Automating harvest starts with gathering data on how much crops the farm collected, managing pickers and their salaries, overseeing shipments to warehouse and out of it. Obviously, it cannot be done by software alone - you need to find ways to track actual physical items (crops, containers) and people. So, you’ll need some basic hardware to supply you with data.
Minisoft Harvest Solution: Software + Hardware
In our opinion, barcodes are, by far, the simplest and cheapest way to gather data during harvest. You can attach it to anything and anyone, and by using a specific scheme, encode all kinds of useful data. All the supervisor has to do is scan the code - and it will give information on the worker, container, location - whatever you like. Armed with these insights (that take two seconds to collect), the software calculates software, reports on collected crops, spots inconsicesits and even manages shipments.
- A label printer
- A bar code scanner
- Scales (but you likely have them anyway)
- A PC (online connection isn’t required)
With this hardware (very basic compared to any other, more specialized options) and Minisoft software, you can now make some subtle but high-yield changes to your working process.
Workflows for automating harvest
After four years of working on our local Ukrainian market, we came to the conclusion that there are 3 workflows that provide the highest productivity increase.
Here they are.
- "Worker with a badge";
- "The one-time worker."
- Labeled Container technology.
The differences are in the way the software creates barcodes, in organization of crop reception, and work distribution at the beginning of the day. The use cases for these depend on your type of crops, size of farm, and workflow preferences.
Here’s what we mean by that. Worker with a badge: the barcode is meant to identify the worker, not a container.
The one-time worker: the code is meant to identify the part-time worker of pick-my-own farms and the containers with picked crops.
Worker with a labeled container: the code identifies the containers (but it does contain information on the worker, location and everything else). However, you need to print a lot of labels - one for each container. Also, they are different every day. This method requires most preparation but it's the most efficient one and produces the highest visibility.
|Options||When to use||When to opt for another option|
|Worker with a badge||
|The one-time worker||
|Worker with a labeled container||
Necessary technicalities of harvest automation
Now, let’s take a look at technical characteristics of these methods - or, in other words, what you need and what you don’t need for practical implementation.
|"Employee with badge."||