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Big things are happening on the growth front for Tauranga-based Radfords Software.
The company was founded in 1989 by Phil Radford, who spent a decade as a civil and construction engineer before finding his true vocation as a software designer and developer.
Radford Software has since become the dominant supplier of inventory tracking and grower payment software to the kiwifruit industry, and has a major presence in other horticultural sectors, including apples and avocados.
The company’s wide-ranging software solutions cover the full life-cycle of fresh produce from orchard to consumer, and are used both in New Zealand and internationally. The product range covers software for growing, packing, storing and managing fruit from orchard through the value chain.
“It’s all about identifying, tracking and locating particular inventory and being able to provide instant information that is relevant to how the fruit got to where it is,” says General Manager Les Dimond.
Les, who joined the company in 2008, says the company is expanding as a result of increasing global emphasis on the traceability of fresh foods.
“Australia is opening up significantly as a very viable market, mainly because the big retailers are all wanting strong traceability of fresh food,” says Les.
“In NZ that’s what we’ve specialised in and it means there’s a good market for our products in Australia. We’ve previously focused on kiwifruit, avocados, tomatoes, apples etc, but we’ve had recent wins in the cherry business in South Otago. These businesses are getting bigger and our automated tracking and inventory management really makes sense for them.”
Another major trend on the technology front is mobility, with packhouses and coolstores now starting to use mobile apps on tablets and smartphones.
“Historically, our applications have been desktop and industrial scanner based,” says Les.
“Now we are starting to see the use of cloud-based systems and the move into more portable platforms - people want to be able to carry the digital tools to the point of activity rather than having the workstations elsewhere. That’s a big push forward in our sector.”
The company does all work inhouse and is a fully-fledged software house with developers, business analysts, test analysts, a solution architect, support specialists and admin staff.
Radfords’ software could potentially be applied to a number of sectors, but currently horticulture is “the big space”, says Les.