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FreshPack software developed by Kiwi fresh produce software specialist Radfords Software for Australian mango producer Piñata Farms, was instrumental in streamlining ripening and distribution operations during the 2018-2019 season.

Radfords’ product owner-multi produce, Bobby Barnes, said an add-on to its FreshPack post-harvest solution at Piñata Farms, allowed Piñata and ripening and distribution provider LaManna Premier Group (LPG) to track mangoes via live data at any point in the supply chain during the season.

“It reduced duplication of data entry and boosted confidence in product visibility,”

Piñata Farms was the first mango producer to adopt the technology which could be configured for any product which needed to be ripe before sale, he said.

Rolled out in October 2018, the software enabled LPG distribution centres in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, to accurately track and trace mangoes arriving throughout the season from up to 20 packhouses around Australia.

Specialty Honey Gold mangoes are produced by Darwin Fruit Farms (DFF), a joint venture between Piñata and LPG in the Northern Territory and Piñata’s Queensland farms as well as 30 contracted third-party growers in the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia from November to March annually. 

“Previously, when product arrived, LPG staff were required to manually enter data and send a report to Piñata where data had to be re-entered. Clearly, there was a duplication that could be streamlined to reduce time and save money. 

“With the new deployment, LPG staff access FreshPack via the cloud to enter data. Piñata staff then access that data automatically to identify where product is and what ripening stage it’s at.” 

Australian first for Radfords 
Piñata Farms became the first Australian fresh produce company to implement FreshPack in 2015. The fully integrated solution is installed at all Piñata sites including a central packhouse at Wamuran, south-east Queensland, and others at Mareeba and Stanthorpe, Queensland and DFF in the Northern Territory.

“It’s a multi-location system which consolidates many aspects of Piñata’s business. Piñata can scan labels instantly, print labels from a tablet, simplify sales reports and accurately track the movement of product. A system for grower payments is also integrated. We continue to work closely with Piñata to identify and adapt modifications. 

“At LPG, it also automatically generates service fee invoices, which saves considerable time.” 

Piñata Farms’ key account manager, Rebecca Scurr, said the modification had outstripped Piñata’s objectives.

“Having centralised data reduced the need for a lot of printed reports and gave us the confidence to make key decisions quickly and easily, based on fact. We had ‘to-the-minute’ knowledge of our stock levels and where our stock was at any given time,” she said. 

“During mango season, it saved us one administration person at 40 hours per week for 16 weeks. 

“Because the leading supermarket chains have such stringent food safety standards, it’s critical to have optimal supply chain management and the evidence to support our reputation as leaders in food quality and safety,” Ms Scurr said.

Barnes said Radfords adapted its learnings, gained from more than 30 years in fresh produce, to its Australian mango project.

“In New Zealand, the export focus of the fresh produce industry has driven very high traceability, inventory control and food quality standards. Our software encapsulates this principle and was an important driver in the project, enhancing inventory accuracy and reliability.”

Expanding the focus globally
Approximately 70 clients have FreshPack installed to manage a range of products including kiwifruit, apples, avocados, citrus, cherries, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, squash and organic chicken. 

Originally developed to address the kiwifruit industry’s need for a process-based software solution, its solutions help growers and packhouses meet stringent quality and process standards. Radfords now services clients in Australia, Europe, Asia and its products support a wide range of fresh produce lines. 

Now with six clients in Australia, Radfords is in final negotiations to secure additional projects with several leading Australian fresh produce suppliers.

Glenn Baker

Professional writer/editor with 35-plus years experience - including radio copywriting, various television writing/production roles, and writing for business magazines. I have also co-owned a wholesale food distribution business.

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