MAXISCALE is an electronic weighing system for tracking piecework in the field (or pack house).
Normally the first step farmers take in trying to overcome poor productivity and reduce cost is to move to piecework. MAXITRACK and MAXIPORTABLE are very effective in automating the process of recording, calculating and paying for piecework.
Adding a scale to the process, and paying per kilogram instead of per bag, adds further benefits and proven advantages.
To measure performance by weighing instead of counting, the MAXIPORTABLE reader connects to a MAXISCALE in the field, where each bag is weighed before it is tipped or each container is weighed once it is filled. The portable scale and reader are mounted on the trailer or a stand in the field during the day and then taken back to power for re-charging overnight.
The weights recorded are linked to the orchard, cultivar and task for costing and the fact that the workers register their weights themselves, and are able to check their running totals for the day, creates trust and transparency.
Fantastic results have been achieved through marked increases in productivity, creating a real ‘win-win’ situation with both workers and employers being better off.
According to Heimo Weiers, manager of Mabete farm (Bosveld Sitrus, Letsitele), on top of the cost savings achieved in season one by introducing MaxiPortables into the orchards to count bags electronically, when scales were introduced in season two, some workers earning up to 30% more per bag and yet the overall cost to company fell by a further 7%.
Paying by weight removed the necessity for full bags, enabling women and more physically challenged workers to contribute, resulting in a wider pool of workers to choose from and improved quality. Because of the increased earning potential, Bosveld staff turnover was also greatly reduced by introduction of the new system.
Some Bosveld picking teams are recording up to 7000 weight transactions in a day, with some individuals picking up to 200 bags (three tonnes) per day.
Similar improvements in productivity have been achieved in greenhouse and field environments weighing vegetables as they are harvested.