For those smaller greenhouse growers who may have limited resources allocated for a software upgrade, it’s important to know where you should focus your attention. Experts from leading software companies offer their suggestions below.
Aaron Allison, SBI Software: Build your software up slowly, over time. Anything you can do to reduce your order fulfillment costs will help you grow your business. In your first year, perfect your order fulfillment. In two to three years, begin adding other components to your software. For instance, mobile apps don’t have to be a costly investment and will enable your team to drive the software. Make sure that all of the technology you add to your business works with your already-existing process. Once you start building up your software, incorporate online availability and orders, racking optimization, mobile pick and ship, value added, and dashboard reporting.
John Stallmer, Innovative Software Solutions: If you have completed a needs assessment, evaluate this list and determine your biggest leaks or pain points. Some of this can be based on hours spent, but don’t readily discard those that may not take the most time but rather create the most frustrations. Since labor is a major expense in this industry, I suggest spending money on tools that can help you to fully understand your workforce. The industry spends quite a bit of money on machinery, robotics, etc. With the right software solution, you can improve your efficiencies in as many, if not more, ways than you can with machinery. I am not saying machinery doesn’t have a high place in the space of increasing efficiencies, but would argue that software is not given enough recognition as to what it can also do.
Greg Lafferty, Practical Software Solutions: If you have a limited budget, you may want to look at streamlining your processes, which would improve your business without spending external resources. If there’s enough room in the budget, focus on updating software in areas that impact your relationship with your customers or their interactions with their customers. Your customers drive your business, so if there are areas that can improve the customer relationship, you probably should focus there.
Melissa Herbst, Velosio: Once growers start looking at technology, they start dreaming about all the problems they can fix. The result could be selecting a solution that is too big and expensive for the organization. Focus on what is core to your business, and what is most critical to support it running effectively. What is the critical information you need to have to make the right decisions for the business? Most modern solutions can scale to small growers and large.
The Eight Most Common Software Mistakes Growers Make
1. Overly complex setup of your software.
2. Lack of mobile tools. Mobile tools will help you avoid double entry with mobile inventory control. You will only have to enter the value once in the field.
3. Adopting a software system that makes your data entry too expensive.
4. Selecting a vendor simply by price, rather than confidence.
5. Insufficient allocation of resources.
6. Lack of involvement, direction, and support from senior management.
7. Converting too much needless historical data.
8. Leaping too quickly into customizations of the software where a business process change may yield better results. Sometimes it’s easier to change a process than to change the software.