Labour automation now crucial for producers

Jan. 25, 2021 | 5 Min read
Automation protects against unexpected market shocks which can cause major picking and packhouse staff shortages.

Remaining competitive in the marketplace is a high priority for all fresh produce producers. It is crucial to operate and maintain an efficient and cost-effective processing facility, to ensure produce quality, freshness and consumer requirements are met.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the number of seasonal workers and backpackers available for the agricultural sector drop dramatically. P&C Automation owner Hayden Stewart says implementing labour-saving solutions is now more important than ever for all producers, processors, and distributors.

“Our clients are always on the lookout for solutions to improve labour efficiencies and reduce costs,” Mr Stewart said. “However, it is important for us to not only work with our clients to improve their labour issues, but to also review their processes and equipment to ensure produce quality is not being compromised within their facility.

“Any improvements in produce handling will decrease waste and give-away and increase the output of high-grade produce. Implementing these improvements will not only result in increased revenue but optimises their labour efficiencies and costs.

Mr Stewart said P&C Automation provides their clients with a cost-effective and labour-saving solution for their produce treatment, packaging, and processing facilities. Their services cover every aspect from when the produce enters the facility through to when it leaves on a pallet.

“Here at P&C Automation we work with our clients to review their existing equipment, systems and processes, recommend improvements to their existing systems, and implement new automated processes.

“We focus on reduced labour costs, but also improve their operational efficiencies. We do not sell our clients an ‘off-the-shelf’ solution, instead, we take the time to consult with each of our clients to fully understand their specific needs and requirements. We then custom design a high-quality system which meets the agreed requirements for the most cost-effective price.

“We work with our clients to offer them a fit-for-purpose solution which provides a good return on investment. Our goal is to establish long-term relationships that go beyond supply and installation, by providing ongoing after-sale support, inspection, and maintenance services.”

Australian-based and owned P&C Automation is working hard to promote Australian engineering and manufacturing, having formed strong partnerships with other local companies to supply the best solutions possible, with local service and support to back it up.

“As technology continues to evolve, develop and improve, we see that it is important to utilise these new solutions wherever possible. We aim to always educate our clients on these new technologies, systems and processes.

“Then, where required, we help our clients implement these into their facilities to greatly benefit their operations into the future. We are working hard to offer these new technologies in a way which is affordable to every business.”

Mr Stewart said the focus areas for many clients within their facilities are their infeed and treatment equipment, and their packaging, carton handling, and palletising systems.

“These areas are where most of the inefficiency and high labour requirements are found. P&C Automation helps improve these problematic areas by supplying fit-for-purpose and custom-designed solutions, which are appropriate for the type/s of produce that needs processing.

“More and more stakeholders in the Australian postharvest sector are investing in our automation and receiving many benefits. It gives them a significant competitive edge over those that are still using outdated, manual processes and systems.

“We are able to advise that the correct automated solution is more affordable than they first may have thought and provide many more benefits than the obvious,” Mr Stewart said.

“Automation is not just the way of the future, it is now essential for businesses to invest in automated systems, equipment, and processes to ensure their operations remain future-proof, efficient and cost-effective, to remain competitive within the ever-changing marketplace.”

Automation also protects against unexpected market shocks like the COVID pandemic which has caused major picking and packhouse staff shortages – the impacts of which can be greatly reduced through investment in automated systems.

Categories Post harvest