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Quantifying Savings to Determine Whether to Implement a New Time and Piece Tracking System: A Case Study

I receive a daily email through Google Alerts with articles related to “ag tech”, “precision agriculture”, and “farm technology”. I clicked on an article from Successful Farming called, “Finding the Value in Ag Tech.” The author had my attention after the first paragraph:

“Like any consumer, farmers want a product that delivers on what it claims it can do. When a brand doesn’t meet expectations, trust is quickly lost. That’s especially true when it comes to ag technology. Because the path to adoption has been littered with empty promises, it has become difficult to have a meaningful conversation about how the latest innovations can maximize production and improve farmers’ bottom lines.”

It's true. Over the past five years, we’ve learned about many unsuccessful and incomplete projects for the specialty crop industry. We understand why it can be hard for a grower to trust somebody promising the same solution. From the article, Troy Walker, an agronomy field sales manager, says, “Farmers have to move away from the mind-set that technology is an expense, but rather an investment … it’s so easy to see the value in iron. It’s very hard to see the value in technology since it just doesn’t seem tangible.” That is why I enjoy receiving positive feedback from customers who are seeing results. When we find ways to save growers time and money, everybody benefits. I want to share this very tangible way that the FairTrak flexible labor tracking system has helped several greenhouses increase productivity.

Last week, I worked with a new customer in Alberta, Canada with setup and implementation of a FairTrak system. This is the fourth greenhouse operation to implement the FairTrak in the area. The grower shared his goal with me. He wants to keep employees more accountable in order to improve workforce productivity. The FairTrak is a simple and accurate way to track time, record pieces, and register weights earned per employee. I was pleased to hear that this greenhouse operation had two new employees that were no longer needed at our first customer’s site. They saw such a jump in employee productivity that there were two employees that could transfer to another operation that needed the help. Registering weights using employee badges hold each employee accountable for the work they perform—just looking busy is no longer enough.
This is a quantifiable way that electronic time and piecework tracking software can save growers money. Growers can quickly identify who is under-performing so that the issue can be addressed without wasting additional resources. Management will also be able to pull up reports to know how many pieces, pounds, or hours are being spent doing each job. This data can also provide insightful information about labor costs associated with growing each variety per location.

It is important to determine whether Introducing new tech at your operation will provide a return on investment that makes sense. It can be a challenge to quantify how software will save you money. Think about every stage of the process, from field or greenhouse up to HR and the executive team. I’ll continue to share stories about the benefits and savings our customers are seeing because success stories are why we’re “Engineering Better Solutions for the Ag Industry.”