PickTrace http://picktrace.com Workforce & Productivity Management Tue, 05 Mar 2019 05:57:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 http://picktrace.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/cropped-agriberries_postArtboard-15favicon3-32x32.png PickTrace http://picktrace.com 32 32 Sample Post http://picktrace.com/sample-post/ http://picktrace.com/sample-post/#respond Sun, 03 Mar 2019 04:39:07 +0000 http://forterran.com/?p=4139

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PickTrace collaborates with UC Berkeley researcher to help improve client’s workforce efficiency http://picktrace.com/picktrace-collaborates-with-uc-berkeley-researcher-to-help-improve-clients-workforce-efficiency/ http://picktrace.com/picktrace-collaborates-with-uc-berkeley-researcher-to-help-improve-clients-workforce-efficiency/#respond Sun, 03 Mar 2019 02:30:38 +0000 http://forterran.com/?p=4105

They say that knowledge has a beginning but no end. So are the possibilities with the research performed by UC Berkeley’s Andrew Stevens, Ph.D.

With a background in agricultural economics, Stevens was asking the question, “how do workers’ productivities change with a change in the wage that they’re paid?”

To answer this question, Stevens collaborated with PickTrace to collect data from two different blueberry farms over the course of three years, comparing productivity in relation to wage and temperature. Stevens’ findings reveal that there is a significant decrease in productivity in both high and low temperatures, however, these effects can be mitigated with wage incentives in low temperatures.

“Cool temperatures, between about 50-60° F, are just as bad if not worse than those above 100° F for blueberry picking productivity. It’s not that it’s hard for people to do labor when it’s cool out, it’s that these blueberry pickers are picking with their bare hands, touching this cold fruit right around the temperatures where our fingers lose their dexterity…

“If you put this temperature effect together with the wage responsiveness effect what we see is that increases in the piece rate wage are able to increase productivity at those cool temperatures but not at the really high temperatures,” says Stevens.

The results of this study empower growers to gain a greater awareness of their operation and initiate processes that maximize productivity in various working conditions.

Agricultural Research and Rising Technology

While research in agriculture has always been a viable opportunity, the introduction of new big data technologies in recent years has opened the door for a greater depth of research. “In a product designed around some output for the grower, you usually collect a lot more data than the grower ever sees, and those underlying data are really rich and allow someone in my position to do really detailed research,” Stevens explains, indicating that this study could not have been performed using information collected with pen and paper.

The rise of AgTech in recent years creates new possibilities for growers and researchers to partner together for a common goal – improving the quality and efficiency of food being produced.

“I think there’s a lot of trust to be built between the research community and the farming community and that can’t be rushed, but I certainly hope that those doors get opened as quickly as they can because there’s so much that we can learn so quickly,” says Stevens.

Stevens will be taking a new position as Assistant Professor in Agricultural Economics at Mississippi State University, and will present his paper this summer in Bonn, Germany at a conference focused on labor markets and the environment.

*All research was conducted via a bilateral, open research agreement in which PickTrace provided data consented by the affiliated growers and Stevens performed an independent analysis. Stevens was not paid by PickTrace to conduct this research or present results.

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5 Marketing Trends at United Fresh MKT 2017 http://picktrace.com/5-marketing-trends-at-united-fresh-mkt-2017/ http://picktrace.com/5-marketing-trends-at-united-fresh-mkt-2017/#respond Tue, 19 Jun 2018 05:26:03 +0000 http://forterran.com/?p=4155

The world is changing rapidly and successful businesses have to evolve with it. The 2017 United Fresh Expo was full of exciting discussion, new technology and the latest trends. Below are a few hot topics that we’re likely to see more of in the future.

 

1.“Foodies” are last year’s crowd

In recent years social media has been bombarded with the work of so-called foodies, sharing visual commentary of experiential modern cuisines. Although many still identify with this label, the trend may have reached its peak. 

As our country combats increasing rates of malnourishment and obesity, the drive to eat is progressively being replaced with a push to eat right. Not everyone considers themselves a foodie, but the entire population eats and can benefit from a well-prepared nutritious meal. Similarly, larger portions of the population are becoming interested in the nutritional value delivered in the foods they eat, and would be willing to try new cuisines for this purpose.

