Pinkus: One other reason we’ve been able to control and monitor our sales so efficiently is that we’ve designed a software system specifically for our company. And we’re able to modify it as we move forward. Any time we have any changes in procedure we can modify that in the database of the software system.
There are a lot of greenhouses our size that aren’t mechanized, that don’t use any type of automation, whether it’s a potting machine or a computer system. I know our industry has been a little slower to rely on computers. We’re trying to have the computers become a valuable tool for us.
Q: Did you purchase the system or was it designed in house?
Pinkus: It is a system designed in house. My growers, salespeople, and production managers sat down with me and together we designed their corresponding system. My brother was a software engineer and he told me I needed to learn SQL and Visual Basic, so I sort of took it upon myself to do it.
When I first started taking on more responsibility here, we really needed a system that gave us more information. At Nortex we understand the value of information and I like to have as much of it as I can before making a decision.
It’s very valuable to us in running our business. It handles everything from production to shipping to inventory, purchasing, invoicing and planning. Just about anything we do here goes through our software system. It’s tailored specifically for us. We’ve been working on the system since 2004 and even today we are redesigning the production side of it, making it better every year.
Q: What advice would you have for other growers that are similar to Nortex, but who haven’t made the leap to invest in something like this?
Pinkus: Don’t underestimate the value of it. If they can’t build it themselves, there are some companies out there that do a really good job. There is a cost to it, but you really save a lot of money and waste because your ordering is more efficient. It saves a lot of money in sales and production and planning because you’re able to track what you’re doing. It makes a very big difference with production coordination.