What I want to talk about today, is not an innovation and a step in the future, but a step back into the past.
I will talk about a story that is very close to me because it is the history of an economic aspect of my city of birth.
This story is about a group of merchants from a fraction of the Torre del Greco a city in the province of Naples, famous for production, packaging and sale of fruit and vegetables for the whole of Italy.
This small district was always ahead of everyone else in Campania for the foresight in agricultural innovations, economic-financial and mainly for logistics; and one of these innovation is that one I will introduce in this article.
During the 60’ to pick grapes from a vine field of half a hectare were needed 10 hours and 110 workers. The process was developed through a human assembly line not too efficient: in practiced about 70 workers materially cut the grapes from the vines, others 30 brought the various boxes of fruit from live to the truck with long braid, arrived at the truck the boxes were loaded and arranged by other 10 workers that with a big physical effort they had put the boxes on the door of the truck. After that the truck was filled perfectly by other 4 people. Therefore the truck had to come to the warehouse where it was discharged through the same process by which was been loaded; at this point if trucks for supermarkets had already arrived, the boxes of fruit were placed directly on the truck of the supermarket, or if the order was for the next day the workers had to carry them into cells refrigerator and the next day always with a handrail had to be loaded on supermarket trucks. The process that was made in the warehouse at least used another 10 workers who were supposed to carry this railings. And what was happening when the truck arrived at the destination? It had to be downloaded in the same way with other workers had to charge it: one box after box.
Fortunately in the 70’ starts to take hold in Europe the wooden platform, an extremely functional and simplifying element of the logistics process that at that time was unknown.
The district of my city was good in this: start spreading the use of this tool in the countryside. Using the pallet to pick grapes from the vine to the supermarket for the same half a hectare are required only 72/73 workers.
Today in practice 66 workers dealing cut their 7.5 square meters for a total of 16 plants of grapevine and fill half pallet, when the pallet are filled in 1 hour 4 workers load the 66 half-platforms on the truck from the field(which has a maximum capacity of 33 platforms but are stacked two by two). The truck then comes to the warehouse and only 2 workers deal to download it.
The reduction of costs and the efficiency is almost doubled, also in this way the accuracy increases more and more. For example if it is known that the grapevine plants produce more than the average the workers charge anyway 66 half-platforms but every workers has less square meters, in this so you can also keep a certain number of fixed workers while before the uncertainty about the numbers of workers and hectare was predominant.
Thanks to the foresight of this marketed nowadays this district is becoming stronger and stronger in the Italian market and today most of the production of the Campania region and also of Apulia one belongs to the companies of these traders mainly thanks to the intuition of the use of this object
By: Michele Pisacane