2. hacks, Hacks, HACKS

Who doesn’t love a life short-cut or know-how? Modern media platforms have made it easy to instantly share ideas to an unrestricted population, and hacks are going viral. Life hacks, work hacks, food hacks, etc. – the millennial generation loves to discover better ways to do the activities they have always done and are likely to share these ideas with their friends on social media.

3. Content layering

We live in a fast-pace society where information is here and gone, so marketing has to strike the audience’s attention quickly. Content layering is a technique used to quickly strike the interest of online viewers and keep their attention longer.

When deciding the content that should be shown on a website page or other platform, start by only revealing the information that will be most appealing to the audience. The idea is to bait them with the most appealing information and then keep them coming back for more. For example, if sharing recipes, place the three most viewed at the top then at the bottom provide the option to see more if desired. We want to keep the audience connected as long as possible so offer options to keep them clicking to new pages.

4. Mom does it best

Millennials’ outlook is a little different than previous generations, and it’s important to earn their trust to stay ahead. So many companies are asking – who do millennials trust when it comes to cooking and trying new recipes?

As shared at the Fresh MKT Expo, studies are revealing that millennials trust their mom the most when it comes to cooking. They are more likely to try a new recipe suggested by mom than recipes found elsewhere. Though this may be contrary to the habits of previous generations, this new understanding opens doors to better relate to audiences in the future.

5. Small companies and potential for BIG impact

The rise of platform technology has created new opportunities for business. For some these changes are beneficial, for others there may be a new set of challenges. It’s clear, however, that the current market allows people to connect faster and information to spread more rapidly. In this era, business giants are no longer the only voices being heard. In fact, this year’s discussion at United Fresh indicated the power that small companies now have to influence the decisions of their larger counterparts, paving the way for widespread market trends.

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Harvest & workforce management in real time web-based application http://picktrace.com/harvest-workforce-management-in-real-time-web-based-application/ http://picktrace.com/harvest-workforce-management-in-real-time-web-based-application/#respond Sun, 02 Jul 2017 03:49:36 +0000 http://forterran.com/?p=4128 Rebecca Dumais, Fresh Plaza

 

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Boosting productivity, keeping labor in a tight-margin industry http://picktrace.com/boosting-productivity-keeping-labor-in-a-tight-margin-industry/ http://picktrace.com/boosting-productivity-keeping-labor-in-a-tight-margin-industry/#respond Mon, 12 Jun 2017 03:58:19 +0000 http://forterran.com/?p=4135 Fresh Fruit Portal

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Causal Indicators of Labor Productivity http://picktrace.com/causal-indicators-of-labor-productivity/ http://picktrace.com/causal-indicators-of-labor-productivity/#respond Wed, 10 May 2017 05:34:16 +0000 http://forterran.com/?p=4167

Farming operations are complex with many moving parts, each contributing to the growth and prosperity of the company. In an industry where nothing is predictable, it’s important to distinguish between the controllable and uncontrollable factors that will impact the bottom line. Using tactics to increase labor productivity is a great way to advance operational production.

Productivity, different than production or efficiency, is defined as a comparison between operational inputs and outputs. Farms that create strategies to minimize what they put into their operation while generating greater outputs are likely to see an increase in productivity.

When it comes to labor productivity, there are many influential factors. For instance, human resources, capital spending, innovation, competition, and management policies may all have an impact on the productivity of employees. A recent study aimed to identify the most impactful elements on agricultural labor productivity by analyzing the relationship between productivity and industry attractiveness, employee characteristics, and job suitability (1). See the results below.

Industry Attractiveness

Industry attractiveness is defined as the distinct features that make employment in that industry desirable. Within the scope of agriculture, study results revealed a strong correlation between the industry’s desirable characteristics and labor productivity.

It may seem intuitive that high wages would be a great incentive for agricultural employment. Although wages are an important factor, other characteristics proved to be more influential. Interestingly, agricultural employees were more attracted by market demand, technology and work opportunity than the actual amount of wages.

In relation to labor productivity, the more that an operation presents these desirable qualities – high market demand, appropriate use of technology, increased work opportunity, and higher wages – the more productive the workforce tends to be.

