Labor Saving Tech on Your Farm

A recent article in Greenhouse Grower piqued my interest. Roger Smith, General Manager of TreeSource Citrus Nursery is quoted in the article “Collaboration Powers Innovation at TreeSource Citrus Nursery”as saying, “What most people don’t grasp, especially with automation, is that it is not just about labor-saving technology. Oftentimes, it’s a complete rethink of your processes and being open to new ways of getting things done.”

It is easy to use the rational “because it’s how we’ve always done it.” But, is this way of thinking going to keep you in business long-term? Labor is typically a company’s highest expense, so it’s crucial for any business to address and evaluate its labor costs. Then, management must determine how labor-saving technology could keep your farm or nursery competitive.

Sometimes, it takes more than a return on investment (ROI) calculation to convince a company (or yourself) to do something different. As Smith expressed, it may also require a shift in mind-set. Let technology move your farm or nursery forward. Tools that provide precision agriculture data cut down the waste, the over-payments and the labor hours while providing you with date to effectively evaluate the true profitability of a particular variety and location.

Retire the punch cards, manual time sheets, and prehistoric time clocks. Electronic labor records, RFID and barcode data collection, precise counts and weight measurements, detailed audit trails, GPS mapping, automated payroll report imports…. don’t be the last grower to get on board, because you may as well be left behind at the station.

“People who appear to be resisting change may simply be the victim of bad habits. Habit, like gravity, never takes a day off.”
― Paul Gibbons, The Science of Successful Organizational Change: How Leaders Set Strategy, Change Behavior, and Create an Agile Culture