Leslie Nesbitt_hr

Leslie Nesbitt, Radfords’ business intelligence team leader

New Zealand-based provider Radfords has fast-tracked the evolution of its fresh produce data reporting system FreshInsightsto help business future-proof their businesses.

Adam Cuming, chief executive of Radfords, said the Covid-19 pandemic had accelerated the thinking around the concept of digitisation and how it can help support faster decision making and streamline business areas where labour is scarce.

'The FreshInsights toolset - originally developed seven years ago - has matured so that it is now able to handle the proliferation of data sources available from smart automation hardware or software. New hardware solutions while internet capable, tend to exist in a silo and that information can become much more valuable once brought into an end-to-end data ecosystem,” Cuming said.

'This customer-driven evolution is coming from the urgent need to more quickly respond to challenges like supply chain disruption, reduced access to labour, visibility of one version of the data truth especially when more of the workforce can be working remotely from one another.'

Leslie Nesbitt, Radfords’ business intelligence team leader, said consolidating data into a central location helped businesses become more data-driven in their decision making.

'There is often a single person who holds the knowledge to how data works across the business. When that person leaves, that knowledge is lost. Our tools provide opportunities for more than one person to be across the data,” Nesbitt said.

'FreshInsights continues to evolve as a powerful data warehouse by gathering and storing all data from multiple applications into a central location. This will enable businesses to gain insights in a user-friendly, efficient and meaningful way.”

Nesbitt said adding the ability to access reports via mobile also gave users ability to utilise their data in real-time and work remotely.

'Irrespective of whether all systems in a packhouse are Radfords systems or not, FreshInsights can work with existing systems or stand-alone,” explained Nesbitt.

'Having the correct data and ability for all involved in the business to see and analyse that data in real-time will allow customers to make informed decisions in real-time and open businesses to new opportunities for growth.

Since late 2020, Radfords has been collaborating with its New Zealand research partner PlantTech to develop artificial intelligence (AI) tools to integrate FreshInsights with various technologies across the supply chain, such as soil and temperature sensors.

'By partnering with PlantTech, we have gained access to a specialised team of AI and data scientists who can fast-track opportunities for growth,' Cuming said.

'We're focused on ensuring information becomes more prescriptive rather than being presented. Eventually, some decisions will be automatically suggested, or even actionable decisions made where it makes sense for the context of the customer's business.'