"Within 2 days scepticism turned into enthusiasm"
During the summer months, 40 seasonal workers work daily at Mertz kleinfruit, the company that heads Ellen and Gerard Mertz in Sint Geertruid, southern Limburg.
At the beginning of the season, both entrepreneurs are using GrowPro to get to know what their employees are doing. "Initially, some Polish employees were skeptical about this new harvest and labour registration system," says Ellen Mertz. "Within two days, this skepticism turned into enthusiasm."
Excellent natural conditions
Mertz kleinfruit is a young and modern enterprise which produces blackberries, red berries and kiwi berries.The typical loess soil and slopes care for excellent natural conditions. "The cultivated fruit is picked by hand in the summer and sold at the auction just hours after harvesting," explains Ellen Mertz. "In addition, we process some of the fruits into local products, such as jams and fruit juices. Of course, we do not add any artificial colors and flavors. "
Last year, GrowPro's stand attracted the attention of Ellen and Gerard Mertz during the small fruit fair at Van den Elzen. Mertz kleinfruit became convinced of the value of GrowPro for their business and arranged an appointment with Maurice Vullers to start using the harvest and labour registration system. "Even if we pay our employees per hour," Ellen Mertz continues. "For a complete picture of the company, it's nice to know how many kilograms an individual employee pick per day or per week."
Habituation to the system
Until last season, a polish employee kept the number of hours worked per day himselfs. "It was logical that everyone had to get used to the new system," recalls Ellen Mertz. "Some employees felt like we were looking at their fingers, but of course that is not the case, sometimes I had to assume that everyone picked the same amount at the end of the day, and GrowPro shows at a glance that the performance is different. We get a more realistic picture of individual performance. "
Added value GrowPro
Of course, the daily activities at Mertz kleinfruit include more than just the harvest of blackberries, redcurrants and kiwi berries. "The strength of GrowPro is also to add more activities to the system," says Ellen Mertz enthusiastically. "Think about activities like sorting fruit, cutting or growing crops, and even the hours we spend at our other company Innofruit are clear, so at the end of the month, Gerard and I know exactly what business activities were performed. "
Ellen Mertz downloads an Excel spreadsheet with an overview of hours worked from GrowPro each Tuesday, and employees must put theirs signature below them. "This signing is a plus for the so-called GRASP module," says Ellen Mertz. We show our customers that we meet the social field of good entrepreneurship in fruit growing. GRASP is the abbreviation for Global Social Risk Assessment: The module of the same name assesses whether a company meets the applicable payroll, retirement and outsourcing requirements.
Now is time to evaluate GrowPro as a harvest and labour registration system, Ellen Mertz says the first experiences are very positive. "We now have a much more accurate picture of the number of hours worked and this is important information in terms of planning business activities for next season - we have not yet used all the modules this year. During the winter months, Gerard and I use the right ones to make a choice."