As a grower, how many times have you looked inside an empty truck and said, “Boy, I wish I could pack this thing from floor to ceiling.” In terms of logistics, it would be so much better for the bottom line.
If you could put your plants in convenient cardboard boxes that could stack neatly next to and on top of each other, your shipping problems would all be solved. But plants are living, breathing things. They just can’t be treated like they’re a box of widgets.
That’s why we’re looking forward to Practical Software Solutions’ own Greg Lafferty presenting “Shipping Air Costs Money: How Logistics Technology Can Help” during Cultivate’19 on Saturday, July 13 at 10:30 a.m. in Room A220. Instead of figuring out how to cram everything into a truck to get more bang for your buck, we will look at what technology can help your processes.
Horticulture Logistics is More Than Just Trucking
In a business sense, “logistics” tends to get focused solely on trucking. But it isn’t just the driver going to the stores on his route the best way possible. Logistics involves creating the best process to move your product from your greenhouse, onto trucks, into the stores, and into your end-customer’s hands.
Logistics is also how you put your products on your carts (or pallets) in the most efficient way possible. Logistics is also how you set up your carts (or pallets) to go onto your trucks. Logistics is also how to fill the truck so drivers don’t have to sort through everything to deliver the right product to the right store. Logistics is not only how to route your drivers correctly, but also how to make sure all driver and truck regulations are followed.
The funny thing is when we first started putting the presentation together, Greg and I both had a few double-takes when we were going through the logistics process. When we were mapping out horticulture logistics, there were a couple of times where we said, “wait, by definition, that’s logistics too,” or, “wait, there’s technology involved with that also.”
In our world, sometimes we get too focused on software as technology, and forget there are other technological things that can help during the logistics process. Because we had to map out the entire process, it dawned on us that we could talk about the whole spectrum of technology, both inside a computer and outside in the greenhouse.
It goes both ways too, because we’ve seen where the mechanical technology folks forget that having an integrated software package can help the machines not only talk to each other but also talk to the company’s front office to parse crucial data.
That goes back to a simplified definition of an ERP system: It’s a giant repository of data. The more you can have connected to that repository — and to each other — the better flow of data you have, and the less human interaction you need. And the more human interaction you have, whether it’s with your plants or with you data, the more chance you have for adding human error into the process.
In both senses (mechanical and software), having a more streamlined process is what improving logistics is trying to accomplish. And we hope to help to growers by showing them how technology can assist with this.
Doing the Math: A Great Companion Session at Cultivate’19
While I was on the Cultivate’19 website to grab the link to our logistics session, I found a great session called “Grower Math: Time and Space.” It’s going to take place immediately after “Shipping Air Costs Money” in the next room over, A221. Hosted by Ball Horticulture, this session will focus specifically on minimizing air on your benches.
Even though touch on space management in our session about overall logistics, Jim Kennedy and Will Healy will spend their entire hour focusing on this one piece of the logistics puzzle.
This is also a good time to mention the recently released Cultivate’19 app, available for both Android and Apple products. There’s some great improvements both on the app and on your computer’s browser, with a much more streamlined way of filling out an agenda for sessions and other events.
And speaking of other events, Cultivate is celebrating its 90th anniversary with a celebration on the trade show floor on Sunday, July 14 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The event will feature food, drinks and musical entertainment, and a much more relaxed atmosphere to visit with industry friends.
As always, we will be exhibiting Grower Vertical in Booth 3609 on the trade show floor. We hope you’ll come by the booth to have a chat, discuss our logistics session, or see what’s new with Grower Vertical.