“In achieving progressive farming…[t]he most primary requirement is the availability of a market for farm products. Other requirements include technology that always changes, the availability of a local and continuous production environment, the existence of stimulation to produce, and smoothly operating means of transportation,” (1).

Employee Characteristics

Some employees are likely to be more productive than others. The following characteristics are indicators that employees may be more, or less productive.

Education: Within the field of agriculture, education is positively correlated with productivity. The higher an employee’s level of education, the more productive they are likely to be.

Social Status: This quality was based on the employee’s job status, facilities, and occupational routines. The study revealed that social status was negatively correlated with productivity. Therefore, the higher an employee’s social status, the lower their productivity is likely to be. It is possible, however, that these results are reflective of differing job responsibilities.

Culture: The study defined culture by parental influences, such as, parent occupation and the nature of the parent-employee relationship. Culture has a negative relationship with productivity, meaning that employees who are more influenced by their parents tend to be less productive than employees who are more distant from their parents.

Job Suitability

Job suitability is defined as being congruent with an employee’s job qualifications and career goals. Although job suitability may seem like a motivational factor, it does not reveal a relationship with labor productivity. Employees who are better suited for a job in agriculture aren’t any more likely to be productive than their poorly suited counterparts.

Sources

http://www.ijhssnet.com/journals/Vol_3_No_10_Special_Issue_May_2013/23.pdf

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Farm-To-Table Movement Boosting Agricultural Awareness http://picktrace.com/farm-to-table-movement-boosting-agricultural-awareness/ http://picktrace.com/farm-to-table-movement-boosting-agricultural-awareness/#respond Wed, 19 Apr 2017 22:39:50 +0000 http://forterran.com/?p=4223

Executive Chef Edward Gray describes his experience with farm-to-table foods and its greater impact on the surrounding culture.

What influences how shoppers select their produce purchases? Chances are the average shopper is seldom aware of the fresh products seasonally available in their area. Research shows that millennials are instead more likely influenced by habit, recipe ideas and preparation time while most shoppers have a specific list of needed produce before they enter the grocery store (1). With most produce provided year-round, shoppers are often unaware of the benefits of branching out to seasonally available foods.

This was reflected in the results of a recent survey, in which the surveyed population believed the local availability of the listed crops to be limited between the months of June and September. Their perception, of course, differing greatly from the actual harvest dates which ranged over several months, some even available all year.

The convenience of domestic and international produce transport has aided in the accessibility of healthier foods, however it often leaves us out of touch with our own local environment.

Recent “locovores” have discovered the advantages of eating local produce, often affirming the improved flavor and added nutritional value of produce picked and consumed at the optimal time. Similar farm-to-table initiatives by restaurants have advocated the positive effects of local produce, not only for our health but also for the local economy as this movement rewards nearby farmers for their diligence. These commonly cited examples provide enough incentive to “eat local.” Even so, Executive Chef Edward Gray from Southern California suggests the benefits reach even further.

  

Chef Edward’s experience implementing farm-to-table foods.

Chef Edward began his career 18 years ago when the farm-to-table movement was barely a blip on the horizon. As a relatively new chef he found himself taking on the ambitious challenge of pioneering an all organic menu at a recently-opened restaurant in New York City. At the time, all organic menus were rare and the produce was costly. Still Chef Edward was exhilarated by the possibilities. “As a chef you have a responsibility to teach your guests about their food, from the way it should look and taste to the nutrition,” he says. This experience was influential in provoking the same insightful observations as many “locovores” propose today. He found that the organic and local produce was so ripe with flavor that he was adding less salt and sugar to his recipes.

Chef Edward has since deepened his experience in various locations from private yachts to 5-star resorts, often spearheading the farm-to-table initiatives at these facilities. In fact, incorporating farm-to-table foods evolved into an opportunity for him to educate himself and his guests. When certain types of produce are not in season Chef Edward reaches out to local farmers to explore alternatives. “Farmers have a passion for what they grow. Pairing that with a chef’s passion for culinary is extremely profitable,” he says. In addition to prompting culinary artistry, this collaboration exposes guests to new food types, nutritional options, and the farmer’s workmanship. The results have been evident.

