As a florist, you know the job involves more moving parts than meets the eye. Between assembling arrangements, responding to orders and packaging deliveries, you have to focus on a lot more than simply making sales. By using technology geared to meet the needs of your industry, getting a hold of these moving parts is more manageable than previously imagined.

If you got into the florist game because you love flowers, not administrative work, making use of the latest tools available should be on your to-do list. Through adoption of a platform for managing your floral business, you’ll be able to get back to doing what you love, and leave the administration in the hands of automation. So if you’ve been swamped by administrative tasks, orders, shipping and assembling arrangements, then it's time to consider accepting the helping hand of an ERP. Here’s a quick rundown of what florists need out of their business management software.

Customer Management

Customer management is time-consuming, with information tracking and customer engagement making up a large chunk of a florist’s administrative burdens. Through the use of a dedicated ERP platform, tracking client data, such as purchase histories, billing information and customer prefernces, is made easier than ever. These features allow florists to target clients from a position of strength, empowered by their knowledge of historical preferences.

The ERP platform should pool client information in a central location, and include data like known special occasions, prominent anniversaries and birthdays, so that clients can be contacted during periods of high purchase opportunity, or offered discounts to draw in their business. By making customer management easy, ERPs not only cuts down on time for administration, they also enable more effective marketing initiatives and better customer relations.

Point of Sale Capabilities

Whether a large-scale operation or a brick and mortar just starting to get its footing, having a POS system in place is essential to the effective operation of nearly any company with a store front; florists included. The POS system needs to be easy enough to learn quickly, but competent enough to effectively manage phone and walk-in orders. When a florist attempts the POS process manually it’s difficult to have an accurate understanding of which products are being sold to whom – the data simply isn’t available. Through the use of an ERP at the point of sale, businesses are able to generate significantly greater intelligence regarding their customers’ buying behaviour. Additionally, a POS system is mandatory if your company wants to accept credit card and debit payments.

Inventory Control

By using inventory management systems, florists gain greater control and visibility of their inventories. Since flowers count among the most perishable of stock items, florists recognize the need to have a comprehensive understanding of their inventory levels, acquisition dates and more. Because of the short shelf life and the seasonal nature of the floral market in most parts of the world, floral stock levels are constantly changing, making the process of managing them manually more painful than one might imagine. Through the inventory management capabilities of an ERP like the pbe3, florists are able to shift their focus away from micromanaging inventory line items.

Workflow Automation

Automation is an invaluable feature for florists looking to adopt an ERP. Business management solution platforms make it simple for florists by automating administrative work. ERP automation tracks and presents your data where it's needed, when it's needed. This automation should also augment your customer engagement, automatically keeping your customers informed on the status of an order, freeing you up to actually move the order through the pipeline.

Bookkeeping Automation

Imagine, if you will, an incredibly busy brick and mortar flower shop. Between walk in traffic, pen and paper orders and manual bookkeeping, the paperwork can be overwhelming. It seems unlikely that you got into the flower game because you were a fan of pencil pushing, bookkeeping, data entry and account balancing. No, it's more likely you took up floristry because flowers and arrangements are your passions. Using an ERP with a finance module, much of the headache of bookkeeping and account balancing is handled automatically.

Visibility Through Reports

The business intelligence of ERP offers florists the opportunity to eliminate a lot of the guesswork involved in the manual operation of their shops. Through the reports available in an effective ERP solution your company can make decisions with confidence, taking count of potential factors from all corners of your business, including outbound, inbound, inventory, accounting and more. Via a concise visual representation, ERP reports allow for extensive analysis of company performance indicators in a comprehensive, yet intuitive way. These reports serve to provide your organization with actionable information, which can be used to increase the productivity of your employees and increase operational efficiency.

Environmental Benefits

One would be remiss to overlook the environmental benefits of adopting an ERP for your business, especially if that ERP is operating from the cloud. Now,we’ve discussed the green cloud before, but a synopsis is that the adoption of a cloud-based platform presents businesses with the opportunity to cut down on their hydro bill and their carbon footprint by reducing waste and energy usage. ERP adoption also presents florists with the opportunity to cut down on paper dependence; an environmental concern often overlooked in a world focused on the potential harm of carbon emissions. Accordingly, the adoption of a cloud-based ERP offers a chance for business owners to help the planet, while simultaneously helping their business.