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An Australian mango producer has deployed software from a New Zealand specialist to streamline its ripening and distribution operations.

Piñata Farms used an add-on for its FreshPack post-harvest solution, developed by Radfords Software Limited, to track mangoes via live data at any point in the supply chain alongside ripening and distribution partner LaManna Premier Group (LPG).

According to Bobby Barnes, Radfords product owner for multi-produce, the add-on reduced data entry duplication and increased confidence in product visibility.

"Previously, when product arrived, LPG staff were required to manually enter data and send a report to Piñata where data had to be re-entered. Clearly, there was a duplication that could be streamlined to reduce time and save money.

"With the new deployment, LPG staff access FreshPack via the cloud to enter data. Piñata staff then access that data automatically to identify where product is and what ripening stage it's at,” he said.

The FreshPack system, which is installed at all Piñata sites including a central packhouse at Wamuran, south-east Queensland; Mareeba and Stanthorpe, Queensland; and Darwin Fruit Farms in the Northern Territory, enabled LPG distribution centres across all mainland Australian states to track and trace mangoes arriving from up to 20 packhouses over the course of the season, said Barnes.

"It's a multi-location system which consolidates many aspects of Piñata's business. Piñata can scan labels instantly, print labels from a tablet, simplify sales reports, and accurately track the movement of product. A system for grower payments is also integrated. We continue to work closely with Piñata to identify and adapt modifications.

"At LPG, it also automatically generates service fee invoices, which saves considerable time,” he said.

According to Rebecca Scurr, key account manager at Piñata Farms, the modification went above and beyond the company’s expectations, saving the equivalent of one full-time administrative position for 16 weeks.

"Having centralised data reduced the need for a lot of printed reports and gave us the confidence to make key decisions quickly and easily, based on fact. We had 'to-the-minute' knowledge of our stock levels and where our stock was at any given time.

"Because the leading supermarket chains have such stringent food safety standards, it's critical to have optimal supply chain management and the evidence to support our reputation as leaders in food quality and safety," she said.

Piñata Farms was the first Australian company to install FreshPack in 2015.

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