When you have 18 hectares of glass and more than 250 pickers and crop workers, keeping up to date with how the whole enterprise is performing in real time is a tremendous challenge.
The management at Cornerways Nursery decided that they needed to be able to gather accurate management information quickly and reliably, so they weighed up all the things that a modern management information system needed to do for them.
Cornerways is part of British Sugar, with a substantial existing IT infrastructure, so they needed a system that would meet all the compatibility and security protocols expected of every British Sugar operation. The Cornerways management also knew very well that out of date information is pointless, so they wanted a system that collects and processes labour and production data that can be viewed and used for management decisions more or less immediately. Furthermore, they wanted an intuitive system, which would be suitable for users of all abilities, requiring no knowledge of IT and minimal training.
After a considerable amount of research, they came to the conclusion that Priva's FS Performance meets or exceeds all the exacting criteria that they had specified, and installed it before picking of the 2015 tomato crop began.
FS Performance collects data in a number of ways:
- Through hand held readers carried by every worker that allows them to scan electronic tags embedded with information about where the work takes place, what the work is, what time each job takes and how much work has been done. Data collected on the readers is uploaded wirelessly to the FS Performance server at regular intervals through one of more than 20 routers installed around the Cornerways site.
- Through smartphones carried by management and supervisors to record things like the quality of the work, maintenance issues, pests and diseases, and yield forecasts
- By links with packing and grading machines
- By connection with the climate computer to capture climate and irrigation information and collate that information with production data
The Priva system automatically checks for data anomalies and will even offer suggested corrections.
Collecting useful information is one thing, but the real value of any management information system is in presenting the data in an immediately understandable format. FS Performance achieves that through a Windows based portal that collates all the information that has been collected from whatever source (including from several sites when required) and displays the resulting performance on an easy to follow dashboard that contains all the key performance data. FSP has a built in spreadsheet for occasional analysis of any data which are not dealt with in the standard reports. This module is compatible with Excel so that data can be exported if required.
When it comes to productivity, it's not just managers and supervisors who are interested in how the workforce is performing. Individual workers can be very motivated by seeing how things are going as well. So the Priva system also features an 'Information Display' on an LCD screen in the canteen area so that the staff can follow the overall work progress at break times.