How to set worker time worked hours warning

Long day?

If you enter workers’ hours via Worker > Set Worker Time a warning message pops up if the shift is 11 hours or more.

This can be a handy reminder – for example you enter a Start Time of 6:00 AM and intend to enter an End Time of 11:00 AM but the default is PM and suddenly you’re paying your crew for 17 hours when they only worked 5.

But…it’s not necessarily so helpful if you often have workers doing long shifts.

What’s new?

You can now control the length of time before a warning is triggered. Go to Settings > Control > Worker Time Section: Worked Time Warning (hours).  Enter the number of hours you want to allow before you get the warning message.

How to know if there are updates to the ABCgrower Mobile App

Growth spurt

We’re constantly growing ABCgrower and ABCspray to help you grow your produce.  If there is an enhancement to the ABCgrower Mobile App we’ll let you know in the Release notes.

How do I get it?

You can set your device to auto-update apps.  If this is not active you will need to manually download updates from the Google Play Store.

  1. Open the Google Play Store App.
  2. Search for ABCgrower Mobile App and tap to select.
  3. If the right hand button says Update, tap to update.
  4. If the right hand button says Open, you’re up-to-date!

Staging tables – how the data gets from the app to the website

Missing Records?

Where are they?

When you collect information on the ABCgrower mobile App and upload it to the website, the data is passed through staging tables where the records are checked for errors before they are passed to the relevant data tables.  If any records are in error the uploaded batch is held in the staging table.  Examples include double scanning of a unique bin number and scanning a worker who has been marked inactive. 

How do I see them?

The staging tables are on the relevant menu, for example Picking Staging is on the Activity menu and Worker Time Staging is on the Worker menu.  Staging tables are permission based so you need to have the relevant role assigned to your user profile to see them.

What do I do with them?

Records are automatically processed every few minutes.  If you’re super speedy and find records in a staging table, and none are in error, click [Re-process] to push them through (in this case all records will show in red, but there will be no error messages).

If there are records in error there will be a message to tell you what’s wrong.   You can delete a record by clicking the adjacent rubbish bin icon.  Then you can click [Re-process] to push any remaining records through (or wait for them to auto-process).  Remember to re-enter the corrected record via the the appropriate page (e.g. Activity > Worker Activity) if necessary.

Warnings that prevent creation of a pay run

Pay day…panic!!!

You’ve Authorised your records, checked them twice, Create the Pay Run aaaaaand….Warning!!!!  

Open Work Activities exist and have been excluded

When creating a Pay Run ABCgrower looks for all Open records up to the Pay Run end date.  Top tip!  When searching Work Activity for the open records to fix, authorise or delete, don’t enter a ‘Work Date From’ in case there’s some erroneous data from way back.  We’ve seen records entered as birth years, typos where 2021 was recorded as 2012 and so on!   

There are timesheet records with no work activity in this section

Still can’t see them?  If your User profile is Restricted to a Grower (see Settings > User) you will not see timesheet records with no work activity.  You can change this if it suits your organisation to do so.

There are employees with an hourly rate less than the minimum rate of 25.41

This is warning you that there are records less than the minimum rate set for your organisation.  And, it’s just a warning – you should check your records are correct but this one won’t prevent you from creating a Pay Run (…phew!).

How to use pay grades

Pay grades

Might sound like a bore, don’t make it a chore…ABCgrower supports using pay grades instead of, or in combination with, hourly rates. 

Hey Aussies! Use this to maintain award levels

By using pay grades for the award Levels, if the pay rate changes you’ll enter the new rate for the award level and this will be applied to all applicable workers, no need to update each worker.

You set up your pay grades, for example Level 1 Casual 20 years and over = $25.41.  Go into each worker you want to use pay grades, set the pay grades flag, and choose the applicable pay grade.

Pay different rates for different tasks?

No problem! This is another use for pay grades.  For example, a worker earns $25.41 per hour, but when they clean the tanks they get $29 per hour (it’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it!).  Attach a pay grade to an activity type and ABCgrower will auto-calculate the right pay rate for the job.  This can be used if workers have a pay grade set or not.

The rate per hour is calculated using the higher of the activity type’s pay grade, or the worker’s hourly rate (or worker’s pay grade if using this). 

