Choosing the Farm Labor Tracking Software that is Right for You

A big thank you to our customers for another successful year! We’re happy to put another year in the books at 2nd Sight. If you can believe it, we’re gearing up for another busy 2019 season already.

In 2018, we released the FairPick Lite system to add even more data capture possibilities to weighing produce in the field. Internationally, we implemented our first FairTrak and FairPick Lite systems in Finland. We even created some buzz in the Netherlands with the release of the InstaCaliper electronic nursery caliper EU model.

Over the “off-season”, we have been busy reflecting on the successes of the year and implementing new software features. Every year, we gather feedback from our customers so that we can continue to meet the needs of the Ag industry. Our systems are designed for farmers, by farmer input. We continue to build our software to improve time-keeping, labor records, farm labor management, and provide the tools needed to effectively and efficiently track labor and product starting in the field.

A sneak-peak at new features you’ll see in 2019:

  • Improved flexibility to handle batch actions in the field
  • Enhanced employee section on the Portal
  • GPS notes feature
  • Improved break management including nonproductive, paid, and unpaid task types to ensure you have comprehensive break records.
  • Release of a new labor tracking app available for download on personal Android devices. Keep up with all your workers no matter where they are or what time they start the job.
  • Let 2nd Sight work with you to improve labor and data collection with software and hardware solutions that are flexible to fit your needs. You should know your operational costs and that begins with knowing your labor expenses. Utilize barcodes to improve your food safety traceability, as well.

Implementing a 2nd Sight system to improve tracking labor on the farm is another way you can move your operation forward in 2019. The 2nd Sight team looks forward to providing our current and new customers with our top-notch support that makes the difference as we're "Engineering Better Solutions for the Ag Industry."

A Focus on What Farmers Can Control: Ag Tech, Management Tools, and Integrated Labor Systems

There is doom and gloom surrounding predictions of the impacts of climate change on water supply, degradation of soil, pollination, weed control, and lower specialty crop yields. Continued uncertainty about trade relations may take a toll on exports. An inability to create a cohesive immigration policy to provide adequate, timely, and legal labor for seasonal jobs when our domestic workforce can’t, or won’t, fill the need…. There are without question factors working against the Ag Industry that seem almost too big to control or change quickly. So, what can a farmer do today to keep the operation going?

It’s time to embrace innovation. Companies see what Ag is up against and are out to develop hardware and software solutions. Labor management technologies utilizing RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology, cloud-based mobile labor tracking apps, and payroll integration can greatly improve payroll accuracy which saves time and money. Scanning and data logging in the field allows for GPS traceability and a more streamlined process. Implementing electronic labor management cuts down work in the office and improves labor and yield records.

Labor management tools are nothing new. The good news: this technology is now adapted specifically for farms, orchards, and nurseries and they do not have to break the bank. There are solutions that exist that fit a budget of the 20- or 40-acre farm. This is important at a time when even the family farm needs to run like the thousand-acre operation.

It’s time to ask yourself, “How can my operation become more efficient?” But, can you even answer the question, “Where is the money and where are my farm’s resources going?” It’s time to explore solutions that will give you the data you need to analyze and review what your farm is doing right, where you can cut down on expenses (labor hours down to the block or row level), your workforce’s efficiency, and the direction you need to go to remain competitive in an uncertain Ag landscape.

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