More than 13 years of discussions with mushroom growing farm owners around the world convinced us to make one statement: one of the main factors generating significant costs for mushroom growing farms is workers' wages, and they work most efficiently (they pick faster and more with relatively less fatigue) when optimal working conditions are created for them.
It is no secret that the worker who picks mushrooms spends most of the day on the platform of a mushroom picking trolley, and its proper construction is the key to facilitating the daily work.
Below are some of the factors that determine, in large part, whether after a day of hard work your employees are still productive and will easily return to work the next day or whether they feel physically exhausted and their productivity is simply low.
- The ease of reaching the mushrooms through a smooth, automatic movement up, down, right and left - the essence of the work of the person who picks the mushrooms is to reach the mushrooms which have grown to the right dimensions quickly and easily. The difference between manual, semi-automatic and automatic solutions is crucial: time and difficulty in moving. Automatic solutions (trolleys with a suitable platform) allow to reach the mushrooms more easily while saving energy of the picker.
- Appropriate adjustment (height, inclination, distance) of the shelves for mushroom containers. In addition to reaching the right mushroom, it needs to be picked and then put in a container. Shelves for packaging / boxes should be properly adapted to the figure and range of motion of the person picking the mushrooms. Facilitating this activity means faster and less tiring picking, and we are talking about an activity that is repeated every day even thousands of times!
- Seat adjustment. The height of the "seat" and the distance from the box/package shelves should be adjustable in order to be able to adjust it to the distance from the mushroom containers, but also above all to the height of the person who picks the mushrooms. Comfortable body placement means less fatigue and less fatigue means faster and more efficient work.
- Perfect shape and thickness of profiles. Most mushroom carts have rails that not only protect against falling out, but above all should have a geometry that also facilitates the motion / movement of a person on the platform, facilitating movement on the platform, supporting the employee who repeatedly holds onto them while standing up or sitting down. Rails should be of adequate strength and preferably rounded, ergonomic shape to ensure safety and enable a solid hand grip.
- Location of the pilot and brake. A modern picking trolley is controlled by an intuitive remote control, which should be placed in such a place that it is easy to access (without straining the body, without unnecessary movements) and allows controlling it with both hands.
- Trolley components which are subject to maintenance and assembly/disassembly. Part of the daily work of the mushroom picker is also the preparation of the trolley for work by assembly or disassembly of the drive and washing and disinfection of the elements of the trolley. Good mushroom picking trolleys are designed for these activities to be performed quickly, easily (without requiring specialized personnel) and without undue impact on the wear of the trolley components.
- Easy, possible picking from the bottom shelf of the shelving. Non-customized solutions (choosing the wrong design of the trolley) may result in the necessity of additionally strenuous, physical work on the picking of the mushrooms from the bottom shelf of the shelving or prevent any picking at all, because the floor of the trolley platform is located too high to be able to easily reach this shelf from the platform. It is worth choosing such trolleys that will enable ergonomic picking from all shelves of the shelving, including the last one.
The key to optimizing the efficiency of harvesting in a mushroom growing farm is the choice of such devices that will actually speed up and facilitate the work of employees, because in the vast majority of mushroom growing farms around the world, it is the human resources that constitute one of the largest fixed costs of the mushroom growing farm's operation.
It is a common mistake to choose the cheapest trolleys, not the ones that are best thought out in terms of construction and enable the most ergonomic, and therefore efficient, work for our employees. By choosing a better, and therefore usually more expensive, solution, we can save a lot, because the process of mushroom picking will ultimately turn out to be much cheaper using the potential of the right devices.
The article’s author is GROWTIME (growtime.eu), a manufacturer of high-end mushroom picking trolleys used by leading mushroom growing farms around the world. If you are interested in mushroom picking trolleys, then check out our leading products:
● Mushroom picking trolley PASCAL - https://growtime.eu/en/produkt/pascal-picking-trolley/
● Mushroom picking trolley NEWTON - https://growtime.eu/en/produkt/newton-picking-lorry/