Central Otago packhouse, CAJ van der Voort reckons that using ABCpacker is pretty straightforward and having it tweaked to exactly what they need is even easier.
The top of line packhouse in Ettrick pushes through over 800,000 tray carton equivalents in a season and boasts some of the latest in New Zealand and Dutch pipfruit sorting and packing technology to achieve best efficiencies and productivity.
Two seasons ago, Jackie van der Voort, Packhouse Post-harvest Manager, called on ABC to provide an integration solution for its Dutch 14-lane Greefa Geosort system, which can produce about 2500 cartons an hour.
ABCpacker now captures all aspects of the packhouse operation and links into the same system at the T&G Ettrick coolstore. Jackie says this unique integration works brilliantly. “CAJ has integrated the ABC software with our packhouse and the T&G coolstore, which allows the operators a real time view of inventory at both sites. This allows the packhouse to streamline its packing plan. Having two businesses working together with one piece of software is efficient and creates real synergies,” says Jackie.
“We can choose how we pull the fruit from the coolstore. It is easy to identify the product and group by grower, by block and by harvest date.”
Rodger Brown, T&G Ettrick Site Manager – Pipfruit says it makes the whole process completely visible with clear traceability on dispatch. The integration with his charging system is another bonus. Rodger believes productivity is improved due to connectivity. “It’s easy for the operators, they can do everything from their seat anywhere in the coolstore. There’s no delays like in the past. We can locate what’s needed straight away. I’d say things have improved 10-fold.”
A third aspect of this connectivity is with the orchards sending into T&G. Remarkables Orchard is a case in point. Manager Mark Sim utilises ABCgrower, which integrates seamlessly into ABCpacker. He uses the software on his 70ha mixed orchard to check on picker and thinner performance, identifying those that need training or supervision to lift their output. It also allows him to check daily reports to see the financial implications of each day’s activities and adjust as needed.
Produce leaving his property is scanned into the system and then scanned by T&G into the store. All easily recorded and traceable. All three parties are enthusiastic about the flexibility and willingness the team at ABC Software has to adapt, amend and enhance their software to meet specific individual needs.
Leandro Massariolo, Dispatch Coordinator at the CAJ packhouse is responsible for ensuring the software performs as required. He says the system worked well in the first season, but ABC Software was keen to make it better. The second season was even more efficient, he says.
“They came here and listened and were pretty much onboard with anything we wanted to do, and they made it happen.”
Jackie van der Voort agrees. “Whether it’s a tweak or a design enhancement, they’re ready and able to create something different. If we want to look at something differently or report in a different format, those opportunities are there. We’re not stuck with a product that’s come off the shelf that’s inflexible, it is absolutely fit for purpose.” As an example, Jackie is very pleased with a new program that ABC worked with her team on for this past season. Communicating with staff on the packing line had been run through Greefa but is now via ABC. Packhouse managers can put up graphics and messages on screens showing what product is being packed, variety, fruit orientation, and other details.
It’s also used to communicate birthday messages, which is always well received, Jackie says. “It’s a small thing but it’s really a big thing as far as operations in the packing shed goes, how we communicate. I’m delighted at how smoothly it’s integrated with this pretty big beast we run.”
Coming up to speed with the ABC’s software was also not an issue. Jackie says the training was thorough for all the personnel that needed it, with really good back up support, particularly through that first season as staff got used to the new system.
For Rodger, the simplicity of point and click made it easy for his team to learn “And the ABC support crew was always only a phone call away.”