5 Ways Growers Can Leverage Data to Tackle Market Uncertainty

Five key benefits from SilverLeaf that help growers tackle market uncertainty and master horticulture operations.

Sara Silver

Director of Horticulture Solutions, Velosio

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    When business is booming, growers sometimes overlook how efficiently their operations are running. In horticulture operations, there’s enough revenue coming in the door to make up for any slim margins.

    But during market uncertainty, improving efficiencies so margins increase is paramount. Consider the uncertain situation the industry was facing in 2021. When COVID broke out in 2020, everyone stayed home and gardened. This created a boom for growers – and also created a blip in the historical data. In 2021, growers had to evaluate if the volume would continue -or if they’d be stuck with plants that would not be sold.

    Time will tell! In the meantime, the difficulty in improving efficiency lies in getting access to real-time data that provides insight into how growers can streamline production. Real-time data is also needed to manage finances effectively and to formulate strategic plans.

    Manual Methods Take Too Long to Generate Data

    Getting at the data can be challenging if you rely on older software or entry-level accounting systems such as QuickBooks. As your business has grown, your managers have had to rely on Excel spreadsheets to generate reports. This involves either exporting or manually copying data from QuickBooks and then creating reports and sorting them to get the information they need. They may also rely on copying data found in hard-copy formats—such as whiteboards in the greenhouse tracking plant locations.

    Growers Guide to Microsoft Dynamics 365Growers Guide to Microsoft Dynamics 365

    These methods take a long time to compile the data—consider walking through a large greenhouse and collecting all that whiteboard data! Once the information is compiled, it’s likely stored in a single user’s Excel files, meaning others cannot easily access the information. Or, the user shares their Excel files, but others begin to manipulate the data, and now there are multiple versions. And, then of course, the data is out of date almost immediately.

    Ultimately, managers lack accurate data. They cannot make well-informed decisions on how to make operations more efficient.

    Time to Deploy a Robust ERP Platform

    If your financial reporting process takes too long…if you don’t know the cost to grow each of your items or your currently-available inventory…or how long it takes to get products from each vendor, it’s time to evolve to a more robust ERP platform.

    Many growers in master horticulture operations have found the answer by turning to SilverLeaf, which is powered by Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

    With real-time decision support systems created with Microsoft Power Platform, SilverLeaf provides a comprehensive horticulture ERP that manages, tracks, schedules, and measures—so growers can achieve the best possible use of their resources. SilverLeaf also integrates with Microsoft Power BI to create a centralized repository of dashboards and reports that make your business more efficient because you don’t have to rekey information, and everyone can access the same single-source-of-truth data.

    Because SilverLeaf is a modern platform running in the cloud, it’s easier to onboard and train new users—even those who are not technically savvy. Once you leverage Power BI to enable real-time reporting, five key benefits begin to emerge from SilverLeaf that help you tackle market uncertainty:

    1: Enhance Process Efficiencies

    • Standardize workflow processes and business data
    • Integrate with retail customer ordering platforms
    • Maximize racking and packaging efficiencies
    • Gain visibility into real-time inventory availability

    2: Facilitate Financial Management

    • Understand cash flow
    • Review payables and receivables in a timely process
    • Streamline collections and credit approval workflows
    • Report against financial budgets and forecasts

    3: Plan Strategically

    • Monitor consumption rates, demand trends, and product popularity
    • Track machine usage and labor rates to schedule resources more effectively
    • Analyze inventory testing and issue mitigation to improve production planning
    • Forecast demand to drive production, purchasing, and space planning.

    4: Streamline Production

    • Monitor waste and scrap to select vendors and refine manufacturing processes
    • Measure inventory availability based on lead and grow times or life expectancy
    • Track inventory movement, placement, and location to analyze growing cycles
    • Monitor expected vs actual costs

    5: Generate Real-Time Reports

    • Build reports to analyze key KPIs
    • Understand the true cost of production
    • Track sales campaigns and impact on revenue from discounts and marketing efforts
    • Generate dashboards with expected output by location and variety

    With everyone working in one system, using mobile devices (scanners, smartphones, tablets), data flows into SilverLeaf more efficiently. Without having to manually compile data from multiple places, your entire business receives real-time dashboards and reports so there’s time to take decisive action.

    Download our infographic to learn more about how you can master horticulture operations with SilverLeaf and Microsoft technology. And for more information on SilverLeaf or to get help in building scorecards and reports that provide the insights your grower business needs to contend with market uncertainty, contact us today.

    Business Leaders Guide to Dynamics 365Business Leaders Guide to Dynamics 365

    Sara Silver

    Director of Horticulture Solutions, Velosio

    Follow Me: