By Stephanie Metzinger
Envision a future where digital systems completely replace hand-written time sheets and where you can receive real-time visibility of crew time, production and labor costs. With Pago, that future is here.
Pago is the first product to serve both farm labor contractors and growers by offering a platform where the two parties can work collaboratively to carry out crucial labor activities. These include everything from scheduling crews and calculating time rate and piece rate to monitoring crew activity in real time and simplifying payroll systems and contract negotiations through easy-to-use digital systems.
“When developing Pago, we first took the perspective of it working for labor contractors and then enhanced the system to benefit growers,” said Mike Dodson, CEO of Pago. “Our software team partnered with farm labor contractors and growers to build the product, ensuring that that the platform met the needs of both parties.”
Pago is the brainchild of the same agtech software team that built Lotpath Quality, a leading quality control system for fruits and vegetables that improves food chain visibility and ensures the highest quality products travel through the fresh supply chain. After the success of Lotpath Quality, the team wanted to take their experience and knowledge of ag and tech to build a new product that would help solve another pressing industry issue: labor.
HOW PAGO WORKS
For Farm Labor Contractors
For farm labor contractors, the Pago team can help configure an account or labor contractors can configure their account themselves. This includes importing employees and crews; setting up grower customer and field lists; and designing contracts to include compensation information for employees and billing details for customers. With contracts in place, the labor contractor or grower can start scheduling crews to work on particular fields on particular days.
In the field, the innovative technology behind the Pago employee badge is used. Pago badges allow for easy time keeping, as each badge is linked to an employee’s profile and photo and equipped with a chip that can be scanned with the Pago Timekeeper smart phone app. Recording an employee’s time in a crew, clocking in and out and collecting production information for each employee has never been simpler.
As data is recorded in the mobile app, the information is automatically sent in realtime to the Pago cloud servers. The time and production data is immediately visible to labor contractor office staff and the grower field personnel. The data can be used to pay employees and invoice the respective grower. In addition to crew scheduling, time keeping and payroll, Pago also offers labor contractors the ability to track labor costs, monitor crew production efficiency, create grower bills faster, and maximize profitability.
Similarly, Pago provides growers with real-time visibility of productivity of every crew throughout the day. Growers are also able to see how must costs are accruing in real time.
To get started, a grower partners with the Pago team and the grower’s farm labor contractors to set up linked accounts, with online contracts that are accessible to each party. The online contracts include detailed compensation and billing parameters that enable time and production tracking and set the financial terms of invoices from labor contractors to growers. Growers can receive invoices from farm labor contractors through the online platform and export cost information to their accounting system for crop costing and initiating labor contractor payments.
“We are most proud of how easy the product is to use and the sophisticated technology behind the platform,” said Dodson.
To be useful to all growers and farm labor contractors across the nation, time rate and piece rate calculations are compliant with federal and state laws. Compliance rules apply to the jurisdiction where work is performed, and a real-time compliance engine monitors crew and employee time and production data to warn of any compliance issues (e.g., minimum wage, overtime, meal penalties, piece rate pay).
A WG PARTNERSHIP
Pago is currently headquartered in Fresno, CA, and now has reach in Salinas through the Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology (WGCIT). Dodson was one of the inaugural entrepreneurs with a “hot desk” in the WGCIT. Joining the Center two years ago, and experiencing the benefits, he found it only appropriate to have the official public unveiling of Pago during WGCIT’s “Innovation in the Imperial Valley” event in Brawley this past February.
“The Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology has provided us many opportunities to introduce our products to the industry,” said Dodson. “The Pago team especially appreciates the ongoing events where leaders from the industry are invited to meet startups and share ideas on innovation.”
Through the support from industry members and the drive, knowledge and skill of the Pago team, the product is continually being refined to be on the cutting-edge of ag labor platforms. Moving forward, Dodson said he hopes to enhance the product enough to where billing and payment processing can be done at a touch of a button and farmworkers can directly access Pago to receive information such as paycheck stubs and W-2s.
Both the web platform and mobile app are available in English and Spanish.
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