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How to Create Great Relationships with Landscape Material Vendors (and Save a Ton of Aggravation)

Posted On Mar 26, 2019 7:01:00 AM By Nanette Seven, Vice President

landscaping-crew-plants-materials-1When it comes to your landscape business, efficiency is everything. You’re likely always looking for different ways that you can be more productive and efficient while reducing hold-ups and hassles that slow your business down. You may have refined everything from your routes to the way that you handle invoicing, constantly looking to be better.

While you may have looked at many areas of your business that you can improve, have you looked into the way that you handle inventory?

The truth is, many landscape business owners are still maintaining Excel spreadsheets and paper lists of landscape materials despite the fact that it’s an inefficient way of handling that aspect of your business. Not only can paper lists get misplaced or lost when they’re printed out and passed around but there are no guarantees that you’re working with the latest information.

If you’re ready to ditch the paper, then you might be thinking about how landscape inventory software can transform this area of your business.

The Benefits of Landscape Inventory Software

If you’re like a lot of landscape companies, when it comes time to choose plants and other materials that you need for upcoming landscape projects, then you might be using a mix of your vendors’ online catalogs as well as printed-out spreadsheets in which you’ve compiled information.  

Here are a few ways that using software can make the entire process easier.

Real-Time Updates

Include Landscape Inventory SoftwareMost likely, you have a preferred vendor that you always purchase material from. If that’s the case, then you may have a list of materials you need and its availability typed out on a spreadsheet. But the fact is, that material availability is constantly changing as items are sold.

However, with software, suppliers can provide you with the availability of their landscape materials which you can import into the catalog manager feature. That is going to update your sales team on exactly what materials are available and what their current pricing is. That can prevent you from having to call around to different vendors to constantly get new pricing and to check that materials are in stock.

That’s a huge time saver and in an industry where time is money, it’s a big deal.

Ease of Importing

The ease of importing that data is also important. A unique feature to Asset’s catalog manager is that it remembers a specific vendor’s spreadsheet. This will allow you to go through and just update current availability and pricing. Other systems do not allow for this.

The ease of importing is also so important. Instead of hand-keying information info the catalog manager, it can be seamlessly imported. Again, it’s a big time saver.

Developing Purchasing Power

There are reasons that you stick with the same material supplier again and again. They’ve become trustworthy and reliable and you appreciate that. You also recognize that the longer you use the same vendor, the more your purchasing power grows. They not only become your preferred supplier but you become one of their preferred customers, too.

Of course, with this relationship developing, it always helps to be able to look at purchase history and how much you have bought from this supplier over the years. Having that data and being able to use that leverage can be valuable in negotiating even more purchasing power over time. When you can tell a vendor (even if they suddenly have a new sales rep), that you’ve been purchasing with them since a specific date, and you can even talk about the details of past purchases, it gives you purchasing power.

Providing Shareable Information

Landscape Software Buyer's GuideUsing landscape inventory software also has the benefit of “getting information out of someone’s head.” How often has one of your salespeople had to ask someone else in the company a question about landscape materials that could have been answered on shared software?

Just “knowing” how much material is needed or what’s available is an old-school way of doing business. But with access to information right at your fingertips now available, it’s also fair to say that it’s outdated and inefficient. With software, important information regarding landscape materials can be shared between people within the company.

Beyond the Catalog: Tracking Inventory Once It’s Purchased

While the focus of this article is on purchasing materials in an efficient manner, it’s worth mentioning that landscape inventory software also has a powerful benefit of tracking your inventory once it’s been purchased.

This comes with its own set of valuable benefits. For instance, because you’ll always know (in real time) what’s available in the yard, you won’t over-purchase or buy items that you already have on hand. You’ll be able to be more efficient in using up materials before having to buy something new.

You can also set up the software to alert you when certain landscape materials are running low. This will ensure that there’s no downtime on projects and will keep you operating efficiently.

Knowledge is Power

Whether it’s related to purchasing landscape materials or keeping track of the ones that you already have, the fact is, knowledge is power. The more that you keep your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in your company, the leaner and more efficient that you’ll be able to operate.

You shouldn’t have to waste time constantly updating your supply lists when there’s a faster and easier way of doing business.

Real-time accurate information is the lifeblood of your landscaping business and can be the difference between being highly profitable or falling behind. When you’re able to have the latest information at the ready and keep it updated without a lot of added time or hassle, there’s no question that it will help make you a smarter-run business and that gives you a clear advantage over your competition.

If you want to find out more about how landscape inventory software can help you be even more efficient, let’s explore and see what Asset can do for you.

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Image Sources:  Live Green Landscape

Topics: Production & Operations, Technology, Accounting & Financial Reporting

Nanette Seven, Vice President

Written by Nanette Seven, Vice President

As a child, I was tasked with summer chores like weeding the rose garden, and helping to plant and harvest the vegetable garden. These childhood “chores” evolved into something I enjoyed. I have a passion for being outside, whether it is getting my hands dirty gardening, coaching and watching sports, or being on the Chesapeake Bay. Outdoors is where I would prefer to be. So, when the opportunity to work for a high-end residential design/build company presented itself, it seemed a good fit. I never imagined that almost 25 years later I would still be working in the landscape industry. I feel fortunate to have worked for Include for the past 20+ years. I wake up every day and do something that I truly enjoy, and with people I honestly like being around. I travel quite extensively to industry events to stay current on the changing needs of the landscape industry. Learning from our clients, consultants, and peers is also a focus of mine; I want to know what they need to help their businesses grow and thrive. This valuable information is used to help build and improve the software and services Include provides. I personally get great satisfaction knowing that what Include Software does as a team is unmatched in our industry. We provide leading edge software with top-notch customer service, and make a positive impact on people and their businesses every single day.