Find out how landscape inventory software can help better track materials.Operations is often the first place where owners or accounting departments look when profits aren’t hitting the mark. The big question is whether inventory is being managed properly and without waste. But it is an overwhelming task to keep track of hundreds or thousands of plants, yards packed with skids of hardscape materials, multiple piles of mulch and stone, and even warehouses full of materials.

Attempting to track those materials with spreadsheets and paperwork is exhausting and prone to error. That can lead to frustrated crews who can’t find the materials they need and may require them taking unplanned trips to pick up supplies. But it’s not only productivity that can take a hit. Selling is much less effective when there’s not an accurate record of available supplies for any given job.

Landscape inventory software is the key to a more efficient operation in which all facets of the business interact seamlessly and run smoothly. But a lot of businesses are still doing things the old-school way. Let’s take a look at how landscape inventory analysis is typically handled and why that can lead to problems.

Landscape Inventory Analysis

There are a lot of companies dealing with inventory problems but some don’t even realize it. They don’t recognize the fact that things could be running a lot more efficiently. Or, sometimes they don’t recognize a problem because they don’t think they have inventory. A lot of companies tell us that they “don’t keep inventory.” But any time you’re purchasing bulk material like salt, mulch, or fertilizer, you’re ultimately storing it. Whether it’s a little or a lot, at the end of the day any stored material is inventory.  

Find out how landscape inventory software can help better track materials.The truth is, even storing just several materials can quickly lead to profit loss without a smart and efficient landscape inventory analysis method. That’s because there is no great way to keep an accurate dollar amount of what’s left when you’re just using a spreadsheet or a whiteboard.

Spreadsheets and whiteboards are definitely the most common way we see landscape businesses track inventory (when they don’t have landscape inventory software). But these tools are easy to forget to update. Paperwork can get shuffled around and lost and whiteboards can get accidentally erased. Plus, that information is not available anywhere and everywhere so crews still have to call into the office to get updated information on material availability if they need that information on-the-go.

While there are some inventory-specific software applications out there, this is also not the most efficient way to perform landscape inventory analysis. Because it’s not tied to any system, a stand-alone inventory program doesn’t communicate with multiple departments and may not even provide mobile access. This kind of stand-alone application also requires duplicate data entry which is a productivity killer.

The Benefits of Landscape Inventory Software

With landscape inventory software that is part of a larger landscape operations software program, material being stored is entered into the system when it arrives. That allows you to track exactly what is there and how much it’s worth. As crews bring material to job sites, they will log the materials they’ve used so that you always know exactly what’s in stock and what needs to be reordered.

Using software obviously makes operations go more smoothly, but the benefits don’t end there. Let’s take a look at some of the other important ways in which landscape inventory software can boost your profits and reduce aggravation on a company-wide basis.

Sales Benefits

Find out how the benefits of how landscape inventory software can help better track materials.With landscape inventory software helping you keep accurate and up-to-date information, the salespeople can now sell jobs faster knowing what materials are available in the yard. While estimating a job cost they can see the availability of what’s already there and what will help get the job done quicker. They can always be sure to specify material that is already on hand and get accurate proposals out the door in a quick and efficient manner.

Purchasing Benefits

The landscape software system can also be setup to automatically notify the purchasing person when they have to re-order materials because levels are low. That means they no longer have to leave the office to go check on a mulch pile. The system will automatically let them know when it’s time. That also eliminates the human error that is highly likely when the purchasing person gets busy and forgets to physically check up on material needs.

Warranty Benefits

Tracking material is also incredibly important for warranty purposes. When you know exactly whom you’ve purchased from, you can take advantage of warranties. Say you have a bunch of plant material that winds up getting a disease within the warranty period. So often landscape companies have to eat that cost because they aren’t sure which vendor it came from. With landscape inventory software you can track all of that data- from dates to vendor records.

This applies to pesticides as well. In 2011, when DuPont’s Imprelis herbicide was killing evergreens and many landscape contractors were in hot water, we had one client that was using our system and with it was able to know exactly which properties he had used the chemical on. This allowed him to file an insurance claim and have all of the trees replaced- which equated to almost a million dollars in material. All pesticides have serial numbers associated with them but if you’re not utilizing landscape inventory software, how are you tracking them?

Tracking Parts and Equipment

In addition to tracking material, you can also use landscape inventory software to track parts and equipment. Irrigation contractors, for instance, often go to a job site with a lot of parts on hand. If you make your vehicles an “inventory location,” you can track all of the parts that are in that truck.

If a part comes off the truck, it gets inventoried, gets expensed to the job, and you have record of it at all times. That’s obviously helpful in invoicing jobs and remembering to account for all parts. But it’s also helpful in ensuring that your crews have exactly what they need so they’re not taking unnecessary trips back to the shop. And it’s a great record to have on hand if a vehicle theft were to occur.

Landscape Inventory Software is a Game Changer

Implementing landscape business software with an inventory component can help keep all parts of the business operating smoothly. Inventory problems have the ability to become a kink in one of many different departments or areas of business but with landscape inventory software, you’ll ensure operations continue to flow.

Plenty of landscape companies have already found that landscape inventory software is improving operations. For many, solving inventory woes has been the underlying key to boosting profitability and reducing aggravation.

If you’re ready to find out more about how landscape inventory software can help your operations run more smoothly, request a free demo from Include Software or call us at 800-475-0311 so that we can answer your questions.

 Landscaping Operations Tips


Image above courtesy of Level Green Landscaping

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