Grow Your Bottom Line With The Right Plants

Focusing on quality means creating a culture of quality within your company. How do we look upon quality within our businesses, and how does it relate to the quality of our products?

It is the responsibility of everyone who is involved with the creation of the products or services offered by an organization. In other words, true quality capitalizes on the involvement of management, workforce, suppliers and even customers, in order to meet or exceed customer expectations.

For organizations to survive and grow in today’s challenging marketplace they need to create a culture of continuous improvement for products and services. A high level of good employee attitudes and enthusiasm is critical. All of these help with the ultimate goal of improved quality, productivity and customer satisfaction, which is an important competitive advantage in today’s marketplace.

Consider Your Business Model

Do you know where you are going, and what strategy works best for your business?

Ask Yourself What Your Business Does Right And How It Can Improve

Ed Kiley gives his tips for getting your operation to focus on quality that keeps customers coming back for more.

• Improvements need to come from and be implemented by upper management. If a company’s leaders stand behind something, others will follow. These decisions should also be made by listening to the marketplace and ever-changing business environment. Adjustments to operations, support and alternate business strategies should be employed based on what you learn by listening.

• Consider whether your operation is continually focusing on the three Cs of business: Customers, Competitors and Company. Notice that your business is part of the triangle’s base and customers are located at the top point.

• Ask yourself if you’ve created an environment dedicated to doing things efficiently in all of your operations. Part of this step means understanding how to grow and produce a mature plant of the highest quality with the lowest cost.

• Wrestle the costs of your growing operation down to the last penny. By saving money on the growing level, you are able to cut cost for your customers as well. This will help you become recognized as a “Price Value Leader” in your area of expertise, which should be part of the goal.

• Remember what your customers want: high-quality plant materials at a good price, a high level of customer service and support, and shipments delivered when they need them. Most importantly, customers want a grower who they can rely on as a business partner to help them grow their business. Then, really try to meet and exceed your customers’ expectations.

The best strategy is rooted in knowing who you are, why you do what you do and where you are going. Having a definitively strong purpose that resonates strongly across the organization makes communication, alignment, mobilization and execution infinitely less scary.

People slow down as they become unsure about how to make decisions or judgments. The speed and effectiveness of an organization comes down to being so clear about where we are going that we can safely delegate decisions to the lowest level and release the flow of the organizational energy that undoubtedly exists within the organization.

Embrace The New, Don’t Forget The Old

A good example of this is how our team makes decisions after returning from California Spring Trials. As a grower, quality product is in many ways dependent on the varieties we review, trial, select and then grow for our
customers. Getting the right mix is critical. For us, that means keeping
balance between tried-and-true favorites and the hot new varieties.

Consider carefully what you are growing. Do you rush out every year to grow all of the sexy new plants? What is your balance between the well established varieties and the sex appeal of “what’s new”?

Often new plant varieties are simply not well-suited to our commercial growing operation. I remember two varieties – Coreopsis ‘Limerock Ruby’ and Echinacea ‘Orange Meadowbrite’ – that were good examples of this. We thought ‘Limerock Ruby’ was a Zone 5 plant, but it proved to be more Zone 7. ‘Orange Meadowbrite’ in our experience was less hardy than we
anticipated and we had some issues with color. In the end, we had some unhappy consumers who purchased these plants because we didn’t meet their expectations on quality.

Be careful with new introductions and the plant hype. For many, the competition for getting new varieties into the marketplace is so keen that the ability to produce lags behind. We saw a lot of great plants introduced at the California Spring Trials in March but we didn’t jump on them, because we know realistically they will not be ready for commercial production until late 2013. Again, we don’t want to promise our customers something that we can’t deliver. The reputation of our business is at stake.

In closing, we want to build quality into everything we do in our growing operation. A business that stresses excellence in everything they do will
always produce a top-quality product and be a leader in the marketplace.

Leave a Reply

More From Grow Initiative...
Heuch Pink Fizz_featured

March 2, 2015

Intergeneric Crosses Are A New Perennial Trend

Intergeneric crosses, oddities some botanists say are an impossibility, have made serious inroads in the perennial world.

Read More

March 2, 2015

Robots Grab Hold Of Growers’ Material Handling Needs

Harvest Automation’s HV-100 robots automate one of the hardest, most labor-intensive jobs at growing operations – plant spacing. With more technology coming, investing in robots could become even more realistic for growers of all sizes.

Read More

March 2, 2015

Smartpot Uses Sensors And Cartridges To Ensure Success In Growing

Click & Grow helps make it simple for consumers to grow their own herbs and spices at home, even if they have little experience with plants.

