Thursday, September 6, 2012

Challenges faced by nurseries

Challenges faced by nurseries

In the normal flow, nurseries purchase vast amounts of seed from seed manufacturers, sow and raise inventory, and ultimately sell their end-products to customers, landscapers, gardeners, etc. Amazingly enough, the seed industry largely remains one that conducts transactions by relying on estimated weights rather than exact numbers.
When someone places an order with a seed manufacturer, many of them will include a certain percentage of overage to ensure meeting the number specified in the order. Nurseries are largely left to trust the seed packaging process and either do not check what they receive, or check with the same inaccurate method.
Finally, if the nursery does discover a problem, typically it is during the sowing stage or after a long delay, during which the seeds were in storage.Returning to the seed manufacturer may not be possible, and even if it is,there is no guarantee that sufficient seed will be available to counter any problem in the original delivery.

Industry requirementsNurseries are tasked with processing thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of seeds each season. Any solution that would involve verifying the exact number of seeds received from seed manufacturers would need to be:

  • Extremely accurate
  • Cost-effective
  • Fast and easy-to-integrate
  • Scalable to accurately count large and small quantities of seeds
Estimated Weight versus Exact CountFollowing are examples of some of the issues faced by nurseries that may arise as a result of receiving seeds based on estimated weights, as is currently very common in the industry.
65%- 85% of the plant’s selling price is typically based on the price paid for the seed. This means that the more accurate the seed control process is, the higher the increase in profitability. The economic risk to a nursery is very high. Like many businesses, the nursery must balance stock on hand against possible orders.
Unlike businesses that sell non-perishable items, a nursery carries additional risks and therefore must be even more diligent to keep minimal stock on hand while still finding a way to be ready to process any order that is received. Only by having an accurate accounting can a nursery maximize its profits and reach this goal.

Using the seed overage effectively

As previously explained, many seed manufacturers package and sell their product based on an estimated weight rather than an actual count. To offset the possibility of not supplying at least the amount ordered, some seed manufacturers add an additional percentage.
On the nursery side, the inventory is run based on the ordered amount and not the actual number delivered. This overage is not used effectively to against future orders. By counting the seeds when they arrive, the inventory can be adjusted to an actual number and the nursery can take advantage of this extra profit margin. Future orders can be lower because they will be based on the actual seeds on hand, rather than based on an estimation.

Taking seeds from stock for sowing

When preparing seeds for sowing, it is more efficient to properly count the number of seeds you wish to sow rather than working with a whole package and then bringing back unused seeds. This is nearly impossible to accomplish when working with estimations based on weight and very simple and cost-effective when working with a solution that counts small and large quantities of seeds quickly and precisely.

Efficiency of the sowing process

When you transfer seeds in exact numbers to the sowing department, you can track the efficiency of the sowing process. For example, if the sowing machine is not calibrated properly, it can sow more than one seed in each hole. Knowing the exact number of seeds you had at the start will help you to easily track this process and determine if there is any problem in the sowing process (or if the problem was not having received the proper number ofseeds to begin with).

Receiving seeds from the seeds supplier

Receiving seeds from growers

When seeds are received from growers, the seeds usually are not packaged in their original bags. If you want to know how many seeds are actually in these bags, the most cost-effective technology will enable you to count the seeds using a method that reflects the actual number of seeds.

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