The advances in smartphone technology have made a big impact on the retail sales and inventory markets. Stores like Apple have moved to total iPhone control of all retail transactions. Predictions now hold that 30% of all retail transactions will be originated from start phone Point-of-sale (POS) technology in 2012.
Now that same technology is available for farm berry, citrus and vegetable harvest tracking. Developed by Big Sea Development and LEECO, Inc. in central Florida, BucketLoad (http://www.bucketloadapp.com/ ) is now ready for use in field harvesting and tracking operations.
Using any standard iOS device (iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch) with a camera and the system's web-based application, farmers and harvesters can now record, edit and manage all harvesting of fruits, berries and any other hand-harvested produce.
Field management operations can accurately input individual buckets, flats or bags, and create a seamless monitoring of all picking actions. Using the camera to scan a QR code on a picker ID badge, Bucketload adds up total counts of picks, from multiple locations, and displays the resulting data in real time. A farm manager or cooperative can read the data remotely to predict up-to-the-minute harvest totals, helpful information for sales forecasting.
The web-based application allows farmers to input and manage the total counts, which provides the data required for field yield forecasting, and tracks individual pick totals for use in payroll and salary. The app will export or print reports, and meshes with any spreadsheet-based payroll system such as Quickbooks or Microsoft Excel.
Beta testing of the system was completed in the spring of 2012 on a 17-acre farm in central Florida. During the eight-week harvest, Bucketload tallied correctly on each day. Over 110,000 pounds of berries were tallied with no system mistakes. On average, farmers using BucketLoad saved over 6 hours per week in administration time spent tallying and entering daily pick totals for their fields.
One of the key benefits of BucketLoad lies in the ability to manage multiple picking teams - especially helpful for large-scale distribution networks. Enterprise-level farm operators or distribution managers at large supermarket chains can watch live pick totals from anywhere in the world, as their fields are harvested, allowing for more accurate harvest predictions and distribution estimations than ever before possible.
BucketLoad is available as a yearly subscription, with packages to fit any farm or operation. Pricing starts at $599 for small farm operations with iPhone application priced reasonably at $24.99 per device. The web app runs on any computer or iPad connected to the internet; the iPhone app will run on any cellular data network or WIFI network.