Not long after Culitvate14 in July, Laura Drotleff, the editor of Greenhouse Grower Magazine, gave Greg Lafferty a call. It was hard for them to meet up during the trade show; but true to her word, Laura was interested in what Practical Software Solutions was doing for the horticulture industry, and followed up with Greg.
It’s always great when we can speak to the media about what we’re doing to help the horticulture industry. In the past, the conversation has been about how we created Grower Vertical for Sage ERP with the help of some of the biggest names in the industry. As Grower Vertical has matured, our customers have helped us develop some add-ons that have made Grower Vertical even more impressive.
Although Greg helped Laura and the staff or Greenhouse Grower define Precision Horticulture during that phone call, Laura was very interested in what he had to say about human resources problems that we know are burdening the horticulture industry. During Cultivate’14, we put a spotlight on human resources technology in the Innovation Zone.
For many years, we’ve been a reseller of Sage HRMS, so we’ve always had an eye on human resources. But as we’ve gotten more embedded in the horticulture industry, we began to realize just how much the horticulture industry lagged behind in staying compliant with their human resources.
There have been reasons for this, including a tendency to run their operations as the generations before had (specifically when they were much smaller businesses and there was less government regulation). Because of so much upheaval in the past 15 years or so (terrorist attacks and horrific recessions causing a greater focus on illegal immigration), staying compliant with human resources has become a necessity, not a luxury. All it takes is one government audit, and it could mean devastating penalties that can cripple a business.
On top of all that, provisions in the Affordable Care Act could throw a wrench into many greenhouse operations. Soon, any company with 50 full-time employees, or companies that have a combination of employees that would equal 50 full-time staff members, could be forced to comply with the law.
Laura was so impressed by our knowledge and concern for the industry that she asked Greg to write a commentary for their GROW Perspective series. Greg took up the mantle with gusto, and wrote a great piece about HR compliance, likening it to being the lookout in a ship’s crow’s nest, warning the industry of the rocks ahead:
One thing I see on the horizon is the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In the past, leaders in the horticultural industry have dealt with human resources issues like tracking immigration status or handling workers’ compensation claims. The ACA is different. It is not as simple as completing a few forms or filing a quarterly report. It is not just about health care. It is a monster floating below the surface of the compliance sea.
It didn’t take long for us to get feedback on the article, especially from our own customers. As soon as the publication was sent out, we received messages ranging from, “Saw your article, great stuff!” to others e-mailing back with more gravitas, agreeing that this was a major concern in the industry and something had to be done.
This problem can’t be wished or hoped away. We urge every horticulture company out there to see what you can do to help make sure you’re in compliance.