The Keys To Long-Term Profitability

Jeff Warschauer

If I’d known, I might have done something else.

We’ve all said it. If I’d known the stock market would tank, I’d have bought gold. If I’d known summer would come in March, I’d have planted earlier. If I’d known spring would bring perfect weather, I’d have produced more.
None of us can know what will happen in the future, but we do know  something about today’s consumers: They’re looking for instant gratification. They want mature plants, vibrant colors, unique varieties and low maintenance. Today’s consumers are looking for sustainably grown herbs, edible ornamentals and native plants.

Will future consumers have the same demands? We can’t know, but we do know that the growers most likely to be successful are differentiated by three essential factors: They listen to the retailer and consumer, they have a flexible and efficient infrastructure and they have a top team to “grow” with.

A grower’s business depends on the right greenhouse to grow the right plants at the right time. But “right” isn’t static. Plant varieties and weather conditions change, putting different performance demands on the house and outdoor growing areas. Responding to those changing pressures requires a greenhouse that is quickly and effectively adaptable.

Consider a grower who holds a contract with a retail giant and builds a greenhouse specifically to grow finished plants that will satisfy that contract. The greenhouse and coverings were cheaper and faster to construct than some alternatives, and they made sense when there were only a few crops
sharing a single growing environment.

That greenhouse and those coverings were also inflexible. When the grower lost the retail giant’s contract, the limits of the greenhouse were
quickly apparent. Neither worked well for multiple customers who wanted a variety of propagation, prefinished and finished plants with different temperature, humidity, light and hardening-off needs. The grower can meet those diverse needs but quality may suffer – and profitability will certainly suffer.

Just as important as the physical structure of the greenhouse are the internal systems and equipment that support – or inhibit – growing and business agility. Some examples are coverings, ventilation options, heating, cooling, environmental controls, watering systems and material handling.

Make Your Business Agile

Agility is what sets a business apart, especially as the economy shifts and twists with ever-increasing speed. Becoming an agile organization means
incorporating it into the way a company looks at itself, its market and its future.

This isn’t something we just talk about. It’s something we practice. Later this year, Nexus will be opening a new manufacturing facility in Pana, Ill. From the earliest stages, we committed to building a facility that could meet today’s needs efficiently but incorporate enough flexibility to meet needs we couldn’t yet anticipate.

The new design has two production lines, one for aluminum greenhouses and retail bench production and the second for steel utility and greenhouse structures. Either production line can be adapted to double the production capacity of an individual line. Walls enclosing the steel welding area are framed to allow easy removal. The material flow inside the facility has been designed for maximum efficiency, from inventory to finished product. With the additional space and equipment, we can triple our capacity – but we aren’t “paying for” that expansion until it is necessary.

The agility and flexibility built into our facility are the same characteristics we see in successful growing operations. Today’s progressive grower has many
options to meet the dual objectives of immediate efficiency and long-term flexibility.

Glass or other high-light glazing systems provide maximum light while open-roof vent options allow maximum ventilation and cooling. Multiple shade and energy curtain systems provide the broadest environmental control, and new technology for side and end-wall ventilation make them more efficient than ever.

Leave a Reply

More From Grow Initiative...
Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Arizona Apricot'

February 25, 2015

National Garden Bureau Designates 2015 As Year Of The Gaillardia

Gaillardia, also known as the blanket flower, is a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and a long-blooming pollinator plant. It is fitting that the National Garden Bureau has specified 2015 as The Year of the Gaillardia.

Read More
IPPS Sharing Plant Production Knowledge Globally Logo

February 25, 2015

International Plant Propagators Western Region Sets Annual Meeting Date

The annual meet for the International Plant Propagators' Society (IPPS) Western Region has been set for this September. It will take place September 23 to 26 in Modesto, Calif., and will include learning sessions, tours to local nurseries, a research poster display and poster presentations, various networking opportunities and an awards banquet to close the event.

Read More
Evolvulus Blue My Mind

February 24, 2015

Blue Ribbon Bloomers For Greenhouse Production

Grow what consumers want! Surveys show that blue is one of the top preferred colors of today’s consumers. Here are twelve top recommended blue-flowering Proven Winners annuals and perennials to suit your spring production cycle.

Read More
Latest Stories

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
GROW Logo

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
GROW Logo

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

September 2, 2014

Svensson Film Raises Awareness of Global Production Cha…

Anders Ludvigson, Svensson’s executive vice president, is on a mission to raise awareness of the challenge growers have producing more food using fewer resources. To start, he set out with a film crew to explore some of the climates where commercial greenhouse growers use the company’s products.

Read More

September 2, 2014

Six Lessons Learned From LeBron’s Decision 2.0

Die-hard Cavaliers fan and Cleveland native Bill Calkins explains how the headline-making decision LeBron James’ made to leave the Miami Heat and play in his hometown relates to your business.

Read More