Microsoft 365 Solutions for Production Planning and Execution

The combination of SilverLeaf and Business Central brings data from all areas of your greenhouse business into one consolidated database of information.

Sara Silver

Director of Horticulture Solutions, Velosio

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    You’re in charge of greenhouse production, and the sales manager just provided you with a month-by-month forecast of expected sales for the next selling season. You now know how many of each flower and plant type—by variety and by color—you need to produce.

    How will you next create a production plan, and then make sure your production team executes on the plan? Will you be able to adjust the plan when the sales forecast changes? Can you pivot if something throws production off—like supply chain shortages or changes to the expected weather pattern?

    If you try to answer these questions by juggling spreadsheets, it can take extraordinary acts of heroism by you and your staff to pull all the data together to get an accurate view of what’s happening with sales and production. Some spreadsheets will be isolated on user laptops, or the info may only exist inside the heads of your key frontline people. You can never be sure if info has changed by the time you get it.


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

    Centralized Access to Real-Time Data

    Many greenhouse growers have solved this challenge by relying on tools found in SilverLeaf, which runs on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central in the cloud. With SilverLeaf, you always have access to real-time, accurate data.

    Pre-configured Production Planning and Production Execution functions in SilverLeaf automate processes behind the scenes—to produce the precise information that’s needed to plan flower and plant production and then execute the plan efficiently. You can also react quickly when changes occur to the sales forecast or the projected production numbers.

    As full enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, the combination of SilverLeaf and Business Central brings data from all the functional areas of your greenhouse business into one consolidated database of information. That means your production team does not need to wait for the sales team to deliver the customer demand forecast—they already have access with just a couple of clicks.

    Know How Much to Grow and When

    With SilverLeaf, you can receive automatic demand forecast updates or check the forecast any time you need to predict what your finished-good sales will be—by item, variety, color, and by location. You can run the forecast to produce numbers across a quarter, a month, or a week.

    This information can be used within the Production Planning function as a guideline for the number of flowers and plants to produce and the timing of when they need to be transplanted, spaced, and ready for shipping to customers.

    During the selling season, in addition to looking at the existing demand from current unfulfilled sales, Production Planning looks at purchase orders to assess the expected incoming supply chain components. You can also program the system to track supply chain replenishment points and the safety stock levels of finished flowers and plants by item.

    The Production Planning tool then recommends a purchasing and production plan to meet the requirements. You can choose to implement the plan automatically or manually create a plan based on the recommendations. You can then modify the plan as demand, supply, and production resource conditions change.

    To learn more, check out this demo to see SilverLeaf in action. The demo shows you how to work with demand forecasts and determine when to start planting, according to when you need to deliver finished items. In addition to knowing how much to grow of each item, you can determine what you need to purchase for seeds, plugs, liners, and pots. You can also set the plan for what you need to assemble.

    Track and Measure Product Quality Throughout the Production Lifecycle

    After you create your production plan, you can then use SilverLeaf Production Execution features to assign and schedule tasks to each production work center, by day, and by functional area. This function allows you to initially assume labor costs based on estimates and then use the actual production data you collect over time to more accurately calculate the production costs.

    Production Execution also streamlines several greenhouse workflows:

    • Measure flower and plant quality throughout production.
    • Monitor supply chain waste and scrap to select the best vendors and assess production processes.
    • Measure inventory availability based on lead or grow time and life expectancy.
    • Track inventory grow cycles, movement, placement, and location.
    • Automate warehouse management.
    • Compare expected to actual flower and plant production costs.

    Another helpful feature within Production Execution is backflush accounting, which you can apply to less expensive and less constrained materials. This costing approach is helpful in just-in-time operating environments and lets you delay applying costs until goods are finished.

    To see Production Execution in action, check out this demo. We show how to view production and purchase order status and determine when to transplant and space flowers and plants.

    Business Leaders Guide to the New Digital AgeBusiness Leaders Guide to the New Digital Age

    A Continuous Improvement Journey

    As you track production execution, consider how you will collect production data. Using paper and pencil on the front lines is OK if you have the required back-office support to key in the information. But there will be delays in how quickly information is available—particularly if your greenhouses and fields are in widespread geographic areas.

    As a more efficient alternative, consider providing your production teams with mobile devices and creating the connectivity infrastructure so they can upload data via the Internet. This will allow your home office team to gain access to the data in real time, and you will avoid data entry rekeying errors.

    And as you work to make production planning and production execution more efficient, remember that it’s a journey. Let the SilverLeaf planning tool make suggestions, and continuously improve your planning parameters so you can depend on the recommended plan.

    For more information on how SilverLeaf, or for help with your greenhouse production planning and production execution processes, contact Velosio today.

    Enabling the Modern Worker with the Microsoft PlatformEnabling the Modern Worker with the Microsoft Platform

    Sara Silver

    Director of Horticulture Solutions, Velosio

    Follow Me: