Early Order Discount Programs Can Save Growers 1 To 5 Percent On Young Plant Orders

Dennis Crum is Greenhouse Grower's 2013 Head Grower Of The Year.Each year, growers are faced with the decision of when to place their orders for the upcoming spring production season. Unfortunately, for numerous reasons, these orders are often placed quite late, which can result in a number of unintended challenges.

At Four Star Greenhouse, we are both a young plant and finished product supplier, so we struggle with this issue both from a supplier’s and grower’s perspective. As a grower, timeliness in production planning, as well as early ordering, helps us maintain a smooth transition between growing seasons. But when is the most cost effective, efficient and accurate time to order? And why are so many orders placed late?

Why You Might Be Waiting
One situation growers often face is a delay in receiving orders from their established customer base. With the ever-changing retail environment, accuracy in inventory management and sell-through is critical for future success. However, undue delays in order placement caused by retailers or through a grower’s own procrastination can increase costs, as well as stress levels. In many cases, this situation also leads to supplier shortages or unwanted substitutions.

So honestly, why do so many orders get entered late each year? Ordering season normally begins at or immediately after OFA Short Course. By mid-July or early August, both retailers and growers should have time to review the past spring while the season is still fresh in their minds. We try to follow this schedule and strive to have our finished plans completed and plants booked by September 1st. Hard goods orders are placed shortly after, if not before.

The bulk of poinsettias are planted by early August and spring hard goods shows for retailers are winding down by late August. So again, why the delay? The recurring response normally given is, “I’m waiting to hear from my last one or two customers.” A fitting quote that addresses this situation is, “The man who insists on seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides.”

Make Plans And Order Early
Growers can realize certain advantages by placing spring production orders by mid-fall. Most products, including rooted and unrooted cuttings, soil and containers, are offered under various Early Order Discount (EOD) programs. In these days of shrinking margins, why ignore a “gift” of 1 to 5 percent?

Many products, such as custom containers or offshore manufactured items, require an ordering lead time of six to eight weeks or more. Nothing is more stressful or embarrassing than receiving cuttings with no containers to plant them in.

In many cases, a cutting supplier’s final opportunity to adjust production possibilities is mid-October to November 1. Many EODs are wisely based on these dates and are done so to supply accurate order fulfillment. Orders placed after such dates are subject to projected availability and risk the possibility of unwanted substitutions or unfulfilled orders.

Growers’ Ordering Delays Cause Problems For Others
Suppliers, broker salesmen, growers and retailers need to better understand and respect each other’s needs and timelines. Each should uphold their individual responsibilities to best ensure the success of the entire group. Flexibility is a segment of good customer service, but constantly asking others to take unnecessary risks merely sets up the group for long-term failure.
Don’t be an 11th-hour procrastinator. Reap the benefits of timely planning and enjoy a good night’s sleep.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Early Order Discount Programs Can Save Growers 1 To 5 Percent On Young Plant Orders

  1. Dennis makes some excellent points…

    FYI Rakers’ EOD is 10% and all one needs to do is order 12 weeks prior to the requested ship date.

    Any week, all year…just ‘Ask for Raker’

More From Finance/Operations...
Laura Drotleff

January 19, 2018

Greenhouse Industry’s Positive Momentum Looks Like it Will Carry Into 2018

Results from Greenhouse Grower's 2018 State of the Industry survey show that growers increased profits in 2017 by raising prices and paying more attention to their operational costs.

Read More
Max-Luthy-TPIE-keynote

January 18, 2018

TPIE Keynote Maxwell Luthy Turns Trends Into Opportunities

Maxwell Luthy, Director of Trends & Insights for TrendWatching, showed how to turn trends into business prospects for attendees of the 2018 Tropical Plant International Expo keynote address.

Read More

January 16, 2018

AmericanHort Partnering with MPS on Sustainability Certification

The alliance with MPS is designed to promote and expand best practices in the area of environmental sustainability, enabling the entire industry to perform better.

Read More
Latest Stories

January 15, 2018

Missouri Greenhouse Grower John Tomasovic Dies

The patriarch of Tomasovic Greenhouses & Nursery, Inc. in Des Peres, MO, was a legend in the plant industry, and widely involved in many associations.

Read More

January 15, 2018

Perennials Icon Louis Stacy Dies

The founder of the former Stacy's Greenhouses in York, SC, passed away on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.

Read More
Charlie Hall Feature Image

January 9, 2018

AmericanHort Launches New Video Series on Profit Margin…

This week, AmericanHort is kicking off a four-part video series that offers perspectives on managing profit margins from AmericanHort’s Chief Economist, Dr. Charlie Hall.

Read More
Tax-Money

January 9, 2018

What You Need to Know About the New Tax Bill

The United Fresh Produce Association, which represents the needs and interests of fruit and vegetable growers, recently updated its members on how the recent passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act might affect their businesses. Many of the insights provided by United Fresh also apply to greenhouse growers and nurseries.

Read More
Doug Cole, Owner of D.S. Cole Growers

January 4, 2018

D.S. Cole Growers Blazes Its Own Path to Growth

Known for its commitment to sustainability and innovation, this grower is one of the pioneering trailblazers changing the way horticulture does business.

Read More

December 31, 2017

Ag Exemption for New Trucking Regulation Still Under Re…

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s trucking electronic logging device mandate, which took effect on December 18, includes an Hours of Service exemption that may or may not apply to greenhouses and nurseries.

Read More
Tillandsia Air Plants (Plantiflor)

December 15, 2017

Bonsall Nursery Devastated By California Wildfire

Rainforest Flora lost its main greenhouses and outdoor growing property in the Lilac Fire in San Diego.

Read More

December 9, 2017

Southern California Wildfires Narrowly Miss Most Grower…

Here’s an update on horticulture businesses in the areas affected by the California wildfires.

Read More

December 5, 2017

Skagit Horticulture Builds New, Inclusive Business With…

By merging two large-scale producers, Skagit Gardens and Northwest Horticulture, the new company has realized its strengths through focused divisions that emphasize efficiency and success.

Read More

December 4, 2017

Raker-Roberta’s Young Plants Debuts as Roberta’s Finali…

On December 1, Eric Wallien of Roberta’s Inc. in Waldron, IN, officially purchased C. Raker & Sons in Litchfield, MI. The new identity of the company is now Raker-Roberta’s Young Plants, according to a Dec. 1 letter to Raker’s customers, suppliers, and business partners from Vice President Susie Raker-Zimmerman. “There have been minimal changes in management and we will be providing the same products and services on which we have built our reputation in the industry,” Raker-Zimmerman said in the letter, which also announced the name change and new logo. The sale of C. Raker & Sons was announced in September . A series of events affecting Raker’s financial situation caused the need for the operation to find an alternate solution. Roberta’s had been a customer of Raker’s since 2011, and the fourth generation, family owned grower-retailer was a fan of Raker’s commitment to quality. The agreement to purchase C. […]

Read More

October 10, 2017

Sharpen Your Skills in Cost Management and Profitabilit…

The University of Florida is offering a new online course on costing and profitability. The course will take growers through the process of how to accurately evaluate cost of production, labor efficiency, pricing, and equipment investment decisions.

Read More
Willoway Nurseries Team

October 1, 2017

How Willoway Nurseries Gets Its Staff Engaged in The Co…

Willoway Nurseries in Avon, OH, is creating a culture with people who think, act, and feel like owners. Learn how its team is taking the business to the next level.

Read More

September 21, 2017

Horticulture Is All About Connections

The beauty of our industry is that we are more than willing to reach out and help those around us. What connections can you make today to help your business, and what can you offer to help another grower?

Read More
Worker taking cuttings at Vivero Internacional.

September 11, 2017

Vivero Internacional Elevates Clean Cuttings to New Hei…

One of the last independent cutting operations, this fast-growing company raises the standard for delivering clean, high-quality unrooted cuttings.

Read More
Selecta Sponsor bed at Raker trial gardens

September 5, 2017

C. Raker & Sons Acquired By Roberta’s Unique Garden…

Ownership will change hands in December, and Raker will supply young plants for the 2018 season. Beyond that, leadership of the two operations say they are excited to move forward with a partnership that will continue to supply the industry, and gardeners, with top-quality plants.

Read More

August 1, 2017

MPS Honors D.S. Cole Growers for 10 Years of Sustainabi…

At Cultivate’17, a ceremony to mark a 10-year milestone since D.S. Cole Growers became involved with More Profitable Sustainability (MPS), as the first U.S. grower to achieve MPS certification, took owner Doug Cole by surprise. Separate celebrations also recognized Metrolina Greenhouses and Dümmen Orange for achieving MPS certification.

Read More
Nexus greenhouse construction for Knox Cannabis Facility

July 27, 2017

Ornamental Growers Will Revolutionize Cannabis Industry…

Professional growers have much to offer the emerging cannabis market, according to the co-owner of Knox Medical, one of the licensed cannabis producers in Florida.

Read More
Ball ColorLink logo

July 11, 2017

Get Guidance on Running Your Business from Ball ColorLi…

Representatives from Ball ColorLink will be on-hand at Cultivate’17 to answer questions and present business-building tools and industry insights to growers.

Read More