(Aug. 15) Watsonville, Calif.-based Driscoll Strawberry Associates Inc. has increased the percentage of packages it weighs after installing more than two dozen Trooper TR6RS compact industrial bench scales in its California coolers.

Post-harvest operations analyst Thomas Taggart said that in the past Driscoll could manually weigh a package if it appeared to be underweight but that doing so wasn’t a routine part of the inspection process.

“We didn’t have the ability,” he said. “Now it’s part of the quality assurance process. It’s the first thing we do. It’s effortless.”

Taggart said Driscoll is weighing about 85% of its strawberry, blackberry and raspberry packs, from 6-ounce clamshells to 10-pound tray packs. He said the change isn’t something wholesalers or retailers will notice but that it was the right thing to do.

“It assures us that we’re sending them a package of the appropriate weight,” he said.

Driscoll integrated the scales with Microsoft software last year in its Watsonville facility and later expanded it to Oxnard, Santa Maria and Salinas in California.

“What’s really helped us is automation,” he said. “We’ve taken the human element and the possibility for error out of the equation.”