Grower Vertical Enterprise Software Is Used By Growers Of All Sizes, Including Young Plant And Contract Growers

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At Metrolina Greenhouses, a handheld scanner reads the bar code on each cart, along with the UPC for each unique item on each cart shelf. Once the items are scanned, a label is printed with a barcoded list of the items and quantities on the cart.   Photo by Amanda Tomaini, Practical Software Solutions

At Metrolina Greenhouses, a handheld scanner reads the bar code on each cart, along with the UPC for each unique item on each cart shelf. Once the items are scanned, a label is printed with a barcoded list of the items and quantities on the cart.
Photo by Amanda Tomaini, Practical Software Solutions

If your standard, off-the-shelf accounting software program and Excel inventory sheets just aren’t cutting it anymore, maybe it’s time to look at a computer software program developed for commercial growers. Here are some software programs designed to handle the variables and intricacies that are unique to commercial growers’ businesses.

Grower Vertical

Practical Software Solutions offers Grower Vertical for Sage ERP, a full business system management tool that takes into account production, inventory, shipping, accounting and sales integrated into one system.

“It is considered an enterprise application system as opposed to a hodgepodge of different programs for accounting, production, inventory, etc.,” says senior sales executive Greg Lafferty. “It is a commercially available off-the-shelf package produced by a company called Sage. We have taken this package, which we have sold for 10 years to traditional manufacturers and distributors, and tailored it to fit the needs of commercial greenhouse operations. We have tweaked that package to take into account the nuances of greenhouse growers, including changes in production cycles and shipping depending on the season.”

Lafferty says growers who are serving the big box retailers need to have the type of software program that can handle that level of transactions to ensure all processes are running smoothly.

“If a grower was running a 1-acre greenhouse, he could probably run that on Excel spread sheets and QuickBooks and be fine,” he says. “That size grower probably doesn’t need the horsepower of an enterprise software program.”

Lafferty says there are growers using the software who don’t sell to the big box stores.

“We have several growers who are young plant growers,” he says. “They’re selling to other growers who are selling to the big box stores or selling to garden centers. This program offers flexibility enabling us to service finished growers, contract growers, vegetable growers and citrus growers.”

Change In Philosophy

Lafferty says one of the biggest changes that he has witnessed over the last few years is that growers are having a change in philosophy looking at their businesses more as manufacturers than as farmers. Part of this change has resulted in growers working to get a better handle on their inventory of raw materials and finished product.

Another area that his company has worked with growers on is shipping reliability and customer satisfaction rating.

“Our customers who sell to Lowe’s, Walmart and The Home Depot get feedback based on their performance,” he says. “Some of the growers have gone from an 80 percent reliability indicator to 99 percent reliability. That’s a huge savings from a charge back standpoint based on scan by cart. This software program not only allows growers to ship better, but to also forecast better.”

Visit Practical Software Solutions to learn more and to see grower testimonials.

David Kuack (dkuack@gmail.com) is a freelance technical writer in Fort Worth, Texas.
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