Six member companies of the Les Paysans de Rougeline fresh produce co-operative are the latest French tomato growers to benefit from MARCO’s Trac-IT Yield Control Module. These innovative productivity improvement systems have been installed within tomato packing facilities across south west France belonging to the French group. Rougeline’s growers have around 300 hectares of greenhouses in three regions of the south of France, and the brand is available all year round. The way the fruits and vegetables are packed is important, with 50 million punnets produced per year. More than 20 varieties of tomatoes make up the total annual production of almost 60 million kilograms (which does not include the volume of strawberries, cucumbers and salads also packed).
For a cooperatives such a Rougeline with multiple product varieties, it is vital to have an efficient packing system capable of seamlessly switching between multiple product types. Inputting this data and performing product changeovers manually can be immensely time consuming and bring huge costs associated with extended man-hours and too much downtime. With this in mind the Rougeline cooperative decided to install MARCO’s Trac-IT Yield Control Module (YCM) within a number of their facilities.
YCM stores all the yield data for different varieties and can communicate these to MARCO’s weighing stations instantly when a batch is due to begin. This eradicates downtime for product changeovers across the facility. YCM also forces operators to always pack to a consistent weight with pre-set tolerances using a simple-to-follow lightbar system. This eradicates overpack whilst also improving pack speed due to its ease of use. These factors combined ensure tomato packers such as Rougeline maximise their harvest yield each season.
The pack house directors are looking forward to the benefits the MARCO system will bring, as Thomas Leïchlé, Group Supply Chain Director says:
“Controlling our busy pack houses presents a number of challenges, especially given the increased consumer demand for grape tomatoes. The manual packing requires a blend of speed and accuracy. We can be penalised for underweight packs and have to minimise unwanted giveaway which directly affects our profitability. We also have to ensure the punnets we sell as of the highest quality in terms of pack presentation. MARCO’s understanding of the fresh produce sector is a bonus and their technology addresses the key challenges that affect the manual packing environment. We will now have better control across the pack house and be able to measure the performance of individual operators.”