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Arizona Greenhouse Employs RFID to Track Workers' Tasks
With the use of tags and readers, Eurofresh Farms knows which plants have been tended or harvested by which workers, and can automatically provide that information to its payroll software.
If the employee is harvesting cucumbers or tomatoes, the process is slightly different. The worker uses the handheld reader to tap his own ID tag on the wall at the beginning of the shift, as well as the task tag, and then obtains a cart on which the produce will be loaded. The cart has an RFID tag on it, and the employee taps the tag with the reader to link himself to that cart. Once the cart is full, he moves it to a weighing station, which has a built-in Priva RFID interrogator that reads the tag when the cart is placed on the scale. That information is sent directly from the fixed reader to the back-end Priva software, which stores a record of the individual using that cart. The data is then forwarded once more to the Empower system, in order to calculate how much to pay that individual for the work performed, based on the weight of the produce harvested.
Moreover, the data derived from the system enables the company to better record how each plant is managed, as well as when a specific variety of plant is not doing well or requires excessive amounts of time to be cared for or harvested. Now that the company knows exactly how many pounds of product are being harvested from specific rows, supervisors need not spend as much time counting and verifying the quantity of rows in which staff members worked, and can now focus on quality—for example, determining the health of plants processed by workers. For customers, Jensen says, it means a higher quality product.
Jensen expects to install the RFID system at all 15 greenhouses by the end of 2013. This is the first time Empower has integrated its time and payroll software with Priva's system, he says, though it has utilized RFID data for its software packages. "We're thrilled it's working for Eurofresh, and we think this is something other companies will be leveraging in the future," says Yvonne Fong, Empower's product manager.
"Having an interface into our existing payroll software was absolutely critical," Jensen states. That was possible, Fong notes, due to the Empower system's flexible import interface.
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