Sound choice

A group of five prominent pack houses in the Vyeboom/Grabouw area has formed an alliance with Somerset West-based exporting company Fruitways, part of the Melsetter Group. In this alliance, these pack houses – Chiltern, Melpack, Molteno, Valley Packers and Elgin Orchards – have all standardised on ViTrax as their packhouse information system. Melsetter Group IT manager Hendrè Claassen described this as “a strategically sound choice”.

Explained Justin Mudge of Chiltern Farms, “The standardisation was motivated by the packhouses already using ViTrax as our experiences with the Farsoft team were overwhelmingly positive. According to the Chiltern Convention, three packhouses standardised the codes used and this was adopted by all the alliance packhouses marketing their fruit through Fruitways. This has resulted in a far more streamlined operation from packhouse all the way through to our receivers worldwide.

“The fact that all the packhouses were effectively speaking the same code language has made everybody’s lives easier. An example is the automated inter-depot transfer, where we no longer require manual user inputs, but can transfer information electronically from one database to another. This results in far greater accuracy.

“Within the alliance and with a greater degree of cooperation it has made it even easier to deal with Farsoft as most of our needs are common. Consequently, Farsoft can develop solutions that will benefit multiple packhouses. Farsoft also has been forthcoming with guidance, advice and solutions to formalise our code standardisation process and further streamline the operation.

“Although it’s early days, I believe we’ll see the benefits of this solution sooner rather than later.”

Fruitways is a leading marketing company supplying premium quality apples and pears from South Africa, focusing on facilitating and promoting direct relationships between growers and leading international supermarkets.