Recently we read about a new giant Avocado originating from the Limpopo area that’s making waves in the fruit industry – kudos to these guys! It also reminded us about some meetings we had a while ago with another avocado producer, and also some folks from the apple industry in the Grabouw area.

In essence there were three main themes that we picked up on. Firstly, your average farmer today is a highly skilled individual and more often than not, he/she is also a qualified engineer – making modern day farmers more techno savvy than in the old days. Due to the remoteness of most farm locations, predominantly in rural areas, communication and data are extremely important daily components of their operations.

Both the avocado and the apple producer had very similar concerns regarding their operations. Principal to their concerns is that they had lost a big percentage of their harvests to bruising (this may also be relevant in many other fruit/vegetable operations). This meant less revenue in already pressured economic times.

There are so many handling points in the processing chain that shrinkage in the industry becomes an accepted norm. This is not the case with these guys; they were actively seeking methods to help curtail such losses. They explained that rough picking could damage fruit; it is dropped into a basket, then dumped into a trailer, before the trailer is pulled by a tractor that travels on a bumpy road. The same trailer then gets tipped into a wash area, where the fruit gets sorted, sometimes manually and in some cases mechanically. Eventually, it is packaged, boxed and stored in a warehouse. It then gets loaded onto a truck and taken to market, where it is handled again several times before being sent overseas or into local distribution.

All these process points include machine handling at some point – there is tractor handling, forklift handling as well as truck handling. This is followed by sea or air handling, before some more truck and forklift handling at the delivery point. With so many contact points, it is inevitable that some shrinkage would occur from all the bruising. This would be after an already smaller harvest because of low rainfall, which is exacerbated by additional expenditure on extra irrigation.

Another factor for both these operations was the cost of hiring seasonal equipment and drivers. They said that the forklift cost was just the starting point and was only about 30% of the seasonal cost – the rest was on fuel and drivers, with a few other odds thrown in.

Our response to these farmers’ concerns was that there is one simple solution – use a Goscor machine fitted with a Goscor approved Fleet Management Device. These devices are now so advanced that they benefit more than one aspect of any operation.

Communication is live, providing real time data that is pushed to you, or on demand. This would then allow for immediate and effective decision making.

Because the same devices can be fitted to both tractors and forklifts, the farmer, in a single view, can see at which point the most significant impacts are occurring and take corrective action on the drivers or the environment. Surely this would have insurance benefits as well.

Lastly, fuel and unnecessary run time costs could be curtailed. These devices come with features such as Excess Idle Cut Out, Ignition Left On alerts, Engine and Transmission protections, to name a few, for just a few rands more on the normal rental. This brings us to a simple question: wouldn’t you opt for a normal machine, or one fitted with a Goscor approved Fleet Management Device already, or on request, that could easily save you another R2000-R3000 per machine each month? It does not take a genius to do that math.

One of these farmers indicated that he already based his seasonal rental decision on exactly that criteria every year, but that the previous year cost him almost R300 000 more, he was on leave before picking season and his assistant left the decision so late that he had to use a different service provider. With Goscor it’s an easy decision – we can provide both options – machines without such devices and machines pre-fitted.

These days, we find more and more customers make this logical decision on their fixed fleets as well as their temporary fleets. It really is a no brainer!

When you choose Goscor you choose a lifetime partner, not a quick fix!