That lightbulb moment when we started with PaySauce was fantastic because it freed up time, provided really valuable information and made me feel great that I didn't have to do it.Phillipa Wright, Owner
Phillipa Wright, owner of KWKIWI Ltd, has been involved with the Kiwifruit industry since the mid 1980’s. She’s had a variety of roles, from consultant to board representative to management and ownership. She and her husband Stephen, currently manage their four kiwi-fruit orchards in the northern part of Bay of plenty. They are also in the process of integrating their three sons into the business. KWKIWI Ltd has been growing Kiwi gold fruit since 1997 and they pride themselves on innovation. Being involved in the ‘techie’ side of things has always been a passion of Philipa’s.
According to Phillipa, no matter which survey you read, every sector in our rural industry is facing labour constraints.
Over the last few years with the COVID Pandemic, KWIKWI Ltd has managed to survive because they were an essential business however government policies and a pause on immigration visas have had an inevitable effect on the cost of labour. The horticulture industry has relied a lot on backpackers and without them here the numbers of available workers have just dropped dramatically. The industry historically has a bad reputation for not paying their staff well, that in most cases is not justified. There are many good employers that value and appreciate their staff. With constrained labour, it is even more important to look after staff. To a certain degree producers have become price takers - there has been significant pressure from employees who can just move elsewhere if a price is not agreed upon.
An ongoing challenge from an orchard perspective, is just getting things done on time. For example, if some areas are not thinned on time this can result in smaller fruit, delayed harvest, which will directly affect your return and therefore the economics of running your business. The expansion of the kiwifruit industry has compounded the labour challenges.
In a tight labour market, being a good employer matters. Part of that is giving staff confidence that the right systems are in place, that the employer is operating compliantly and professionally.
“When it comes to the labour market, we want to be a business where people want to come work with us. Having the right culture, the right tools and the right information is key. You know, I think it gives some of our labour confidence in just getting your payslip on time. So tools like that are very important and we've just got to make the best use of them. It takes time to implement these things but, we see an exciting future.”
There’s also the timesaving element that’s vital for busy business owners:
“That lightbulb moment when we started with PaySauce was fantastic because it freed up time, provided really valuable information and made me feel great that I didn't have to do it. So it was like relief, there's no question.”
With an abundance of data being generated, how the team at KWKIWI Ltd uses that data is key to making better decisions. Phillipa has been implementing Tatou to answer critical questions about block by block costings and labour performance to look for opportunities for efficiencies and therefore cost savings. It also provides a certain amount of accountability on the team to perform as well, in a positive interactive framework.