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Cherry grower and packer, Lincara of Victoria, Australia have been using the Freshtrack Gateway™ traceability and supply chain solution in their busy cherry packing house for the last two seasons.


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A Fresh Approach to Cherry Packing

20 Feb 2007

Lincara pack and sell cherries for a number of growers. It is essential to track the exact packout and price for each grower’s fruit.

As the cherries are delivered, harvest details are entered into Gateway™ and the bins are delivered to the cool store until they are to be packed.

When a batch is to be packed, the delivery details are selected and the bins are weighed. Labels are selected from a list or created on the spot and the fruit is then graded and packed. The labels are attached to the cartons as they are completed. Details from the harvest delivery as well as the fruit size and a barcode are included on labels.

Lincara have found that the introduction of Gateway™ has saved time in a number of areas:

1. Palletising has been simplified. The palletising staff no longer need to write down details of every carton on each pallet. An in-line scanner reads the barcode on each carton and allocates each carton to a pallet. (Cartons with unreadable barcodes are ejected to a bypass by an air ram) When the pallet is full (a predetermined number of cartons have been allocated to the pallet), a manifest is printed and the pallet is closed. The full pallets can be allocated to customer orders and cartons can be removed from pallets where part pallets are needed to fulfil orders. Any changes to pallets are achieved with the aid of a handheld scanner and some simple adjustments in Gateway™.

2. Price Variations are easily managed. Fluctuating prices and varying price from different customers and regions can create administrative nightmares. Data from each sale is fed back into Gateway™ which retains the price each carton receives. On-demand reports can be generated for growers, including sell price, packout rates, and number sold of cartons of each size. Without Gateway™, one Lincara staff member used to spend weeks after the end of the season reconciling prices with each grower’s product.

3. One-time data entry. Entering information once only reduces the errors that can occur when data is handwritten or entered into several systems. Staff at Lincara have found the increased accuracy a distinct advantage that Gateway™ provides. The reduction in writing and data entry has saved up to four hours work per week for one staff member.

4. Product traceability. Traceability is beneficial not only in tracking down and isolating negative quality issues, but also adds value by clear product identification, which attracts a premium price and subsequent ordering of that variety, grade and size for higher paying markets. It can also be used to identify varieties that travel well and those that do not. If an interstate customer is less than happy with the quality of delivered fruit, whereas the same batch has been well received locally, it can help the packing house to decide appropriate avenues for the sale of that variety.

Gateway™ is fully compliant with HACCP and SQF and other food safety accreditation systems.

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