Cottage Farms

As well as providing day-to-day proactive IT support for Cottage Farms, we remediated the Wi-Fi connection in their existing packhouse and implemented network and Wi-Fi coverage in their new mobile racking cold store. The result was excellent Wi-Fi connectivity that went live without a hitch from day one, enabling Cottage Farms to continue being streamlined and efficient.

The Challenge

This was a 2-stage challenge: once all the apples are delivered and safely stored, it is imperative that every last one is tracked via the use of hand scanners using wireless connectivity. Cottage Farms had been experiencing Wi-Fi coverage issues in their packhouse, meaning workers had intermittent connectivity. We therefore needed remediate this quickly, so productivity didn’t suffer further.

The second and more complex challenge was implementing a wireless connection in their new cold store and racking infrastructure. They were keen to put the new building into action as soon as the last tile went on the roof. This meant that essentially our team had to work on the project blind, designing the Wi-Fi solution without even seeing the finished building and racking in action.

“Select Technology have worked closely with us on this project – they know our business inside and out which has meant their solution is more than fit for purpose. The work that they have done will enable our new building and existing infrastructure to be more productive. They have gone above and beyond to make sure we are the best we can be”

Chris Browning, Managing Director

The solution

A little-known fact is that surprisingly apples (as well as other farmed produce) ‘eat’ Wi-Fi signal. Therefore, a standard wireless connection might work perfectly in an empty packhouse, but add 7 million apples and throw in a temperature-controlled environment and it makes the project a little more tricky.

Our team was able to implement a simplified solution which improved connectivity whilst reducing the number of Wi-Fi access points. This meant having a better connection and easier maintenance too. Job done.

The next project saw our team approach the cold store Wi-Fi challenge pragmatically. They used the initial remediation project as a basis and to give a more tangible reference point, we arranged a tour of a warehouse that had similar racking. We were able to use this as a framework to virtually map out the wireless network plan. We even invited Cottage Farms along to the tour too, so they could see the racking they were going to have installed working in real time, which was an added bonus.

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About the client

Based in Kent, Cottage Farms sit in the middle of many great top fruit growers. Currently they pack for over 50 of them and during the summer months they take care of apples from many different countries around the world. They send almost 4,000,000 boxes every year to supermarket customers – that’s 320 million apples and pears or 38,000 tonnes of tasty goodness. They check them inside and out, to ensure they reach the customer in tip top condition. Ensuring quality is the key to our success.

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