This way, if the manager is called in to clean the tanks she’ll get her usual $32 per hour, not the $29 cleaning rate.

Sound good?

This module has already been activated for you.  You’ll just need to add the pay grade role to each user or role you want to be able to set the pay grades.

How to see comments on worker activity records

No Comment!

Did you know you can add a Comment to a Work Activity Record?

Entering Comments

You can enter a Comment against a Non Picking Activity record on the App and it will be uploaded to the website with the record.

On the website you can add a Comment when entering a record via Worker Activity > [New], or Bulk Create.

You can enter a Comment on any Activity record via a Workers Timesheet Activities.  Click the Comment icon and a pop up box will open where you type the Comment. 

But which records have comments?

The Comment icon will show in green for any records with comments recorded, and in blue for records without comments.  This is especially handy where your team in the field add comments to records and you need to check them on the website.

How do I read it?

Click the icon and the Comment will show. 

Software to help with piece rate changes

Australian Citrus e-News Case Study

Far North Queensland grower, Wim Van Niekerk of Widem Farming presented ABC Software at the Citrus Technical Forum as a possible solution for growers unsure how to move forward this season with changes to the piece rate and minimum wage.

As of April 28, seasonal workers must be paid a minimum of $25.41 an hour, which is minimum wage ($20.33 p/h) plus 25 per cent for casual work loading.

Workers can still be paid at piece rate, which must allow the worker to earn 15 per cent higher than casual rate.

The icing on the cake is growers are required to keep record of the hours worked by the piece worker along with the rate applied to the hours worked.

This begs the question; how do growers keep track of hours worked for workers in the paddock, and how do growers keep their workers productive if they’re no longer paying for productivity?

Keeping Track

Wim started using ABC, which ‘helps you grow’ with ABC grower solutions and minimum wage guarantee, in an attempt to compete with labour costs across the world after originally coming from South Africa.

“As you know, South Africa labour costs is a quarter of what we pay in Australia and it’s very hard to compete with them.

“That’s when I turned to ABC”

Unknowingly, Wim had started implementing the new minimum wage and piece rate laws in his business three years before they had come into action.

“We can do any work on the farm from de-suckering in the morning at an hourly wage to picking lemons in the afternoon, and piece rate until the rain comes.

“Then when the trees are wet, going back and doing something else at that hourly rate again.”

With the press of a button ABC prints out a report and takes everything back to a piece rate and gives you exactly what every worker has done.

How the ABC system works

  • You set up a minimum wage in the system. Example $25.74
  • You then set up a piece rate. Example $2 per unit picked or $150 per bin etc.
  • You scan the workers units as the day progress.
  • At the end of the day the system then takes Units Picked x $2 per unit. It compares that with hours worked and if the hours worked x $25.71 is more than Units Picked x $2 it gives that worker a TOP UP automatically to match the Hours Worked x $25.71.

Example: Worker A

Units picked
Costs per unit
Total
100
$2
$200
Hours worked
Min wage
Total
8 hours
$25.41/hr
$203.28
Piece rate
Top up
Total daily wage
$200
$3.68
$203.28

Keeping Productive

Wim admits when he first started the cost of labour was a bit frightening, especially after coming from South Africa.

“I couldn’t believe it. It’s a month’s worth of wage for those people working at home.

“We tried to figure out with people getting paid so much, how do we get them productive?”

Wim said that’s the hard part, as every picker knows, the second they come onto your farm on the piece rate, they know you must now pay them a minimum wage.

“With the ABC reports, which is on the cloud and is directly available in the paddock or from the computer in the morning, we print it and it’s a bit of ‘seeing is believing’.

“You can show these 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,” said Wim.

Widem Farming have seen costs go down 20 per cent and productivity go up 20 per cent since implementing this method of motivation.

“It’s just unbelievable and I think that’s a pretty good bar to compete with the world out there, especially when it comes to exports.”

ABC software also gives you traceability from delivery; from China right back to the farm, it ties fruit back to the packing shed, back to the farm, the tree, the grower, and the person that picked the fruit.

“I think it’s going to become a critical thing in future production of citrus and especially exports.”

How to access the new online help manual

Help!

We’re excited to let you know we have released a brand spanking new online Help manual.  It’s comprehensive, up-to-date and covers all modules in ABCgrower and ABCspray.   

