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Fresh Produce Tech Blog - 2017-12

RadBlog  —  December 13, 2017

Now one month into the CEO role at Radfords Software and it has been a whirlwind introduction into the world of fresh produce! There are some amazing things happening both in NZ and internationally as the sector responds to the burgeoning consumer demand for great quality fresh produce.  A big factor in this demand is food security / quality and by implication, traceability back to where the product comes from and how it was grown. This theme is consistent across all fresh produce sectors and a common topic when talking with growers, pack houses and marketers is: how do you connect the end consumer with the growers of high-quality fruit? 

Whilst there is a lot of hype and mystery surrounding Blockchain, the reality is that this is just a data delivery mechanism to players within the supply chain.  Within the fresh produce space, the first question to answer is not “are you Blockchain ready?”, rather, “can you generate accurate traceability data from field to consumer for your produce?”  The key inputs and outputs that generate this data are: (i) your operational process and (ii) your process software that records the data.  So whilst right now we are hearing a lot about blockchain disruption, the priority should focus on ensuring businesses can capture the data Blockchain will consume into supply chains when these platforms become available as predicted in the near future.  Outside of Blockchain, there are many other examples of how creative companies are already using traceability data to provide visibility within B2B supply chains and engage their consumers with their product story e.g.: QR codes and gamification.  

In the wider Fresh produce scene Radfords continues to provide a sweet spot for pre and post-harvest processes, by deploying “Grownote”, our orchard management software tool and “FreshPack Multi”, our post-harvest management solution.  Increasingly our tools are being deployed into various crop operations across NZ and Australia including: Kiwifruit, Kiwi-Berries, Cherries, Apples, Avocadoes, Citrus, Tomatoes, Kumara, Mushrooms, Pineapples, Mangoes, Pears, Plums, Peaches, Apricots, Potatoes, Onions and even Chickens!

In the Kiwifruit industry, it is a real story of growth in global demand driven by the Gold and organic varieties. Zespri has a stated 10 year plan to meet a doubling of global demand for Zespri kiwifruit to 350M trays.  In this space, we have a number of exciting programmes underway with our new cool-store solution: “FreshCool”.  This will be going live with one of our major customers in time for the 2018 season and we look forward to introducing the efficiencies to other customers throughout 2018 /19.  Hot on the heels of this we have planned a major initiative to upgrade our master data solution: “Caboodle” to drive a single source of the truth for data supporting the post-harvest processes.  This will again significantly help drive efficiencies by ensuring greater accuracy of data through the supply chain to get things “right first time”.  With other big plans to enhance our pack-house tablet solution: “FreshTouch”, 2018 will be an exciting time for innovation in the Kiwifruit industry.

To find out more about how Radfords can help you deliver your fresh produce to the world’s food basket, contact us today.