Mr Apple

Digitising operations to excel in the apple market. 

Mr Apple is the largest vertically integrated apple company in New Zealand, based in the Hawke’s Bay. They own and control orchards, packhouses, cool stores and logistics operations and are specialists in bringing pure and delicious New Zealand apples to the world.

Mr Apple operates 15 orchard management groups covering 64 Global-Gap accredited orchards across 1,100 hectares of Hawke’s Bay land. They employ over 2,200 people including nearly 400 permanent staff and over 1,800 seasonal workers who are passionate about exceptional quality.



Mr Apple had a vision of creating a single integrated portal that brings together key environmental, operational and performance data. They were experiencing a lack of visibility of data as it was largely paper-based. They had manual processes and wanted to further streamline their operations. Mr Apple’s existing processes relied on too much manual intervention and this needed to digitise in order to scale.

There was a realisation that new tools, enhanced capability and better information for orchard staff would potentially assist in increasing orchard yield and decreasing operating costs and lowering risk. In addition, a number of second order benefits could be realised such as staff retention, attraction and improved transparency of information across the business.


Cucumber worked with Mr Apple to structure a three-year roadmap towards a smarter orchard. This consists of a number of projects to solve specific challenges.
In order to solve these challenges, Cucumber used their Design Thinking approach. It ensured Mr Apple understood the real problem (or opportunity) to be addressed and then based on this insight, build out the right solution.

Cucumber worked with the Mr Apple Orchard Management and Payroll team to re-think their bin card and worker pay processes. This was done via a staged approach involving a Design Thinking exercise with participation from crossfunctional teams across the business. This resulted in a new process map and lo-fi physical prototype to illustrate the proposed new way of working. This was then validated with stakeholders across the supply chain and used to assess suitable products on the market.


Cucumber’s Design Thinking process enabled Mr Apple to:

  • Fully understand the business problems and ideate a new solution
  • Gain buy-in from all parties across the business on a new process for harvesting apples
  • Evaluate products on the market against an agreed prototype and evaluation criteria with confidence
  • Trial the selected product and measure against metrics

Currently in pilot for this season it is anticipated a new solution will go live in 2019.

Download the full case study here

"The key to learning is to trust the Cucumber Design Thinking process. It helped us to focus on the key problems and work together as a team to create a new process that is creating a better way for everyone.”

Grant Stevenson
Mr Apple, Orchard Manager

Grant Stevenson

Mr Apple, Orchard Manager

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