Getting the Job Done

November 2017

 

When dairy farmer Nigel Taylor was struggling to manage staff and compliance on his farm, he thought there must be an easier way. After searching to find a tool that would help streamline farm management, he soon realised there were no suitable apps. In true kiwi fashion, Nigel decided to develop his own called JobDone. In 2013, the prototype app won the Fonterra Activate competition and the final app was released in 2016.

 

JobDone is a farm management tool designed to help improve productivity, staff engagement and compliance. The tool is a cloud-based software so can be used on any type of computer, tablet or smartphone without needing to download any apps or software. All data is stored securely online, which is particularly useful on-farm where phones can be easily lost or damaged. JobDone has several key functions including job planning, health and safety management, an electronic noticeboard and reporting.

 

Job Planning and Scheduling

Users can schedule farm tasks using JobDone on either computer or mobile devices. You can select from pre-built job templates such as Animal Husbandry and Milking, or create your own. A description of the tasks required can be added. Attachments may also be conveniently added, meaning instruction sheets, images or videos can be used to show a farm worker how to correctly complete a job. The task may be assigned to a staff member, along with when the job needs to be completed. A new update also allows users to add ‘quick jobs’ in the mobile platform, which sends a notification to the assigned worker. The staffing roster within JobDone means tasks can be easily assigned to farm workers in advance. While only users defined as ‘managers’ are able to assign tasks to staff, other staff can add jobs such as a broken water pipe to the Noticeboard, which will be discussed further shortly.

An example of a scheduled job is illustrated below.

 

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The Job Dashboard allows jobs to be assigned by managers[SE1]  and viewed by staff. Seen here is the desktop version of the app.

 

 

 

Staff can view a well-organised work plan for the day, including the location, equipment required and any hazards associated with the task. When staff begin a job, they must ‘check in’ and the time is recorded. As they complete the task they can then tick all the check boxes, provide comments, and even upload a photo or video of the completed task.

 

Health and Safety

The JobDone app can help farmers to ensure compliance with new health and safety legislation. The app keeps a register of staff and visitors signing in and out, as shown below.

Staff and visitors on-farm can be seen at a glance with the sign-in feature. Time on-farm is logged and comments can be left by contractors.

When people arrive, they can be briefed with safety information using electronic farm inductions, ensuring they are aware of health and safety policies and potential hazards. This is shown below.

Farm hazards can be recorded in the app to ensure staff and visitors are aware of any risks, and appropriate action taken if required.

Staff can sign visitors in on their phones, or a great idea is to have a tablet mounted at a prominent spot, e.g. such as the milking shed entrance. This allows visitors to sign themselves in and out, leaving staff free to continue with their tasks. The system permits you to see who is on-farm at any time and to ensure they have left safely.

Other health and safety features of the app include the ability to maintain records of hazards, chemicals, dangerous goods, emergency procedures and safety incidents. Safety precautions and protection required can also be assigned to different farm tasks.

 

Noticeboard

A handy feature which helps to improve staff engagement, is the Noticeboard within the app. All staff have access to the notices. Users can post photos, videos and messages. When out in the paddock, staff can report hazards or tasks that need attention, such as a broken water pipe. Other staff can then respond via the app if they are able to fix the problem. Professional development or social events can also be added to the Noticeboard, as shown in the image below. The acknowledge button can be used so you know all staff have seen the notice.

 

 

Communication between staff is made easy with the Noticeboard feature, where tasks, hazards or events can be posted.

 

Reporting and timesheets

JobDone is able to generate an array of customisable reports on a weekly, monthly and annual basis. Reports can be created based on job type, task priority, staff members and contractors. This can be a useful way of assessing staff performance.

 

Paying staff is also made easy as the time worked is recorded. Timesheets for staff can be generated automatically by keeping track of hours worked and leave taken. Data can then simply be exported to any payroll system.

 

Evaluation

JobDone relies on mobile reception to be fully functional. Although it will work on WiFi alone, tasks then cannot be viewed or updated in the paddock, which is one of the app’s main features. Mobile reception in rural areas is often poor, meaning the app may not be useful for all properties. Despite being reliant on mobile reception, the app uses very little data. JobDone estimates a heavy user of the app would use less than $10 worth of data per month. During this trial, the app was using around 1 mb per page refresh or 15 mb per day, meaning over a month around 500 mb would be required.   

 

JobDone is currently only available for dairy farm systems. Although it could be adapted to be used for other farm types, the range of tasks listed to select from is limited to those relating to dairy farms. Fortunately, the JobDone team are keen to develop the app for other farm systems such as sheep and beef or horticulture. JobDone could be ideal for large scale sheep and beef properties, however, the need for mobile reception may be a significant limitation.

 

While the diverse range of features within JobDone is one of its unique features, it does mean it is a little more complicated for new users. Some time investment to train staff may be required. JobDone have also produced a series of excellent online videos, which provide step by step guidance for various features. To be fully functional, the app requires all staff to be regularly using the app, so it would be important that every staff member is competently trained to use the system.

 

 

Pricing and Trial Option

Pricing currently starts at $40 per month. At $480 per year, this is a small investment compared to the costs that can be saved through improved management and efficiency. This price includes up to three users, with additional users costing $10 each per month. Considering the app is designed for farms with large staff numbers, it is likely many farms would need to pay for additional members. Timesheet functionality can also be purchased for an additional $15 per month. All staff will require a smartphone or tablet device, which may be an additional cost for some farms.

 

Two new pricing options are also in the pipeline. JobDone Plus will integrate GPS tracking and timesheets, while JobDone Corporate will introduce MultiFarm, allowing the app to be used and integrated across several farms. JobDone also offers a one month free trial, which is a great way to see if JobDone is the right fit for your business.

 

Conclusion

JobDone is an excellent tool for people looking to improve management efficiency within their business. I found the app very intuitive to use on both PC and mobile versions, and was particularly impressed by app's functionality. JobDone has the potential to be used as an all-in-one farm management tool for many farms. The health and safety features within the app are sure to help farm operators meet legislative requirements, as well as providing peace of mind. More information can be found on the JobDone website or Facebook page.

 

 

 


 [SE1]Only managers? What if a worker sees a broken pipe somewhere, can’t they add it? Further below you explain the noticeboard, is that the only place they can use?

Author 
sam.pike's picture
Student
Massey University