Now that we have Hectre, if our payroll team has an issue, they can call me and say, hey, can you look at this? Instead of having to drive across the farm or travel in from a different ranch to the office, I can simply pull out my phone or grab the tablet.
Established in 1912, Borton Fruit has over 100 years of farming experience and is one of the largest single growers of pome fruit and cherries in the United States.
Pure glacier waters flowing from the Cascade Mountains combine with cool winters and warm summers to create ideal growing conditions for their apple, pear and cherry enterprise and they pride themselves on delivering the highest quality fruit with the freshest, most flavorful eating experience possible.
Borton Fruit is known for its innovation and cutting-edge technology, which extends right across its business, from their innovative growing practices to their industry-leading packing and shipping complex.
With a desire to significantly reduce wasted time and move away from archaic mountains of paper, Borton Fruit quickly embraced Hectre’s Orchard Management Software for its timesheets, payroll and harvest.
Before we got Hectre, payroll - and harvest - meant mounds of paper. We have a lot of employees, and all their timesheets were handwritten on paper. Every week, timesheets would need to be copied - more paper - before being sent to our payroll team. If they found mistakes, they would need to phone people to come into the office and sort it out.
So much time was spent going over timesheets, checking things like whether the piece rates were correct. And when the harvest was in full swing, the piles of paper timesheets would often resemble a jumbled mess.
From the Hectre app, I have instant access to all the timesheet information, whether for the current payroll or from a year ago, wherever I am. That’s a huge time-saving for all of us.
There are also time-savings for our crew leaders. They don’t need to spend 30 minutes filling out timesheets at the start of the day, and after work, they don’t need to spend 30 to 90 minutes going over the timesheets again.
So there is a time-saving of about an hour and a half each day per crew leader, which is time they can spend with their families or on other tasks, and as a business we save on labor costs.
Before we had the Hectre app, our harvest process was similar to how we ran the payroll - it was all done with pen and paper. We’re a busy orchard, with trucks constantly rolling in and picking up fruit and lots of employees and blocks to keep track of. Bin cards and other records would get damaged or misplaced, run over by a tractor, or lost in the back of a pickup truck.
We didn’t have an easy way of tracking what was happening in the orchard or a convenient way to collect and review the data. If there was an issue or I wanted to know how many bins had been picked, I would have to go find the crew leaders, and they would have to go around and get a count of how many bins had been sent out to the loading area. Then they would have to relay that information back to me.
Records for every harvest were stored in booklets in the office, so if you weren’t in the office when you needed to access that information, it was a problem. Reviewing the records, comparing data, and making decisions from it, was also a time-consuming and frustrating process.
If I want to know how the crew is doing, I can quickly pull out my phone, go on the app, and get real-time data, like how many bins per hour they are picking or how many have been picked from a particular block. I don’t need to call the crew leaders or track them down.
Having all the historical data in one place also means better organization and decision-making. We can easily review the data and make comparisons, like when we started picking a variety and how the harvest turned out.
I can look back at my tractor driver-crew and see when chemical thinning started last year, and we can keep track of bloom dates. Bloom dates allow us to more accurately plan when we will begin picking, spraying, pruning, and thinning. Rather than having to remember or write it down on a piece of paper, it’s all right there in the Hectre app.
I was very involved with implementing Hectre and was keen to get it working out in the field. I found it pretty straightforward to learn, but some of the older team members needed some help. I think there’s an aspect of not wanting to lose or damage a phone or tablet and they worried about that.
We ran sessions to help everyone get the hang of it and feel more confident, but what it really comes down to is just getting out there and using it.
It makes the day-to-day a lot easier. Easier for me, our payroll team, and our crew leaders. Mistakes are still made, but with everything on the app, it’s a much easier fix than having to rewrite or sort through the paper records.
Just thinking about the time spent answering calls to provide people with information or an update - it all adds up. Fifteen minutes a day equals five hours a month. With Hectre, all the information is easily accessible in the app, so you don’t have those distractions.
The time-savings really add up and make a real difference.