Garden supply sector better prepared to meet this year’s heightened demand

Posted on May 05, 2021 | Atlantic Business Magazine | 0 Comments

After seed and garden suppliers were overwhelmed by orders in 2020, there’s been high demand again this year. But companies in Atlantic Canada say they’re now better positioned to keep up.

Halifax Seed Company co-owner Emily Tregunno said the 2020 jump really hit around mid-March in North America, with unprecedented online orders for seeds and seed-starting supplies. The company, established in 1866, serves both individual retail and wholesale demands, and she said the shift was noticeable on both fronts.

Halifax Seed opted to shut down its online service for a time during the 2020 spring peak and put a hold on requests in order to fulfill orders already in. Planned website upgrades were paused during the rush but have since been completed. Halifax Seed’s website is now directly linked to the company’s internal enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, offering a bird’s eye view as orders are coming in.

The website wasn’t the only piece of behind-the-scenes work that’s helping with this year’s robust demand. “Everything from printing an order, picking an order to the back-end accounting, we’ve automated a lot of steps. We’ve become much more efficient,” Tregunno said.

The company added staff, but perhaps more importantly also moved some individuals, taking warehouse/storage people who were skilled at quickly identifying and locating specific seeds, bulbs and supplies and repurposing them for order fulfillment in retail storage areas or the wholesale distribution centre in Debert, Nova Scotia. Others were dedicated to customer service and frontline retail locations in Halifax and Saint John.

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