Read how R J Flowers Ltd said goodbye to double and triple-handling of information, unnecessary paperwork and handwritten bin cards, how they gained efficiencies and improved traceability, and were able to put the focus back on Quality.


Time Savings. Reduced Costs. Better Packout.

RJ Flowers Ltd is a family-owned and operated orchard located in New Zealand’s largest apple production region, Hawke’s Bay. There are currently three generations working on the orchard, which has been in the family since 1906.

Ron Flowers founded the business and still plays a very active role in the business, being hands on with the coolstore and engineering side of the operation.

Ron’s daughter Wendy and her husband John Evans manage the business, while John’s father, Wayne Evans, and John’s daughter, Kate, work across the orchard. Also integral to the day-to-day running of the orchard is Team Leader and Foreman, Filipe Tavutu, who has been working on the orchard since 2015.

photo of family
bin ticket

John, Kate and Filipe share their experience of using Hectre’s Orchard Management App and how they’ve transformed their operation, streamlined processes, reduced paperwork, improved record keeping, and reclaimed their time.

A Challenging Industry

John: Fruit growing is a challenging business to be in. We’re dealing with a lot of variable factors such as staffing, the markets, and Mother Nature. When you combine all that, it’s a melting pot with a lot of issues to deal with on a continuous timeline. But, we’re fortunate. We’re here, and we’ve got family land with a legacy that dates back to 1906, which is becoming rarer these days.

We obviously want to ensure we are doing things to the highest standard, and attention to detail is key to that. So having technology that assists with that is really important and beneficial. That’s where the Hectre journey began for us. We were looking for tools that would work for us and help with the challenges we were facing.

We were looking for tools that would work for us and help with the challenges we were facing.

apple bins
CA room

Gaining the Benefits of Technology with Hectre

The team at R J Flowers Ltd have gained numerous benefits from implementing the Hectre Orchard Management App. Here they share just some of the benefits they’ve realized.


Kate: Time-saving, better staff management, improving performance, traceability, and that all the information is in one place – that’s really important. And, of course, no more double-handling or triple-handling of information! The only person not using Hectre is my granddad. He still prefers to write out his timesheets, but he’s allowed to because he’s nearly 80!

No more double-handling or triple-handling of information. 

John: Having robust systems that are relatively straightforward to use is crucial, and so is getting staff to come on the journey as well. As we all know, life has lots of little speed bumps, but overall, implementing Hectre’s technology has been really positive for us.

Filipe: Everything you need to know is just there, on your phone, with you when you need it. I don’t have to go block to block tracking down team leaders to see how many bins have been completed, and I can see how quickly and when the bins are full.

It’s also easier to keep an eye on new pickers or pruners and make sure they are making progress, getting better at their work. And it’s very user-friendly and straightforward.

Having robust systems that are straightforward to use is crucial.

man in orchard
Before Hectre: So Much of our Time Was Wasted

Kate: The bin cards we used were thick and bulky and weren’t waterproof. Talking to Dad, we recalled one time the bin cards got wet, so we had to dry them all in the smoko room.


There were three parts to the bin cards, one for the bin, one for the cold store, and one for the grower or us up in the office. We did have a stamp for each variety, but someone would still need to stamp all the bin cards, and then all the other details would need to be written out.

Before Hectre, there was a lot of time wasted writing and filling things out multiple times. Now, we just scan the bin card and the information is already there.

Filipe: You would need to tear off the bottom of the bin card so that we had a record as well as the packhouse. Now, we just scan the bin card and don’t need to handwrite it or fill out the card multiple times. There was a lot of writing. Whereas with Hectre, you just click—and the information is already there.


Kate: With timesheets as well, it was just paper, paper, paper! Paper that needs to be stored in a folder somewhere. If there was an issue, we would need to go through the folders to find the submission – such a waste of time.

Having tools like Hectre to ensure we get those best outcomes is crucial.

photo of team

The Gift of Time: Turning the Focus onto Quality Control, Not Wasting Time on Writing Out Bin Cards

Now the QC is focused on picker performance, not wasting time on writing out and collecting bin cards.

Kate: At a team leader level, Hectre means more time to focus on the pickers and the QC.

Filipe: I remember that before having Hectre, there would be maybe three people just going around writing out bin cards.

Kate: All that time consuming writing was part of the QC job. Now the QC is focused on picker damage.

Filipe: And if there was picker damage, it often wouldn’t be discovered until late in the day. Now, we have real-time data, so if there’s an issue with the fruit, it can be addressed straight away.

Traceability and Information at the Click of a Button

John: Having traceability has been very beneficial for us. Harvest is a key moment in time that we need to get right. Having tools like Hectre to ensure we get those best outcomes is crucial and definitely helps with managing harvest successfully.

Kate: Just having all the information we need at the click of a button is great. If there’s an issue, we know that we can trace things back to the picker and the block, which is very reassuring. Team leaders also have all the information, which makes identifying issues and sorting them out so much easier. Before, we had to go back and look through all the bin cards.

Filipe: It’s all on our phones as well, so we can have a look whenever we want to. Before Hectre, if John wanted to know how many bins had been picked, he would call Kate who would have to stop what she was doing and count the bin cards. Now, John can just check the app. There’s no double-handling or having to call someone.

Supercharge your fruit

If you would like to learn how Hectre’s award winning fruit technologies can support the success of your business, please connect with us.