There are many business operations within New Zealand that require accurate weighing instrumentation. The weighbridge coupled with the right software and Point of Sale (POS) terminal, creates the most accurate weighing system. The accuracy of the weighbridge itself is often attributed to the quality of the load cellsA load cell is a transducer that is used to create an electrical signal whose magnitude is directly proportional to the force being measured; it’s here the WrightZone Weighbridge software will read this raw signal so to then produce a transaction, docket or ticket for the customer based on the product weight. existing underneath the weighbridge, hopper, silos, hoists or any weighing machinery.

The weighbridge signal will capture and calculate the:

Tare weight: An empty vehicle entering Onsite (to collect product)

Gross weight: where the vehicle is loaded (i.e. the waste industry to deposit product)

The net weight is the amount charged to the customer. Net weight is calculated by the Gross weight minus the tare weight (net weight is the measure of the product only, not the vehicle transporting the product).

Tuck on a weighbridge scale

Agriculture in New Zealand is the largest sector of the tradable economy, meaning big business, so let’s look at this sector and the types of areas where measurement is vital. The outcome of successful farming for milk production comes down to flow measurement which is the quantification of bulk fluid movement. Before output comes the input of Stock feed and Fertilizer for our farmers which is measured in kilograms and then reported in tonne when we reference bulk.

In New Zealand, we are seeing a potential move away from the ‘weighbridge scale’ when it comes the measurement of the fertilizer, but are these companies correct to do so? The primary reason could be due to the mixing requirement of certain combinations (of which there can be multiple) of raw fertilizer which is done inside the large warehousing premises. We can refer to this as a bill of materials mixing a percentage of product A and B to create a finished product C (alas the finished product C is still a common product available for order from the suppliers Rate Card being per tonne) which will then be loaded by a loader driver into a ‘hopper’ with load cells capturing and reporting the net weight of the product with docket/ticket production as per the hopper.

Let’s investigate this further by seeing how two fertilizer suppliers handle measurement differently.

Company One

Will produce their invoice based on the order requested regardless of the weight reported in the hopper.

Here the customer/farmer is relying and being invoiced based on the law of averages and the efficiency of supplier operations to ensure what was ordered will be a correct match to what will be delivered. It’s here on comparing same product across multiple suppliers that rates will be cheaper and farmers will hope that this company has a policy to oversupply on orders as opposed to undersupply.

Company Two

The product in the hopper is transported on conveyor belts into a silo where it’s dropped from the ceiling into the truck. It’s via these conveyors that quality control occurs, where if the product still remains lumpy or chunky or simply does not meet quality control standards, it will be diverted.

As the docket has been produced via the hopper, any poor quality product that still remains will be charged to the customer/farmer. This again results in the law of averages, but this time without oversupply and only when there is poor quality material should the potential for undersupply occur.

In both situations, Bulk Spreaders (transport suppliers to the customer) are required to contact these fertilizers suppliers and pre-book their orders or waiting times can extend to 1.5 hrs in length between entry and exit. This is obviously inefficient and it’s here where Pre-Entry Planning and bookings management in combination with a weighbridge and great (POS) Point of Sale system can create true and accurate weights in addition to business efficiencies.

Fertilizer Spreader

Why is the right Point of Sale Essential?

When vehicles are at the weighbridge, it is important that drivers are not slowed down with unnecessary data entry or computer glitches. They say time is money and there is a reason for that. Trucks need to get in and out as quickly as possible. WrightZone’s intuitive POS scale system allows vehicles to move quickly through the weighbridge station.

The WrightZone POS with touch screen makes it easy for anyone (big hands, dirty hands, and all) to use the onsite entry screen. The natural and familiar looking keyboard makes it easy to type in the information that is needed. Add predictive text that provides options/suggestions for the word you are trying to insert, makes for entering necessary information quick and painless.

With unmanned weighing stations, multiple touch screens make it possible to have multiple vehicles and multiple weighbridges capturing data at the same time.

Time may be money, but mistakes are costly as you can see from the above examples with a customer potentially being undersupplied on their order and the supplier suffering on profitability with oversupply.

Let’s discuss a method of improvement in the above examples;

  • A weighbridge scale captures a tare weight prior to entry and a gross weight on exit resulting in an accurate net weight; being the measure of product only.
    • A weighbridge need not rely on a loader-driver and hopper combination to measure a match (down to the kilogram) of what was ordered.
    • A weighbridge doesn’t measure anything that isn’t present in the truck as is the case of  the poor quality product that has been diverted after weight readings have been collected and reported.
  • An online bookings facility for Bulk Spreaders offering orders information to be picked up today or next week reduces administration overheads for suppliers (i.e. production planning, phone call taking) and increases the ease of driver entry when entering the site will all information pre-populated inside the POS system.

For truck drivers, a weighbridge POS system that uses (RF) Radio Frequency and/or Touch Screen Vehicle Identification methods helps automate vehicle registration input.  With a single click of a button, the POS screen can pre-populate all information and applicable fields other than the weight of order/job, customer and destination when vehicles are On-Run or bookings exist for the current day.  Easy and user-defined notes specific to the driver can also be recorded and a single button offering automated Split Load calculations being when different product exists between the truck, trailer or trailer bin should be considered as standard

For the Supplier, Bulk Spreaders are only offered customer selection, and therefore, customer orders with which the spreader is identified as a transport supplier to the customer. With order fulfillment, the order is closed and then no longer available to the driver (Transport Company) for selection via the POS. This communicates security for the supplier and simplicity for the driver (in only selecting valid combinations). The driver also does not need to exit their vehicle which saves time (and therefore cost) to the supplier, transport company, and ultimately the customer.

The WrightZone Weighbridge POS can optionally be completely tied into your back office systems i.e. extracting customer and customer order information in real-time for processing the entry and exit of vehicles in addition to the export of invoices into your accounting or ERP business application. This makes populating reports, developing job cost billing, and other accounts receivable functionality automated, reducing user error for more accurate data capture and retention.

Your POS and your metrology software should go hand in hand in order to create optimal business efficiencies that reduce overheads and increase output volumes resulting in increased profitability.  So too should your weighbridge software go hand in hand with your business applications. WrightZone and our professional committed consultants are experts at assessing your business and developing the right plan of action to achieve the ultimate integrated system.

To learn more about our POS touch screens contact us or check out our YouTube channel with demonstration videos.

If you would like a free trial of our weighbridge software, please request a demo.

What method are you familiar and what are your thoughts on best practice in measuring fertilizer? Do you prefer company one’s method or company two?