Tips to Help Greenhouse Growers Improve Production Planning

Boost efficiency with data-driven Production Planning. Optimize operations for better results. Streamline your business now!

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    With the spring and early summer selling season wrapping up, now’s the time for greenhouse growers to plan production for the next season. By identifying trends and analyzing your KPIs, you can understand how your business performed this season and make profitable decisions on how to operate next season.

    One of the keys is to leverage software that allows you to ditch using multiple spreadsheets to try to get a handle on what took place this season and project what will happen next season. The data on your spreadsheets may have already changed, or you may have the wrong data if you merged spreadsheets handled by multiple users.

    By turning to an end-to-end business management solution to manage your business, you can gain access to production and inventory reports in real time—while memories are still fresh, and your management team can recall the variable factors that contributed to any positive or negative results.

    Consider the Economy, the Climate, and Your Customers

    As you forecast what you will sell next season, we recommend considering factors such as the economy—which will impact demand. Also consider the climate, which will impact your production capacity and perhaps your costs in controlling the amount of sun, water, nutrients, fertilizer, and pesticides you apply.

    To solve the challenge of sales forecasting and production planning, many greenhouse growers have turned to SilverLeaf, which runs on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. SilverLeaf automates the process of looking back at past results and planning for the next season. For instance, you can instantly report on what you sold by day, week, and month during the past season.

    It’s also important to collaborate with your wholesale customers—the garden centers and the big box stores. Based on their interaction with retail customers, they may have additional insights. They may also have plans to expand or cut back on the various plants and shrubs they typically order from you.

    Microsoft Dynamics 365, in partnership with SilverLeaf, provides a modern ERP solution with end-to-end functionality designed specifically for horticulture/greenhouse growers, allowing them to streamline their business management processes and eliminate outdated and manual procedures.

    With SilverLeaf helping you accurately plan production, you can assess whether your current resources will meet the demand:

    • Do you have too much space or too little? Are you locked into the available space, or can you expand or contract?
    • Do you have sufficient labor resources and production machine assets? Do you have the flexibility to add staff or assets?
    • If you rely on supply chain partners for starter plants, will they deliver on time and at the right quantity?

    Another key aspect of production planning is your costs. What will you need to order for soil, fertilizer, and pesticides? What will your utility costs be for water, cooling, and heating?

    Armed with this information, you are better positioned to make sure flowers, plants, and shrubs are ready at the right time so they’re attractive when retail customers show up at the locations of your customers. You can determine the precise timing to ship—when the buds are still closed—so when they arrive at your customer sites, they are just starting to open.

    Planning When to Plant

    SilverLeaf helps you with the timing of product availability with our Production Planning by Ready Date feature. You can run this report for each plant genus, variety, and color of the plants you grow. This feature factors in conditions such as seasonal grow times.

    Once you forecast what you want to sell and when you want to sell, this feature determines when to plant the seeds or when to receive starter plants. For example, for a certain flower to be ready on April 1, you might have to plant on January 1. But that same plant might only need less time to grow to be ready on May 1.

    SilverLeaf helps you manage each SKU so you have plants ready when you need to ship to meet your customers’ demand. This is key because if plants are ready too early, they have to sit on the shelf and may wither. If they are ready too late, customer demand may have decreased.

    Projecting Inventory Availability

    Another feature SilverLeaf customers appreciate is the Availability Matrix—a week-by-week rundown of how much inventory will be available to sell. The matrix factors in orders that your customers have already placed and the expected production of each plant type.

    The data automatically updates in real time as new orders come in and production forecasts change. So when customers place new orders—asking for specific plant types and quantities—your sales team can respond immediately, knowing precisely what’s available on the week your customers want to take delivery.

    To learn more about how SilverLeaf helps greenhouse growers plan production for next season, check out our YouTube video demo. You can also contact us today.