Thursday, October 7, 2010

Managing Migrant Labor Today

Gone are the days of recruiting a labor force for a day or season and settling up with them at the close of the pay period out by the truck.  Today's migrant labor are more in tune with worker rights, resources and even have government agencies mandating regulations to control the entire process from hire to harvest.  How does a grower or marketer manage the ever changing landscape and still run a profitable business?  How does a consumer or retailer assure that the produce they buy was part of good agricultural practices or social responsibility to the labor force used to harvest it?  Well, these and many other questions are things that we have pondered and discussed with growers, marketers, retailers and consumers for sometime now.  The solution is to adopt good technologies and processes that reduce labor cost, ensure compliance and streamline the overall operation.

Today there are systems such as HarvesterGear's Grower Solution that manage everything from worker setup, payroll, tax documents and even include the new PTI requirements.  By moving from a paper driven process to a computerized solution your documents are available online and backed up so your worker documents are available from year to year.  This also makes the worker setup process much easier since the workers documentation and information is stored in a centralized data center.  

Technologies are seemingly expensive on the front end, but good technologies pay for themselves quickly and continue to provide return on investment for many years to come.  Those operations that grasp and deploy technologies are more efficient and therefore compete better in the marketplace verses those who continue to operate business as usual.  With traceability on the horizon there is no better time then now to deploy technology solutions in your business!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Capturing Production Inputs for Traceability

In GS1's Traceability for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Implementation Guide (Issue 2, May-2010), something I read immediately jumped out of the page to me.  This passage, on page 11, irrefutably puts HarvesterGear at the forefront of traceability solution providers.
"To enable traceability, growers must maintain records of essential information related to the production of the product (e.g. crop protection materials including date of application, seed information, fertilizers, packaging material, harvesting crew, and water source).  This information in critical to your company's body of internal traceability information."

HarvesterGear's whole-chain solution suite already has all these bullet points checked off for the grower, marketer, association, etc.  Our mobile application tracks pesticide, fertilizer, and water usage while you are in the field with your smartphone or handheld application; no worrying about forgetting to document this information when you get back to your office. Many of you already know about our harvesting crew tracking software, that tracks each harvester through each field that they pick in at any given time, and also streamlines your payroll and simplifies documentation.  Traceability is quickly becoming a retailer demanded standard, and by 2013, everyone is going to need to be on board.  Visit today to get more information.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Whole-Chain Produce Traceability Advantage

Ever tried to get directions from someone and they ask where are you, only to reply "I'm lost"!  If so then you can relate to most people today who are trying to figure out how to get compliant with the new PTI standards in time for 2012.  Most growers, shippers and retailers are looking at various products, applications or solutions and trying to marry up or integrate multiple systems to pull this off.  The problem is that with each new "bolt on" product there comes increased license cost as well as increased implementation and training cost, inevitably extending the go live date for your PTI solution.

At Harvester Gear we take a different approach!  We call it Whole-Chain Traceability and it is changing the way growers, shippers and retailers look at PTI.  What is Whole-Chain Traceability?  Similarly to getting directions when you are lost, you can't fulfill PTI when you don't have all the necessary data in one readily available place.  If you have to trace back through multiple system in a "bread crumb" approach, then all of the resources you spent on PTI is nothing more than a glorified file cabinet.  At Harvester Gear we start in the field and trace the produce all the way to the consumer.  By understanding and incorporating all the food safety, Global GAP and produce traceability requirements into one solutions the data is centralized and therefore becomes a real-time solution that takes seconds to trace rather than hours, days or months.