Bella Frutta – A Model of Cold-Store Housekeeping

Last year Barpro were pleased to install mobile racking into the export holding store at Bella Frutta’s brand new state-of-the-art deciduous fruit packing facility just outside Ceres in the Western Cape. I paid a courtesy visit there recently, and was graciously hosted by Fransu Viljoen, Bella Frutta’s hands-on maintenance manager. Fransu was only too pleased to show me round the packing sheds, ‘pull-down’ pre-cooling chambers, and holding rooms with evident –and very justifiable – pride. When we came to the chamber equipped with Storax mobile racking housing nearly 800 hi-cube pallets of fruit awaiting export, I was delighted by what I saw. Seldom have I encountered such a tidy, well-kept and well-maintained store. The quality of house-keeping clearly reflected a level of management and supervision not seen often enough – with operators clearly participating with the ‘pride-of-ownership’ attitude which can result only from personal motivation. Pallets were all stacked neatly and evenly into the racking, the floors were cleanly swept, and I could see no sign of damage to any of the equipment. The fruit packed at Bella Frutta finds its way all over the world – but largely Europe where, as can be expected, standards are extraordinarily exacting. Accordingly the facility receives regular quality inspection visits from UK customers such as Marks & Spencer and Tesco, and it is a credit to South Africa to be able to showcase our exports so favourably. When I complimented Fransu and the resident reach-truck operator about the spotless condition of the racking he explained that he has his operators conduct a weekly inspection of the whole system, reporting back on a detailed check-list of his own design. One page itemised for the mobile system components, and another for the actual racking. This is exactly the kind of care and attention we have been discussing in previous newsletters under the heading of rack safety. Well done, indeed.   Alan Moule

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