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Digital Transformation

From vine to dine: Cloud and the Internet of Things make a tomato’s trip even sweeter

I am not a great cook, but the one thing my kids enjoy is my spaghetti bolognaise.  And I have it down to a fine art, largely because of the great tomato base sauces – pre-packaged and premixed.  Imagine my surprise when I realised that many of family’s favourite tomato products are premixed at a company called Kagome. 

Imagine 180 tonnes of tomatoes arriving at your front door every hour at harvest time – and you then have to turn them into high quality tomato sauce that makes mealtime a pleasure in my house.

It’s quite a challenge. Echuca-based Kagome prides itself on achieving that logistical trick – but also on the quality, traceability and safety of its products.

It wants to know where the tomatoes came from, when they were picked, which truck delivered them, when they arrived at the plant – because it wants to be able to reassure customers of the high quality and traceability of what they are putting on their family’s table each evening.

An Internet of Things (IoT) solution devised by local IT services company Advance Computing ticks all the boxes. Data from on farm sensors, in truck devices, and technology installed in Kagome’s loading bay ensure that the company now has a clear window on its operations.

Instead of sleepless nights for the production manager, Brad Free, and days chasing paperwork, the logistics systems can be accessed from anywhere at any time. Brad knows what is arriving at the factory when, and where it came from – and there are no longer 500 calls a day being made to trace the tomatoes – it’s all handled automatically.

In just the first season the Azure based solution has paid for itself five times over according to Jason Fritsch, Kagome’s CEO.

Based on Windows 10 IoT devices, and a range of Microsoft Azure cloud technologies, reporting and analytics tools, the system creates an effective data bridge between the fields and the factory.

Already there are plans afoot to add more features, such as number plate recognition for trucks and bins in order to streamline grower payments, while after this year’s harvest Kagome will run a proof of concept to explore how Power BI can add even more insight.

It’s all in aid of making the trip from vine to dine as transparent and efficient as possible. All in all it’s just a tastier solution that brings smiles to my kids’ faces.