Like in most industries, timely, accurate inventory control data is critical to the success of businesses involved in growing live plants. In this case, the need for both speed and accuracy was magnified by the nature of the product; flowers. Too many, too soon, and the blooms are lost. Not only did they need to know how many plants were sown, they needed to know the percentage that survived the entire growing process.
Current Directions created this inventory system to be both high in speed and accuracy, and compatible with the customer's existing Novell server infrastructure. Data was collected in the greenhouse from Intermec Janus 2010 hand-held computers equiped with Intermec 1519 laser scanners. The data was directed into their existing system by our custom-developed PC based software.
All the plant trays are now assigned a unique bar-coded serial number that tracks the type of plant, sow date, and job number. This information is then linked to the soil type, seed vendor, and the vendor batch or lot number. When a percent of yield physical inventory is needed, the jobs for the date to be checked are downloaded from the network to the PC in the sowing manager's office, and then onto the Janus hand-held computers. Employees take the scanners out to the greenhouses and scan the trays involved. The dead plant counts are entered into the hand-held. They then count the number of trays, and enter that count and any problem codes. Once all the requested inventories are done the Januses are returned to the office, placed into the docks that connect to the PC, and the information is uploaded. The program converts the raw data into percent of yield figures. The yield reports can be printed immediately at this station, as well as from any station on the network.
After all the living plants are consolidated onto trays, a second inventory of trays is performed the same way. This gives the actual available physical inventory by tray.
The company now has a system that supplies them with both the percent of yield and physical inventory in a fast, accurate fashion. There is no potential damage to the delicate plantings in the process. Additionally, they now have a record of any growing problems, whether from seed stock, soil, or other factors. Their seed purchases and planting processes can be adjusted accordingly, and growth timed more tightly to match customer requirements.