Remote Packhouse Solutions now a Done Deal

By Hari Yellina
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Following the recent successful adoption of its packhouse solutions, a renowned New Zealand fresh produce software supplier claims it is experiencing record demand for its services. Raffa Fields, a renowned Australian asparagus producer and distributor, hired Radford Software earlier this year to deploy a packhouse system remotely. Raffa produces roughly 2000 tonnes of premium asparagus each year for home and export consumption in the Koo Wee Rup district of Victoria, and Radfords Customer Success Manager Royce Sharplin believes that sharing word of their success has sparked interest from other businesses. “They’ve hosted a lot of industry peers who have then come to us and said, based on what we’ve seen, we want it as well,” he explained.

“This is quite exciting and has increased our present high demand.” We’ve got to refocus on controlling and planning our work ahead of time, properly managing our resources, and attempting to provide the best possible service to our consumers. It’s a nice problem to have because it brings fresh challenges and opportunities. They (Raffa Fields) have been an excellent customer to deal with; they are an excellent example of a family-run firm that has relied on manual procedures for a long time and now has a strong desire to see what efficiencies they can achieve with our software. They’ve been a huge part of their own development, and as a result, they’ve helped us future-proof what we’ve done remotely.

Mr. Sharplin says increased interest from the vegetable sector, such as asparagus and leafy salads (and the ongoing project with onion and potato heavyweights Mitolo Family Farms) has been greatly welcomed. Radfords also has a strategy to diversify into broader fresh produce sectors to complement our ‘traditional’ customers in the kiwifruit, apple, citrus, and avocado markets. Mr. Sharplin noted, “The product has enough functionality and flexibility to handle category-specific terminology and react to changes in business processes.” “The Raffa implementation was a good reinforcement of this for us, as we’ve worked hard over the last few years to make our solutions as ‘product agnostic’ as possible so that we can continue to cater to diverse categories.”

The fact that we were able to implement it remotely and with minimal customization for asparagus production gave us a lot of confidence. The implementation was nearly unexpectedly ‘out of the box.’ It has also shown us how we may improve our procedures and make them more efficient.” Radfords already has a strong presence in the fresh produce industry in New Zealand and Australia, and its expansion ambitions include a focus on the Northern American market, with resources on the ground in the US. Radford Software will be at Hort Connections in Brisbane next month (booth 215), showcasing its software solutions that provide operational efficiency from the soil to the shop. This includes the new platform on which FreshGrow and FreshQuality are built, on which the firm has spent a significant amount of time refining the User Interface (UI).

“Our orchard management tool, FreshGrow, allows us to have complete control and visibility over orchard event planning, spray diaries, timesheets, and labour capture.” More is on the way, including a thorough chemical inventory and more – the final result being a single point of contact for any orchard or farm management,” Mr. Sharplin stated.            “For these people, the idea is to make the experience as intuitive and simple as possible, because when you’re out on the farm, you want a simple, easy UI.” So, for us, part of that has been about supplementing our web-based application with the ability to capture and perform duties from a mobile app, ensuring data can be captured regardless of internet connection – straight from a user’s phone.”

Hort Connections 2022 will be held in Brisbane from June 6-8.


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