Information Automation to grow your knowledge and grow your business

ABC Software founder Sharon Chapman spoke on Information Automation at Hort Connections 2023; Australia and New Zealand’s largest horticulture conference and trade show.

Learn what information automation is – it might be a lot simpler than you think!  Sharon considers the attitudes towards, and use of, digital technology in horticulture.  She discusses how and what information can be captured on a farm and the opportunities to enhance productivity from the insights this data delivers.

Information affords knowledge, which affords efficiencies, which affords growth.

“Using ABCgrower for us has benefitted the business in the sense that we can see where our costs are.”
Johnny Milmine, General Manager
Berry Farms NZ

Pay pruning per piece

Pay pruning per piece

With the FWO changes to the Horticulture Award many growers have put piece rates in the too hard basket, but there are still many advantages so long as you have the right tools for the job. Purpose built software will take care of the complex calculations required under the Award, as well as providing traceability to who has pruned what, not to mention keeping on top of your budgets. You can’t control the weather, but labour costs blow outs are a nasty surprise you can avoid.

ABC Software’s labour management software, ABCgrower, comes inclusive with a module created specifically for collecting non-harvest activities by piece. The Worker Allocation module allows you to assign one or more workers to a row and record the number of trees or vines each worker has pruned. You have visibility to who is where, what has been done, and what is left to do, at all times. When you perform quality checks you know who pruned the tree/vine.

Designed for use on the ABCgrower App, which works without an internet connection, means you can capture information anywhere on the farm without concern about being in internet range. Information is uploaded to the website when a data connection is available and synchronised across all devices.

Information-rich records give visibility to workers productivity, and if you measure, you can manage. See how your workers are performing, make decisions in real-time, and keep on top of your labour costs. Then use this season’s data to better plan for next year. Smart Berries Australia Agronomist and Assistant Farm Manager Sally Jolly says “We got real time data that very quickly showed us how fast people were working. It made day-to-day forecasting much, much easier.”

With ABCgrower’s highly flexible system you can pay piece rate or pay hourly, or record by piece and convert to an hourly payment with an optional bonus incentive. You do it your way while ABC does the calculations. Managing Director of Widem Farming Wim van Niekirk choses ABCgrower to help pay piece rate saying “You can show the workers exactly what they’ve done, how much they’ve earned, what their friends have done, and they realise they got so close to making extra money. The productivity the day after goes through the roof.”

ABCgrower also offers tools for collecting harvest information, again collecting by piece means a wealth of information; and you can assess the productivity of your workers and your plants. As well as bin/container inventory management with traceability to who picked what. Up-to-date productivity and block cost reports are always on hand at the click of a button.

Another valuable tool in ABC’s shed is their digital spray diary, ABCspray, which can be used in conjunction with ABCgrower or stand-alone. It supports spraying, fertiliser applications and fertigation. Compliance ready reporting is always available and again, ABC takes care of the calculations – so you can get growing.

The FWO rule changes have made paying piece rates for pruning challenging for growers, but the challenges can be taken out of your hands. Good software not only does the hard work but affords operational efficiencies which means direct returns to your bottom line.