Southern Paprika specializes in capsicums and has become the largest single-site greenhouse operation in New Zealand, with over 27ha (67 acres) of greenhouses. They have adopted an approach of continuous improvement, whereby they are constantly comparing and developing new methods, processes, and inputs in parallel. This allows them to continually refine their practices, thereby achieving ongoing incremental productivity and efficiency improvements.
After using a labor management system from a large and well-known brand, Southern Paprika recognized that this system was primarily geared towards using a set operational approach and that it could, therefore, not align easily with their specific business processes. This meant that potential efficiency gains were being left unrealized. Southern Paprika required a software system that could meet multiple criteria: a match to their processes, featured easy-to-input performance data into their continuous improvement model, and which came at an affordable cost.
Liam Griffin, site manager at Southern Paprika Limited
To achieve this, they partnered with BumperCrop, which by now has over four years of experience in developing and implementing greenhouse labor and operation management systems. This allowed them to have the best of both worlds - immediate access to a powerful and flexible labor system while avoiding the high costs and lengthy timeline of building and maintaining their own system.
A key attribute of the solution required by Southern Paprika was to record the precise amount of produce coming from each row in a way that would be quick and easy for workers to implement. The solution entailed integrating portable and battery-powered scales that directly transmit weight data into the existing BumperCrop App.
Combining these scales with BumperCrop’s tag-scanning system has created a flexible and accurate way to collect weight data from each row immediately after it is picked. Collecting weight data into the system now simply requires scanning a tag on each bin. The system also automatically subtracts the precise weight of individual bins, leading to greater accuracy than by using an average weight across all bins.
Video: collecting weight data from bins is simple
BumperCrop’s wireless scales are available in multiple formats, including cranes, portable flat scales, heavy-duty scales, and load cells.
The weight data that is collected is used as the basis for decision-making on which rows are performing the best. The BumperCrop system combines this with information about each row, such as the variety, number of plants, and various methods and processes that are being tested to provide precise feedback into their continuous improvement model.
This data is also used to incentivize workers and improve labor performance by, for example, paying bonuses based on performance. Data is reported in the exact format required by Southern Paprika in order to integrate it into their existing systems. This includes the addition of employee ID numbers, formatting of the data columns, and timeframes for integration with their payroll system.
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