ABC_Berry Farm pickers

Berry Farms NZ use ABCgrower to ensure pickers receive accurate payment meeting minimum wage regulations.

Australian growers grappling with how to manage the impending minimum wage guarantee ruling for horticulture workers need to look no further than across the Tasman.

New Zealand has had regulated minimum wage rates for decades – in fact, it was the first country in the world to introduce a minimum wage, in 1894 no less.

Growers around Australia and New Zealand are confidently relying on the specialised horticulture software, ABCgrower, to capture, manage and report all picking and labour activities on the farm. For New Zealand growers, it automatically calculates top-up payments for pieceworkers.

“For our Australian clients, it is simply a matter of turning on top-up payments and they are good to go,” says ABC director, Sharon Chapman.

“Visibility to top-up payment costs is available at all times, giving growers the tools to identify poor performers before a pay period closes.”

Easy to use on smartphones and scanners, ABCgrower can be used with and without internet to easily capture worker activities and their start and finish times.

The admin involved in managing workers’ timesheets is significantly reduced due to information being digitised from the start.

“Having productivity and potential top-up costs instantly available gives the grower the opportunity to make operational changes before the costs are actually incurred,” says Chapman. “Collecting worker information digitally definitely improves accuracy and brings savings from taking less time to manage.”

Sally Jolly from Smart Berries in Munduberra, Queensland, says of ABCgrower: “We got real time data that very quickly showed us how fast people were working. It made day to day forecasting much much easier.”

It’s not just in the field that the ABC’s software was proving its worth, says Jolly. “It’s made things heaps easier in the office. A life saver is how it’s been described.”

Mark Simm from Remarkables Orchards, a summerfruit and cherry orchard in Central Otago, New Zealand, says ABCgrower has totally changed the business for the better.

“We’ve lost all the uncertainty around what’s been picked and how much pay is due,” Simm says. “There are no more arguments, and everyone is ‘happy as Larry’. Doing the wages now is so straightforward. It works out the top ups and as there’s no more paperwork, we don’t agonise over poor handwriting. It really has made everyone happy.”

ABC_Berry Farm pickers

Johnny Milmine, general manager of Berry Farms NZ, says ABC allows him to pull up any report he needs. All the data is at his fingertips, right down to individual pickers.

“The decisions we can make from this data tells us whether we have enough pickers, tells us whether we’ve got our productivity right, which allows us to forecast to our sales team, basically maximising our returns off every box,”Milmine says.

ABCgrower comes with optional modules including Spray Diary, Quality, On Site Log and Bin Inventory Management.

Also available is ABCpacker, a specialised packhouse programme that encompasses all aspects of packing, inventory management, selling, and grower payments.

“All our solutions come with training and on-going support to ensure our clients get the maximum value from the software. We are only a phone call away,” Chapman says.

ABC offers a free 45-day trial of all its solutions.

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