Warehouse Report January 2015

Happy New Year!  Tree Top is now half-way through our fiscal year and all of our operations are extremely busy with most processing plants running at full capacity.

Our receiving to date is on target and just shy of 50% of our budgeted tonnage in house. It was a bit surprising in review of the state numbers to see that Tree Top has taken 59% of all reported Washington processor tonnage. Of course, we are always a bit heavier at the beginning of the year during harvest. In addition, we would suspect that similar amounts of processor fruit are actually being utilized as in previous years, even though it’s clear more volume is being generated.  Our pricing has remained competitive, especially on organic fruit, which we will continue to need throughout the remainder of the packing season. Pears are being consistently scheduled to run at our Prosser and Selah plants as well as our Medford, OR plant.

We are on target with the draw schedule currently at 96% of where we expected to be at this time. The feedback from packers that have offered opinions has been very positive, and as we’ve said, “It’s a work in progress,” so we are always open to any constructive feedback of how we may be able to continually improve the process.

Processes and Procedures:  In response to some of the questions we receive about our processes and procedures, it seems a good idea to provide an explanation here as it may be useful information to many. Our most recent questions have been around rejected fruit loads that are sent back to the warehouse. 

Q: “If it’s member fruit, and it does not meet your peeler quality, why don’t you just down-grade it to juice fruit and keep it?” 

A: Processing is a lot more complicated than it was in the past when Tree Top made a tremendous amount of juice and could inventory and sell it at a later date.  Now, ingredients make up a large portion of our sales and require a lot of peeler grade fruit.  Like packers, we too plan out what needs to be processed several weeks in advance in order to fill the sales plan. We’ve also implemented the Draw Plan, which gives each packer a set amount of fruit to deliver to us each month.  Our Logistics Department dispatchers are scheduling fruit deliveries to fill very specific needs for the following weeks’ production run schedule.  If we’ve already scheduled/received adequate juice fruit and a peeler load arrives which is juice quality we may not have the need or ability to handle it in a timely manner. However, there are times when we may have both juice and peelers arriving from the same warehouse in the same week and we’re able to accept the peeler fruit as juice fruit and simply postpone the corresponding juice load for another time. 

Submitted by Cris Hales, VP Fruit Procurement & Grower Services