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As a company, we focus a lot on labor tracking. But in this article, i thought I would highlight the need for product tracking in another important part of the Ag industry--tissue culture propagation.

Propagating plants using tissue culture is a technique that has grown in popularity. There are many benefits of growing plants in a more controlled environment. However, tissue culture propagation presents its own challenges. Tracking hundreds and potentially thousands of jars through various stages is no easy feat.

Knowledge of what is where (inventory) and what came from where (product traceability) ensures the highest level of plant quality and the ability to properly predict and fulfill orders. Being able to plan based on timing through each stage is important. Like any business, profitability hinges on the knowledge of your inventory and how to best meet the needs of your customers with the right product at the right time.

For tissue culture operations, a system that can provide an up-to-date and accurate picture of culture stocks can help ensure success. TCTrak is a tool that can help you determine the why because you have data for the when, what, and by whom.

TCTrak is a software solution for laboratories looking to automate data collection. Attaching barcode labels on each jar gives you the opportunity to track that product from start to finish, documenting important details along the way including growth medium. Tagging every action with a date, time, and location generates real-time inventory information. Barcodes are an ideal and inexpensive way to have control over every stage of production, from initiation or generation, to propagation, rooting and delivery.

On the same rugged handheld, a tissue culture laboratory can track product, then easily switch gears and use the FairTrak app to record labor hours or piecework associated with performing work during every stage of the process. Manage your inventory and workforce using one cohesive software solution.


On Wednesday, I received my daily email from the Capital Press, the weekly Ag newspaper for farmers in the Northwest. The headline caught my attention quickly, “Lawsuits challenge piece rate pay.” Piece rate pay has been an integral part of the Ag operation for years, and now the concept is under fire.

Dan Wheat, author of the article, states, “Piece rate refers to paying workers for how much fruit they pick instead of paying them by the hour. It’s been used for decades. Workers say they like it because they make more money. Growers like it because they say it’s the most economical pay method. They say the loss of it would increase their costs.”

Sounds like a win-win to me! So, what’s the problem? Everyone is entitled to an opinion. However, regardless of why a law is written, or how a law is written and interpreted, documentation is crucial for a grower when a problem arises.
Today, you might pay workers piece rate for harvest and pruning tasks. Next season, you might switch to only hourly to avoid risk of lawsuit. Then, the pendulum will steady itself back into the middle. Make sure to Implement a data collection system that captures more, rather than less, and utilize that information to drive worker efficiency and maintain detailed and thorough employee records.

When you have employee productivity data at your fingertips, you can identify problems early, recognize where additional training is needed, and motivate those who may need that extra push. Hourly plus piece wage bonus pay may be the way of the future. Workers will receive a fair wage and those deserving will be rewarded for their hard work. That still doesn’t let the farmer off the hook for improving record-keeping and documenting expectations and guidelines.

Prevent uncertainty and additional stress. Collect the information that could support your case and accommodate a variety of employee pay structures so your farm can stay nimble when the next labor law, or newest interpretation of the law, hits the headlines.


We listened to our customers' feedback. We agreed that there was a missing piece. How can a farm track hours for employees that start or finish tasks outside of normal business hours? How can a farm electronically record accurate check-in and check-out times for those workers performing activities far from the main office or facility? Now there is MobileClock.

Download MobileClock on any Android device. Enable MobileClock for one or multiple employees at your operation. Use either cellular or Wi-Fi to sync personal time clock information in real-time when FairTrak just isn’t enough. An beta version was released to a handful of customers for testing last month. So far so good!

It’s true. There are other mobile time clock apps available for download. We’ve spoken with customers using three different systems in order to accommodate all types of labor tracking activities and data collection in the field, packing house, and office. The benefits of our system? It can stand-alone or integrate with our other 2nd Sight hardware and software solutions so that you can track hours, pieces, containers, and weight. We are a one-stop shop, providing not only software, but hardware to keep up with the complex business of labor management on the farm, in the nursery, and in the greenhouse.

Looking for accurate labor costs and simple payroll for your operation? Add MobileClock to your 2nd Sight suite of data collection tools so you don’t lose a minute to outdated, incomplete, or complicated labor tracking systems.


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