The Secret Life of Plants - Pick of the Pots
If you’ve read the previous articles in this series entitled
‘The Secret Life of Plants’ you’ll have seen that we covered taking cuttings
from Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote', which were then propagated and
later ‘potted up’ before being added to stock and deemed ready for sale.
Available stock and the locations where it is held are added
to and updated in our SAP database throughout the day, showing new items as
well as existing plants that have been ‘committed’ – allocated to an order placed
by a customer either with a member of the sales team or on the website.
There are occasions where the same stock may have been included
on different estimates by the sales team, and it’s not until the customer
places the order that those plants become ‘committed’. That means that stock
may become fully committed and previously quoted items may not be available
from our stock for when the next estimate is confirmed as an order – (this also
applies to baskets saved on our website as this does not commit stock. Stock
may sell out in between the saving of a basket and the checking out of the
order if there is more than 15 minutes between each process).
If this happens then the salesperson who supplied the estimate
will attempt to source replacement stock of the same variety and pot size from
another grower or offer a substitution with a similar item, varying perhaps in pot
size or a slightly different variety and contacting the customer so they can
confirm whether the suggested sub is acceptable (if this happens while
compiling an order on the website then an alternative stock item will need to
be added or you can contact the sales team independent of the web order and see
if we can source in the now out of stock item).
We will then establish whether the customer wishes to
collect their order or arrange for us to make a delivery.
We have a logistics planner within our SAP system; the sales
team member liaises with our Transport Controller to arrange a convenient shipping
date or to ask if a requested date is available. This too can be something of a
balancing act; our lorries need to be loaded and routed efficiently, so where
possible we group deliveries into postcode areas to minimise mileage and wasted
Once the collection/delivery date is agreed, this is logged
in our system. Two days prior to the collection/delivery date paperwork is
created for our operations team, who will then start the picking and packing
process on the day before the collection/delivery is due.
In the next instalment of The Secret Life of Plants we look
at how orders are loaded and delivered to our customers.