FreshTrack Software
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Quality control and stock management are the standout improvements the introduction of Freshtrack Software has brought about for Smiths of Taminick in Wangarratta.

 

Case Studies

Editorial for Summerfruit Quarterly, Autumn 2006 Edition

Stonefruit Traceability

Tracking employee output leads to quality gains

Quality control and stock management are the standout improvements the introduction of Freshtrack Software has brought about for Smiths of Taminick in Wangarratta. Andrew Smith says that they needed a better way of labeling stonefruit and this solution delivered additional benefits. Freshtrack is a produce traceabilty system fully integrated with GP Graders’ packing equipment.

A PC based system, Freshtrack tracks the fruit from orchard lot through the packing house to the retailer. Details of incoming bins are entered into Freshtrack Gateway packing house software on arrival at the packing house with bin scales connected to the computer and registered against growers. Much of the information, including region, farmer, orchard lot, and plantings, can be pre-entered so at the busy packing times details are quickly selected. Grading profiles and packing configurations can also be entered ahead of time including EAN barcode numbers for each retail unit.

As fruit is packed off the grader, the packer prints a label which includes a barcode, grower, count, date and time, pack house and variety details and, where the packers are equipped with the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system wristbands, identifies the packer.

Smiths have found the RFID system particularly useful in identifying quality issues with packing staff as any inferior fruit or sloppy packing can be traced back to the packer until the time it leaves the supermarket shelf. Management are also able to track packers’ productivity. In many sheds this has led to paying piece rates.

After the successful use of the RFID system for packing, Smiths have introduced RFID tags for cherry picking staff. As picking lugs are collected labels are printed by scanning the RFID tag at the printer, a label is affixed to each lug and each picker’s statistics can be easily accessed by an in-field laptop computer. This puts an end to disputes about picker output and facilitates the piece rate pay system.

Labeling pickers’ lugs has lead to higher quality standards in picking which should in turn lead to a higher percentage of saleable fruit through the grading line. Pack house management will see greater productivity with less rejected fruit and orchard waste though the line.

Improved quality control is not the only benefit of Freshtrack Software. Historical data was not accessible to Smiths before the implementation of Freshtrack. Now in their second season using Freshtrack, Smiths have found that it is a simple exercise to find the quantities of each variety packed last year. In future years, this will be an invaluable planning tool as trends and growth can be tracked down to the orchard lot.

GP Graders have now installed more than 40 Freshtrack systems in Australia, Chile and Europe. It can be used in conjunction with any grading line and in a stand-alone capacity (as for picking staff).

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