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Solving an Efficiency Nightmare: If It Doesn’t Exist, Build It

By Blair White

Imagine tracking the ownership of thousands of modules from hundreds of growers received by gins each year. How do they know which fields to retrieve them from? How do the modules not get mixed up on the gin yard? It sounds like an efficiency nightmare. Part of the solution is organization and know-how. The other part is Module Tracking, one of PCCA’s most popular technology services.

This state-of-the-art technology was developed in 2013 at the request of a gin. The gin wanted to “have a finger on” the cotton from when the module was called in at the field to when it became a bale at their facility.

“A gin stepped forward and presented us with the issues they were having, primarily around efficiency, technology, and tracking,” said Corey Smyth, PCCA Director of Cotton Services and Gin Accounting. “We thought it was something we could solve, so we took on the challenge.”

A team of in-house technology, grower, and gin experts went to work shortly after. The initial development took an entire year, but PCCA’s continuous improvement practices lead to enhancements every year.

“We went out to the gin to see what they were doing,” said Adam Foley, PCCA Applications Programming Manager. “We drove out to some farms to see where the modules were for that particular gin. We wanted to see how they did business. There was also a lot of programming, and with every gin we have added since then, we have added a few things because each gin does business just a little bit differently.”

Module Tracking is a prime example of how PCCA works to meet growers and gins where they are to make their lives easier. If a grower’s gin utilizes Module Tracking, they can use the myPCCA app to call in their modules and mark their location in the field. That information is then sent to the gin, which dispatches a truck driver to collect the modules for processing.

Word about Module Tracking didn’t take long to spread to the turnrows in 2013. A decade after the initial launch, roughly 100 of PCCA’s software systems gins use Module Tracking.

The development that came later in 2015 was even more exciting. Module Truck Tracking became an optional feature of the software, allowing the gin to see where their truck driver is en-route to or from the field. The technology also helps the driver select the most efficient path, helping reduce fuel and labor costs for the gin.

“Module Truck Tracking has evolved thanks to the advancement of the cellular data network, mobile devices, and great programming from our Applications Programming department,” said Nathan Jones, PCCA Technical Services Manager. “The ability to tag the location of your modules in the field, dispatch drivers to exact locations of those modules, and know the exact direction, speed, and course the module trucks are taking – it is all for the betterment of the gin and the grower. PCCA’s Help Desk can configure and provide the tablets and provide support for that service as well. Add that in, and PCCA has a product that is second to none.”