“Farmers have a passion for what they grow. Pairing that with a chef’s passion for culinary art is extremely profitable.”

Edward Gray

Excecutive Chef

Beyond the kitchen.

As culinary artists like Chef Edward continue to encourage the consumption local foods, so has the demand for local produce increased for the end consumer. People are starting to ask more questions about the food they eat and where it comes from. For these individuals, purchasing local foods is a logical next step. One study indicated that the amount of supermarket shoppers who visit farmers markets increased by 50% in the year 2015 alone (1). This growing demand creates an exciting atmosphere for the field of agriculture. With so many avenues promoting food knowledge and healthy living, farms who hope to connect with the end consumer have an attentive audience.

Sources:

http://www.fmi.org/blog/view/fmi-blog/2015/07/01/how-do-customers-shop-for-produce

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Data: What You Don’t Know Can Cost You http://picktrace.com/data-what-you-dont-know-can-cost-you/ http://picktrace.com/data-what-you-dont-know-can-cost-you/#respond Mon, 17 Apr 2017 23:10:44 +0000 http://forterran.com/?p=4233

Executive Chef Edward Gray describes his experience with farm-to-table foods and its greater impact on the surrounding culture.

What influences how shoppers select their produce purchases? Chances are the average shopper is seldom aware of the fresh products seasonally available in their area. Research shows that millennials are instead more likely influenced by habit, recipe ideas and preparation time while most shoppers have a specific list of needed produce before they enter the grocery store (1). With most produce provided year-round, shoppers are often unaware of the benefits of branching out to seasonally available foods.

This was reflected in the results of a recent survey, in which the surveyed population believed the local availability of the listed crops to be limited between the months of June and September. Their perception, of course, differing greatly from the actual harvest dates which ranged over several months, some even available all year.

The convenience of domestic and international produce transport has aided in the accessibility of healthier foods, however it often leaves us out of touch with our own local environment.

Recent “locovores” have discovered the advantages of eating local produce, often affirming the improved flavor and added nutritional value of produce picked and consumed at the optimal time. Similar farm-to-table initiatives by restaurants have advocated the positive effects of local produce, not only for our health but also for the local economy as this movement rewards nearby farmers for their diligence. These commonly cited examples provide enough incentive to “eat local.” Even so, Executive Chef Edward Gray from Southern California suggests the benefits reach even further.

  

Chef Edward’s experience implementing farm-to-table foods.

Chef Edward began his career 18 years ago when the farm-to-table movement was barely a blip on the horizon. As a relatively new chef he found himself taking on the ambitious challenge of pioneering an all organic menu at a recently-opened restaurant in New York City. At the time, all organic menus were rare and the produce was costly. Still Chef Edward was exhilarated by the possibilities. “As a chef you have a responsibility to teach your guests about their food, from the way it should look and taste to the nutrition,” he says. This experience was influential in provoking the same insightful observations as many “locovores” propose today. He found that the organic and local produce was so ripe with flavor that he was adding less salt and sugar to his recipes.

Chef Edward has since deepened his experience in various locations from private yachts to 5-star resorts, often spearheading the farm-to-table initiatives at these facilities. In fact, incorporating farm-to-table foods evolved into an opportunity for him to educate himself and his guests. When certain types of produce are not in season Chef Edward reaches out to local farmers to explore alternatives. “Farmers have a passion for what they grow. Pairing that with a chef’s passion for culinary is extremely profitable,” he says. In addition to prompting culinary artistry, this collaboration exposes guests to new food types, nutritional options, and the farmer’s workmanship. The results have been evident.

“Farmers have a passion for what they grow. Pairing that with a chef’s passion for culinary art is extremely profitable.”

Edward Gray

Excecutive Chef

Beyond the kitchen.

As culinary artists like Chef Edward continue to encourage the consumption local foods, so has the demand for local produce increased for the end consumer. People are starting to ask more questions about the food they eat and where it comes from. For these individuals, purchasing local foods is a logical next step. One study indicated that the amount of supermarket shoppers who visit farmers markets increased by 50% in the year 2015 alone (1). This growing demand creates an exciting atmosphere for the field of agriculture. With so many avenues promoting food knowledge and healthy living, farms who hope to connect with the end consumer have an attentive audience.

