Birds Eye, the privately-held UK frozen foods company, has selected InTechnology's Push To Talk (PTT) mobile communications service to help the business improve both the speed and efficiency of peas processing at its plant in East Yorkshire.
With three main locations in East Yorkshire - office, processing plant and fields - processing time is crucial to the Birds Eye team. All of the peas must be shelled, blanched and frozen within two-and-a-half hours of picking to maintain best quality freshness.
The Birds Eye plant is situated in a 30-mile radius of 800 fields where peas are grown and then transported and frozen in the shortest possible timescale. Communication between the plant and fields is crucial to the operation. Information about loads received must be fed back to the harvesting team and loads altered accordingly. If the produce is not frozen quickly it cannot be used in the Birds Eye pack, criteria set by the company to maintain its high standards.
"Our plant based staff need to collaborate with the field workers to produce the optimum results, and communication is key," explains Brian Wheatley, Agricultural Manager, Birds Eye Ltd. "This is why we have chosen InTechnology's PTT service which means that information from the factory can be broadcast to many other workers, at the push of a button, greatly reducing the time spent calling each worker separately."
The practical communications challenges that face Birds Eye include a wide and undulating geographic area to cover, meaning that it has not always been possible to know the location of harvesters if out of range.
Furthermore, where many workers needed to be contacted with the same message, this would result in a high call volume and expensive call charges.
InTechnology's Push To Talk service works in a similar way to the ‘walkie-talkies', but uses mobile handsets instead of mobile radios, benefiting from all the advantages of mobile phone technology.
With PTT, Birds Eye staff can communicate with each other easily at the push of a button, on a one-to-one or one-to-many basis. And by using additional PTT handsets for the summer season, Birds Eye can free up resources for the rest of the year, taking full advantage of the flexible pay monthly service from InTechnology to best suit their business requirements.
The PTT solution for Birds Eye includes: compact handsets that can be used either as a mobile phone or a walkie-talkie; coverage is extensive as PTT uses the worldwide network for mobile phones (GSM); there is no number to dial, the user simply pushes a button and talks for instant communication; information from the factory can now be broadcasted to many, and harvesting amounts can be changed to suit optimum production levels; users can have a one-to-one conversation or a wider team discussion across the site at the push of a button.
Another benefit is that Birds Eye will only pay for the data used when someone is talking, which will help to reduce costs.
"We have very high standards to maintain and PTT will help us to communicate more efficiently and save money along the way," says Brian Wheatley.