We always talk about Winplant’s workflow system, but we never actually took the time to fully explain what it means to us, and why it works perfectly for you.
Put simply, workflow is the sequence of necessary steps and actions that must occur in order to go from taking an order from a customer, to the point where the billing is generated and the product is successfully delivered.
Of course, there are MANY differences in the necessary workflow when we compare nurseries that are not substantially the same, i.e. product, packaging, shipping methods and primary customer type. Surprisingly, there is a BIG difference between nurseries and farms that are substantially similar. It usually comes down to what kind of methods did the nursery naturally and organically develop when they were small and had to do many things manually, out of the obvious necessities and the limited technological solutions they had available.
In 35 years of serving the horticulture and agriculture segments, there have been very few instances where a nursery has asked to move to a more advanced workflow methodology. Generally, Nursery owners make changes when they are forced to, due to changes in customer requirements or new product lines.
As a nursery / farm owner, it is your professional responsibility and duty to make sure that your business, your office staff and your work crew are all provided with the fastest, most accurate and responsive system for all their needs. Researching at least once a year is very (very!) important for you to keep up with the rapid changes and growing advantages of the digital management solutions in the agriculture, horticulture and farming industries.
With that in mind, we present an partial list of the types of questions you should be asking yourself in determining if a change could be made that would enhance your operations.
To help you determine if such upgrade to your management system could be made, that would enhance your operations, we decided to share a few important points and questions that you first must consider:
Inventory management is not an option, but a necessity!
Are you flying by the seat of your pants or are you strictly recording changes? If you’re bypassing the entry work necessary to keep your inventory pristine, either because you can’t rely on your work crews to convey the information to you or you are simply trying to save time – you end up losing the important ability to know exactly how much you actually have available for sale, as well as knowing better which inventories to pull your items from.
Informing your crew about items, quantities, comments and pulling locations
The Winplant package of solutions include pick tickets, manual pull lists, automated pull-lists, and our recently released pull-list mobile app. Some of these actions require that this information circles back to the office, stating where the items were pulled from. If you want to maintain a clean inventory, this data must then also be updated in the system, manually. Other tools will guide your crews as to where to pull from, automatically and easily making the inventory entries for you. The mobile app gives your crews the ability to decide where to pull from and record those changes to inventory in real time. Our automated pull-list as well as the mobile pull app both handle add-ons easily and efficiently.
How can I instruct my crews about orders prepping and packing?
Traditionally, after the item has been pulled, it is brought to a staging area or the loading dock itself. From there, additional steps are taken to prepare the product for shipment: Labeling, sleeves, tags and boxing are some of the most common. Winplant provides you with a full packing list solution to help your packing process become more coherent, clear and organized. Our packing solution helps you produce a packing list as well as retail labeling on demand. If you sell to retail garden centers, they will frequently require that you retail label your items for them, with their retail pricing asd UPC information. Winplant handles this seamlessly, with the only requirement being your staff asking for the retail labels for those orders that require it.
Providing your loading crews with critical data (and collecting it back!)
Delivering orders on your own trucks, you use load sheets to convey the numerical order that the orders are loaded on the trucks – the last delivery to get dropped off goes on the truck first and the first delivery goes on last.
Of course, you could easily just load all items of the same type together, but that would not make sense if the truck is leaving your nursery full. It will take your driver about 15 minutes more, to assemble your customer’s orders correctly. With 8 stops, your driver would waste over 2 hours on average and you would probably need to cut down the number of deliveries for the day, on the account of the time lost.
As the orders are loaded, any changes to the order are marked on the paperwork, which is sent back to the office to have the order/Invoice corrected.
Winplant helps you to alleviate that step by scanning the items loaded by order using our mobile truck loading app. As changes are made on screen, your order updates automatically! In addition to that, our system can easily generate a Pull Accuracy Report for you, to track how accurate the pull is vs. the actual need, allowing you to immediately identify problems and apply corrective measures.
Some nurseries send the orders using rolling racks. When leaving the rack at the retail nursery, you must keep track of which racks were left behind and which racks your driver has picked up. Winplant helps you keep an accurate inventory of your racks, too!
How to determine delivery order?
In today’s day and age, everyone uses Google Maps.
The problems begin when you try to put together more than 9 stops on one route, as Google’s free version does not allow more than 9 stops. Another problem is entering all those addresses. It takes valuable time. Winplant allows you to easily and simply set all your routing goals, using our unique Google Maps integrated routing system.
Using our Google Maps Pro-API powered system, you can easily reorder all your stops and your routing. Winplant’s routing solution provides you with important information about your deliveries, like the total amount of items on the truck, drive-time counter and even estimated time of delivery – providing you with much more accurate information on where the driver should be at any point in time and how long the truck will be out before it returns to the nursery.
Delivery and client-end service
Dropping off the ordered items, you can give your customers an invoice or a delivery ticket. Your driver then must return the signed documents to the office to track and file all the signed documents for each order, and manually edit any changes that might have been made at the point of delivery.
Winplant’s Delivery Mobile App helps you to view, edit and keep this kind of important information in the most accurate way. All changes and edits in your orders are updated and saved automatically on our system. When your client digitally-signs the order on your mobile devices, the digitally-signed document is automatically attached as a permanent record in the system, together with the invoice. A digital copy of the signed invoice is instantly sent to your client’s email address, completing the process.
Making the necessary changes to your business structure
Examining your options, there are endless possibilities for you to construct the workflow system and adjust it to your specific needs. Some solutions on the market you will find to help you with partial issues, some are relatively expensive and would eventually drain your budget and some are simply outdated, old fashioned and pretty much irrelevant in our days of technological advanced digital world.
Winplant allows you to easily gain FULL CONTROL over your entire nursery structure, using our full set of professional management tools and our digital and automated options that help you run your business faster, more accurate and efficient than ever! Whichever blend of documents and functions are required for your environment, Winplant software can very much deliver it.
We provide you with a complete ecosystem of technologically advanced business solutions with 35 years of software evolution and progress, professional experience and critical nursery management knowledge, to help you reach the business goals of your nursery.