With efficiency in mind, we thought it was time to jump into technology for timekeeping. We had been using pen and paper for years, and even though that was still working for us, we knew that technology keeps improving, and at some point, we should embrace it.
McClaskey Orchards LLC is owned by John and Dawn McClaskey. In 1990, after five years of managing his family's cherry orchard, John decided it was time to start his own cherry operation, McClaskey Orchards. He began by leasing an existing cherry orchard with an early-season harvest that would complement the mid-season family orchard he was already farming. In the years since, John and Dawn, with help from daughters Rachel and Emily, have grown the business to the size it is today.
Rachel, who became the General Manager of the business in 2003, developed her own software program to keep track of the harvest, as there weren’t any commercially available software programs at the time. Rachel’s software worked well for many years but did not meet all of the company's technology needs. Hectre to the rescue! In 2022, McClaskey Orchards decided to use Hectre’s Orchard Management Software to help manage their payroll.
It hasn’t been an easy year. The harvest season was short and low in tonnage, and we had a big snowstorm and freeze events back in April, which cut our production by about half. In addition, cherry price returns to the grower were not what you would expect during several weeks of the season, especially considering the super low tonnage available in the market this year.
The prices for everything also keep going up, and new government regulations keep adding to our paperwork and record-keeping needs. Now, more than ever, keeping good accurate records of everything around our business is crucial, and doing it in the most efficient way is a must.
Around February of this year, our bookkeeper notified us she was moving on to a new adventure. So, to make it easier for our new bookkeeper, we had to somehow simplify our complicated and time-consuming payroll process. The new process had to be easier and more time efficient.
The switch also had to be fast and easy, and that's why we decided to give Hectre an opportunity over other alternatives out in the market. I am pleased to say, Hectre has helped us lower the time to process payroll and improved the accuracy of bookkeeping related to hourly payroll.
Harvest season is when we need to be as efficient as we can; there are times when our office crew is working late into the evenings and need to update employee information and process payroll. We found that Hectre was more user-friendly than the other orchard management software providers.
One of the other potential providers required us to contact them almost every time we needed to make a simple change, like updating employee information or an employee’s wages. That’s not ideal in a fast-paced environment, especially during our harvest season. We need to be able to edit and update information quickly, in real-time, where and when it’s needed, and not be dependent on someone else.
Having the ability to customize and run a labor report when we need it is a great resource for our team. It is one of the reasons that we chose to use Hectre. Our old software program worked for us because it was custom-made for our needs. We get some of that same ability with Hectre’s customizable reports, and that's why we thought Hectre was the best option for our business.
Technology is great but not perfect, and it always comes with glitches. Having reliable customer service was at the top of the list for us. We heard from other orchards that the customer support from Hectre’s competitors wasn't that great. When we brought this up with Hectre, we were promised we would have support whenever we needed it. We are pleased to say that has been the case.
Every time we need something, Ali, our Hectre customer success representative, has been a great support. There have been times when we are texting at 10 p.m., talking about something that happened or some feature that would be nice to have, but no matter the time, the support from Ali has been excellent.
Before Hectre, every employee would turn in a handwritten timesheet with the hours worked, location, and how many breaks or lunches they took. The timesheets would be checked by a supervisor, and then a manager, before finally being sent to the bookkeeper to be reviewed again.
The bookkeeper would need to go from timesheet to timesheet and enter all the data into an Excel spreadsheet. It was a real pain. Now with Hectre, the information is exported from the app, and it only takes half the time.. She loves it!
We really like the reports and how quickly those can be created. They're a big help. Having all the information we need right away is what we were looking for. Prior to Hectre, if we needed to find out a more accurate cost per acre of a certain job, we would have to go back and check all the timesheets, about 70 timesheets every two weeks. Then add up all those numbers by hand to get the result. It was definitely not efficient or fast.
With Hectre, in less than two minutes, we can get the information we need in a format that is easy to edit and manipulate. This has given us the ability to use real-time information during our decision-making process.