Sources:

http://www.fmi.org/blog/view/fmi-blog/2015/07/01/how-do-customers-shop-for-produce

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3 Incentives For Growers To Fight Against Hunger http://picktrace.com/3-incentives-for-growers-to-fight-against-hunger/ http://picktrace.com/3-incentives-for-growers-to-fight-against-hunger/#respond Thu, 06 Apr 2017 22:20:09 +0000 http://forterran.com/?p=4201

Everyday over 3.6 million meals are sent to families and individuals struggling for food (1). Fresh produce offers health benefits that aren’t available in other foods but can also be difficult to store. Partnering with growers enables food banks to obtain and distribute fresh food faster, ensuring an optimal shelf-life for those who need it.

For most of us, hunger is not an ordinary experience, however, it’s estimated that there are 42 million people who face hunger in the United States. A large percentage of the hungry are either children (13 million) or elderly (5 million) (1). Many people, especially in low income and rural areas, have limited access to healthy foods (1, 2). According to Feeding America, 50% of rural counties and 26% of metropolitan counties face food insecurity (3).

Fortunately, growers have the power to combat these statistics at little cost. Over the last few years, several organizations have placed an emphasis on increasing the amount of fresh foods distributed to the hungry, creating opportunities for growers to donate. See below 3 incentives for growers to get involved.

1. Preventing Food Waste

It’s estimated that 20 billion pounds of produce are left in the field each year and ultimately wasted (4). Whether crops haven’t been purchased or they don’t visually appeal to grocery store shoppers, this unused produce is invaluable for those without enough to eat.

2. Tax Credit

Several states have implemented a tax credit for produce donations. Depending on the state, the tax credit amount may range from 10% – 25% of the produce’s wholesale value. States offering this program include but are not limited to: California, Oregon, and Colorado. Check to see if a tax credit program is offered in your state.

 

 

Z

Tax Deduction vs. Credit

Deductions are subtracted from the tax payer’s income, decreasing their total amount of taxable income. In contrast, a tax credit is subtracted directly from what is owed on taxes, offering greater savings.

3. Convenience

There are many programs available to make the donation process easy for growers. The programs below can make donations as simple as a phone call.

Feeding America – National Produce Program

To obtain and distribute large amounts of produce, Feeding America partners with growers and retailers. Produce that’s provided to the program is shipped to one of the 200 associated food banks in the US, offering fresher foods at a faster rate. Since beginning the National Produce Program a few years ago, fresh foods have become the most distributed type of food at Feeding America.

Society of St Andrew

Society of St Andrew takes the initiative a step further. If crops are leftover at the end of harvest, the Society of St Andrew sends volunteers to glean the fields. They gladly arrange gleaning, transportation and distribution of produce to feed America’s hungry. The organization has successfully saved and distributed over 27 million pounds of produce in collaboration with schools, faith groups, and other community volunteers. Society of St Andrew has a gleaning network in 14 different states and distributes food all over the country.

Local Food Bank Initiatives

Many food banks have their own programs to partner with growers. Southern Colorado, for example, offers their Care & Share program where they also send volunteers for gleaning.

Since many of these programs are local efforts, growers may be uninformed about how their food banks can partner with them. Katie Ettman, a representative from Feeding Colorado, indicated that growers typically learn about these programs through deep rooted relationships with the food bank or by word of mouth. Those that are interested in learning more about the options available in their area should reach out to their local food bank.

Sources:

http://www.feedingamerica.org/
http://thefoodtrust.org/
http://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/impact-of-hunger/rural-hunger/rural-hunger-fact-sheet.html
http://www.feedingamerica.org/our-work/reduce-food-waste.html
http://www.feedingamerica.org/ways-to-give/give-food/become-a-product-partner/national-produce-program.html
http://endhunger.org/
http://feedingcolorado.org/

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Hello world! http://picktrace.com/hello-world/ http://picktrace.com/hello-world/#comments Wed, 13 Apr 2016 17:15:09 +0000 http://forterran.com/?p=1

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!

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