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Historical document

Packing shed benchmarking (AP05006)

Key research provider: OzTaste Pty Ltd
Publication date: June, 2007

This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.

What was it all about?

After labour, packing was one of the largest costs faced by fruit producers. Packing costs were of the order of 25-35 per cent of total production costs.

Packing costs were notoriously hard to measure as they contained, many, sometimes hidden, components. These costs included fixed costs related to owned assets and leases, variable costs (labour and consumables such as packaging) and a basket of other costs such as services, insurances and other overheads, partial use of cool rooms and transport, palletisation costs, despatch costs etc.

One way of measuring the efficiency of a packhouse was to benchmark its performance against that of other packhouses.

This project had devised simple, web-based software that allowed the owners and managers of packhouses to benchmark the performance of their shed against that of others.

Simple, readily available data related to each shift the packhouse worked was collected and entered into the system via a website. Data gathered included the number of labour hours utilised that shift (number of people working x length of shift) and their cost, the weight of fruit tipped on to the grader and the packed outputs (cartons of various sizes and grades, hat bins of Class 2 fruit, bins of juice fruit etc).

All sheds participating in the program entered their data for a particular period by a set cut off time. The program then calculated the efficiency of each shed participating in the program. Outputs such as bins tipped per labour hour, bins tipped per person, labour cost per bin tipped, labour cost per kg tipped, labour cost per kg packed, standard cartons per packer, time(minutes) to pack a standard carton were then calculated.

Finally these were tabulated so that the shed which entered its data could compare its results with those of other packhouses in the program.

The system could be used with most, if not all, types of produce. The system was made available to Apple and Pear Australia Limited for placement on their website and accordingly access for all industry members.


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Funding statement:
This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the voluntary financial support of the apple & pear industry.

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2007. The Final Research Report (in part or as whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation (except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)).