Read More
Latest Stories

March 2, 2015

Smartpot Uses Sensors And Cartridges To Ensure Success …

Click & Grow helps make it simple for consumers to grow their own herbs and spices at home, even if they have little experience with plants.

Read More

March 2, 2015

Student Flash Mob At TPIE Has Roots In Floriculture

The local FFA students who entertained TPIE attendees in 2014 and 2015 received industry donations of plants and a greenhouse structure to help expand their horticultural program.

Read More

February 12, 2015

GROW Perspective: What Is It You Do Again?

The industry is very good at talking about what we do and how we do it, but has almost completely lost touch with talking about why this work is important. As an industry, we need to promote our professions as vital to healthier living.

Read More
bee photo

February 11, 2015

26 Ways Growers Improve The Green Industry

In Greenhouse Grower’s annual State Of The Industry Survey, we asked how your operation is living the GROW Initiative’s five pillars: How are you driving consumer success, cultivating new customers, demanding quality, investing in the industry and sharpening business management? Through your candid responses, we learned about some of the ideas you’ve implemented and steps you’re taking for 2015. Here are just a few.

Read More
Noble Foundation

February 3, 2015

Lloyd Noble Scholars Program Application Period Now Ope…

The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation is offering college students an opportunity to work side-by-side with the Noble Foundation’s renowned agricultural consultants and researchers through the Lloyd Noble Scholars in Agriculture program, a summer internship that provides students the opportunity to enhance their in-class education with real-world application and experiences.

Read More

January 7, 2015

GROW Summit 2014 Homes In On The Issues That Keep You U…

During Greenhouse Grower’s third annual GROW Summit in December a number of ideas, questions and calls-to-action transpired. Here are a few of the highlights.

Read More

January 6, 2015

Growers Resolve To Educate Public About Their Operation…

See what growers plan to work on for their 2015 business resolutions.

Read More

December 22, 2014

National Garden Bureau Launches Therapeutic Garden Prog…

National Garden Bureau has chosen the Growing Solutions Farm in Chicago as the first beneficiary of its annual fundraising effort "Growing For Futures."

Read More

December 19, 2014

Hydroponic Food Production Course Serves Up Life Lesson…

Students in the new HORT 331X Hydroponic Food Crop Production course at Iowa State University are producing more food than they can eat, so they began donating the vegetables they produce to a local food pantry and free meal program.

Read More

December 8, 2014

“The Cheapest Generation” Will Be Tomorrow&…

Members of the Millennial generation aren’t buying cars and houses the way their parents did, and according to a recent article from The Atlantic titled “The Cheapest Generation,” it might be more than an effect of a bad economy. So what does this mean for horticulture? Industry members weigh in.

Read More
Katie Nickolaus

November 25, 2014

Proven Winners Names 2014 Scholarship Winners

Looking to promote industry leaders of the future, Proven Winners has established a $15,000 scholarship program that awards students in three distinct areas - breeding, marketing and growing.

Read More

November 24, 2014

GROW Perspective: We Need To Think Bigger

Garry Grueber of Cultivaris and Global Breadfruit says the horticulture industry must evolve to help solve the problems of world hunger and food insecurity.

Read More

November 13, 2014

NY SunWorks’ Greenhouse Project Aims To Build 100 Labs …

NY SunWork's Greenhouse Project aims to build 100 labs by 2020. With 15 greenhouse project labs built and 11 more in development, it’s on its way to reaching that goal.

Read More

November 4, 2014

Millennials Rank Gardening Among Top 5 Leisure Activiti…

United Kingdom consumers, aged 25 to 35, have rated gardening as a top five favorite leisure activity.

Read More
Ken Altman

October 27, 2014

GROW Perspective: Why I Give Back To The Industry

Ken Altman of Altman Plants knows a thing or two about the green industry, including the importance of contributing to the industry he loves.

Read More

October 21, 2014

Plants, Gardens Of The Future Will Be Radically Differe…

Over the next 20 to 30 years, Garry Grueber of Cultivaris and Global Breadfruit says the horticulture industry will need to address such issues as population growth, feeding a hungry world, less availability of water and land resources, rampant climate change and increased focus on the environment and sustainability.

Read More

October 13, 2014

Costa Farms Celebrates Indoor Plant Week With A College…

Cost Farms kicks off 2014 Indoor Plant Week by sharing plants with college students amid song and dance.

Read More

October 7, 2014

Ohio State Horticulture Senior Receives Prestigious Shi…

Amy Miller, a senior majoring in horticulture at The Ohio State University, is the recipient of the 2014-15 Shinoda Scholar of the Year award.

Read More