As a nursery owner and/or manager, you try to increase your nursery production and improve your work efficiency because it means more revenue for your company. We all struggle trying to find improvements and efficiencies, trying to find out where to start.
Generally, other production managers tend to:
- believe that they are doing better than others, thus, do not attempt to improve their nursery’s work efficiency further;
- accept that they are unproductive and are trying to find out how they can improve; or
- attempt to improve but do not know the efficiency level of their nursery.
As the plant handling process is very important to a nursery operation, managers must find some effective ways to improve the shifting and moving of potted product. Choosing the appropriate nursery equipment can have a major impact on your nursery’s productivity.
Nursery equipment like horticultural self-tracking trailers can be a good long term investment for nursery business owners and managers. Below are some ways on how nursery trailers can improve your production and work efficiency.
Handling procedures are organised and fast
There was research conducted by HRDC in 2000. Potted plants were delivered to the growing area using trailers (35 trays per trailer, each trailer holding 12 x 140 mm dia. pots. The trailers were parked near the growing bay and transported to the growing area.
Different methods of plant handling were used. These are:
Method 1: use trailer with 4 trays per trip
Method 2: carry 1 tray per trip
Method 3: carry 6 pots per trip
Method 4: use trailer with 8 trays per trip (proposed method)
Consequently, the research found out that:
“the overall time of shifting pots from the trailer to the growing bay can be reduced if the method of potted plant handling changes as the distance required to carry the potted plants also changes”.
Based on the case study above, the method of moving plant pots depends on the distance the pots need to be shifted. As the distance to the destination increases, the need for a horticultural self-tracking trailer is needed, to maintain or increase the production rate of your nursery.
Reduce labour cost
On the one hand, staff wages is one of the biggest costs in your nursery. Nursery business owners and managers should be motivated to look for ways to reduce the labour cost by decreasing staff times spent working on mundane repetitive tasks.
Workers’ comfort and safety in their workplace should be another consideration. Tedious jobs such as moving pots from growing area to the delivery area can cause stress, back fatigue and injuries. Staff should be provided with the useful equipment to minimise this injury risk which then reduces the exorbitant ongoing cost of worker’s compensation.
Work performance of nursery staff is largely affected by whether the material handling process is optimised. For instance, tall or bushy plants in small pots require extra care when being handled. Moving large pots tends to be more time-consuming requiring more staff than other potted plants.
Utilising nursery equipment such as horticultural trailers is one of the best ways to reduce labour cost and increase your nursery production, mainly because the repetitive tasks can be eliminated, handling time is sped up and the risk of staff injuries (e.g. back injuries) reduced and minimised.
Speed up dispatch process
It is cost effective to gather and prepare plants in a centralised designated location. As nursery workers move potted plants from propagation area, to potting shed, to growing areas than back to dispatch, nursery self tracking trailers have historically proved to be very handy and efficient. Just by putting a second deck on your trailer you can half your transport time.
If you can deliver more plants in a day, you can potentially make more sales. Nursery trailers can speed up the dispatch procedure and minimise the risk of damage to the plants for delivery.
Protects plants when transporting
Plants are exposed to series of stresses or pressures when moving from the growing area to the shipping dock and onto retailers or customers. As plant stress increases, the plants’ quality and presentation is affected.
Any damage to plants is a loss for your business. Plants should be transported to your customers with care. Protected from the wind and packaged on transport trolleys or appropriate pallets. Plants must be shipped in a stable and safe transport environment.
A nursery trailer can be used to maintain the quality of the plants in the early stages of this processs. Equipment like nursery "plant transport trailers" can protect the potted plant from weather, wind, dirt and other interferences when transporting many plants.
Using the right horticultural trailers can greatly improve your nursery operation. Trailers can increase your nursery’s production and work efficiency. Thus, trailers can help your business become more proffessional, growing and increasing your nursery sales.
A wide range of nursery trailers are available now at C-Mac. Feel free to check them out and hopefully you can find the most suitable horticultural trailer for your application within your nursery.