Fresh Select x Microkeeper:
A shared journey of success and innovation
“Built on family values, grown by people who care”
In the heartland of Werribee South, the 'Salad Bowl' of Victoria, Fresh Select has grown from a relatively small family business, into a major produce supplier and leading agri-business in Australia.
As pioneers in agri-business innovation, Fresh Select has utilised a mix of industry leading farming techniques, responsible practices and technology to ensure a consistent supply of world-class produce, and remain adaptable and competitive in an ever changing market.
We spoke with Julien Palamara, Chief Financial Officer, about what makes Fresh Select the successful business it is today, and how Microkeeper is working with Fresh Select on their growth journey.
Handling more than lettuce
More than your simple market gardener, Fresh Select is a diverse business with an extensive range of products, fluctuating labour force and operations in multiple locations across Australia.
Julien describes Fresh Select as “a vertically integrated farming company that does everything from growing vegetables, to packing produce, value adding, cold storage, and then distribution to retailers such as Coles. We use world class cold chain management to guarantee freshness and consistency, with respect to the quality produce that we distribute across Australia and beyond.”
Their diverse business structure has its advantages, explains Julien who attributes their success to “being involved in the multiple steps of the supply chain, constant pursuit and investment in innovation, and being a scalable and efficient business.”
“Partnering with Microkeeper moved the dial in a big way”
By partnering with Microkeeper, Fresh Select shifted its payroll processing from a rudimentary solution, to a dynamic software solution, capable of keeping up with the day to day demands of a dynamic agriculture business and improving overall workflow.
“In the old times, when the business was much smaller, using the old clocking cards that are manually punched into monitors and then manually adding up hours and calculating rates of pay was tedious and inefficient. You couldn’t use the data for any other part of your business because it was not digital and was a very slow process” explains Julien of their previous system.
The transition to a cloud-based software solution - bringing speed, transparency and automation to Fresh Select resulted in noticeable productivity benefits across the business.
“Microkeeper allowed us to be more efficient straight away. Having a large workforce today, we're able to use the data collected through Microkeeper to easily produce payslips, show rates of pay, and access historical records of clocking on and off. The quality and format of the data, also allows our business analyst to utilise the data for a multitude of management reports and analysis. It has structurally shifted the capability of our company in this space”
With a variety of time clocking options available, Fresh Select employees are able to record their work hours accurately and seamlessly. In particular the integrated GPS clocking has made hours easier to track on farms in remote work locations.
“We are farming on properties far away from Werribee where we didn’t have a clocking terminal or even access to mains power. So, we used Microkeeper’s geographical clocking option and it has proved to be very successful.”
It’s all about scaling and efficiency
Operating in a seasonal industry that requires a large workforce during different times of the year can be hard to keep on top of. In order to effectively navigate this, Julien states the business needs to be “easily scalable.”
Microkeeper makes high-volume employee onboarding easy and simplifies working with contractors and other partners.
“Being able to process payroll easily and capture data for productivity reporting, made a lot of difference in our work especially during peak seasons when we have to process between 80 to 100 employees and contractors”.
“Contractors love it! It’s cost-effective and easy”
“Microkeeper made it easier for us to have contractors set up their timesheets in peak seasons directly on the platform. The platform allows us to do the time keeping administration for them, which has made invoicing, reconciliation and traceability a lot simpler and more accurate. It’s a win-win for everyone”.
Put simply… “Microkeeper saves time and allows us to focus on growing our business.”
Ethical Sourcing with Microkeeper
Being a responsible employer is at the heart of Fresh Select’s company values and something that more and more retailers are expecting from their suppliers.
“A big thing in our industry has been ethical sourcing and making sure that people are paid correctly. Producing records in this regard is easy and the platform gives us the confidence that we can maintain compliance in this regard”.
Last piece of advice?
The key to running a successful agri-business? Julien’s final advice is “to adopt new technology, particularly in farming. With the technologies provided today, you will be able to easily scale up operations and transform work processes to become more efficient and increase productivity”.
Implementing Microkeeper is an easy first step towards adapting your business for modern times and incorporating technology into your processes. A cost-effective and user-friendly software that can help scale your business, monitor your workforce’s productivity, and stay compliant with industry requirements.
Scroll down and book a product demo or give us a ring on 1800 940 838 to find out how you can plough through your paperwork.