Where is it?

It’s accessed the same way as the existing manual.  Click the question mark icon to the right of the top blue banner in ABCgrower.  Whether you consider Help manuals your first port of call, or your place of last resort, check it out, it is helpful!

Grow IT – March 2022

Welcome to your Autumn issue of Grow IT.  We hope your harvests are fruitful and that you can take a few minutes out to catch-up on the news…

We’ve got a fully-packed newsletter for you – enjoy!

Sharon and the ABC team

Minimum Wage Ruling

Minimum Fuss with ABC

grower management

It’s not long until April 28th which is when the new ruling in Australia for paying horticultural pieceworkers a minimum wage comes into effect.  We appreciate that for many this will mean more time spent on payroll and less time on the produce.  You also may be considering dropping piece rate payment altogether.  Help is at hand.

ABC delivers an easy-to-use solution which manages the minimum wage guarantee already – ABCgrower gives visibility to piece rate costs and the top up costs where the piece rate payments fall short of the required hourly rate.  The solution provides multiple ways to record worker time, now required for pieceworkers as a consequence of the new legislation.  The ABCgrower Mobile App works offline to record information on the farm or in the shed without an internet connection.

Get in touch here or call Sharon on +64 21 223 6991 if you have any questions – we’re happy to help you.

Fertigation in ABCspray

Fertigation is the third type of electronic diary entry in ABCspray, joining Spray Instructions and Dry Applications. 
 
ABCspray accommodates the differences between the three agrichemical application methods. Your block/valve configurations are held in ABC for easy selection, and fertigation over multiple days is supported.  You have visibility to the amount of nutrients that have been applied to your blocks season to date as you build your instructions, and the volumes contribute to the Nutrient Analysis table which gives visibility to nutrient application on your farm.

Read more here and if you have questions, get in touch here.

New Brand and Website for ABC

While you’ve been busy harvesting, we’ve launched a new website.  It was time for a refresh so we’re excited to have a great new logo to go with the rebranded website.  Check it out here and let is know what you think. 

Productivity Bonus Calculation Tool

There’s a really useful Productivity Bonus calculation tool as part of ABCgrower which can be used to encourage and reward your top performers! 
 
Collect by piece for valuable productivity information, use the Convert to Hourly tool to change the piece rate information to an hourly pay rate, and use the Productivity Bonus calculation tool to apply an additional payment to reward your best workers.  

The Productivity Bonus calculator includes a weighting function to account for differences between blocks, for example higher numbers of trees pruned would be expected in a block with young trees compared to a block with older denser trees pruned on the same day.  With visibility to individual’s productivity it is easy to identify top performers and you set the productivity threshold required to earn a bonus payment.   

Together, these tools provide an alternative to piece rate while retaining a motivator for high productivity.  It is particularly useful where your workers have disparate skills and it is difficult to set an appropriate piece rate.
 
If you have questions, get in touch here.

ABC News Cuttings

Citrus Technical Conference

We were delighted that Wim van Niekerk was invited to speak at the Citrus Technical Forum 2022 about ABC.  Wim uses ABCgrower’s top-up function to ensure pieceworkers are paid minimum wage, and the productivity information grower provides has meant big savings on the bottom line.  We are very appreciative of Wim and his team!

Look out Australia!

Our founder Sharon is heading to Australia in April!  Sharon will be on the road in Australia and if it’s possible, would be happy to swing by for a chat about how to gain time and cost savings and productivity increases in your business.  Get in touch with Sharon here

 

Customised online demo

45 day obligation free trial

Comprehensive training at no cost

 

How to set a default container label printer

Is it your job to print container labels?

Did you know you can set a default container printer?  Whether your organisation has one label printer or a dozen of them, setting a default printer means you don’t have to select the printer when you go to print container labels.  That’s one less step every time you print your labels. 

Sound good? 

Go to Settings > User > click your Username, and then choose the printer from the Container Printer dropdown list. Click Save and it’s done!  If you don’t have user management permissions ask your manager to do this for you.

Get printing! 

Now when you go to Inventory > Print Container Label the Printer field will be pre-populated with your printer. 

It’s not set in stone though, so if you did need to choose another printer the dropdown list remains available to you.