or hours are needed to do a job. And as the years go by, and that information builds up, we’ll be able to see that data over time and identify the trends. For example, we’ll be able to see how long a job should take, and then if the job takes longer than expected, go back to the data to understand why it took longer. The same thing as to why things cost more or cost less.
    The biggest benefit I’ve noticed is better QC record keeping that is easy to access.

    Raewyn: I really like the collection of data over the day or a longer period that the QC module gives, because it’s easy to see if a picker is improving or if there is a problem that needs to be addressed. I also like that I can look at the QC record for multiple bins and pickers, and I can do it all on my phone. It’s especially useful when we have a lot of pickers working.

    It’s also helpful when you are taking over from another QC. I just look at the QC on the app and see where the issues are and can be on the lookout for them.

    A big benefit I’ve noticed is better QC record keeping that is easy to access. It’s much easier for supervisors or managers to keep an eye on what is happening in the field, without having to come out to the paddock and chase people down. They have access to all the information, whether they’re in the packhouse or the office. And it’s easier to check what is coming into the packhouse with the QC record on the app.
    Implementing a new system
    Apple Mobile Sizing App
    Spectre fruit sizing distribution chart square

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