Getting started in the nursery business was a lifelong dream for Ketch de Kanter, owner of Little Prince of Oregon Nursery in Aurora, Ore. As the business grew, the need to manage daily operations was no longer a task his small office could effectively handle. Little Prince had outgrown Quickbooks and Excel spreadsheets and was faced with finding a software solution that would grow with the business.
“The biggest pain was the hours we were spending to prepare our weekly availability,” De Kanter says. “We were spending hours putting together our lists and struggling to get data entered into Excel. We were doing double-entry just to give our customers a complete list of plants available each week.”
Little Prince evaluated several industry software companies and heard good things about Advanced Grower Solutions (AGS ). Based in Portland, Ore., and Fort Worth, Texas, AGS put together a complete Enterprise Management Solution and created a streamlined inventory control system to improve weekly availability, crop planning and weekly potting schedules. Using new technologies like the tablet PC, AGS helped reduce the time it took each week to walk the nursery and prepare availability.
“It only takes a few hours to walk the greenhouses and update the availability, so the rest of the time we spend on clever marketing ideas to educate and engage our prospects,” De Kanter says. “We’re not just focused on entering data into a system but on selling and delivering an excellent product.”
In addition to a system focused on the inventory management and production needs of the nursery and greenhouse, a complete order fulfillment and accounting and payroll solution compliments the nursery-specific features and makes the AGS solution a completely integrated system.
When customers call, Little Prince can tell them the condition and next crop date without having to put them on hold and radio the grower. “Because of our diverse customer base, we need to provide current plant availability to garden centers, as well as landscapers, municipalities and local chain stores,” De Kanter explains. “While the garden centers want the best-looking plants that can be sold immediately, landscapers prefer emerging or budding plants that look great after the installation. Giving customers up-to-date information on the plant quality and availability of popular items definitely improved our sales.”