Plant Materials Center update: January 20, 2022

Panoramic image of the plant cooler
Plant Cooler

Here are 5 things that you should know about the PMC for January 20, 2022:

Sales

As of December 31, 2021, sales were $1,419,444 and on December 31, 2020, sales were $928,706, which is a 35% increase from last year. The budgeted target for PMC plant sales for the entire fiscal year is $1,200,000 so sales have already exceeded budget by 15% and that number increases by the day.

Operating at this unprecedented volume involves a number of challenges including:

  • taking and processing orders,
  • invoicing for deposits,
  • determining when to ship,
  • harvesting and packing orders fast enough to meet shipping requests, arranging for shipping and pickups, and
  • final invoicing.

So far things are going okay but there’s a long way to go. Fortunately, we have an experienced  and dedicated team making it happen.

Harvest

As of January 20, 2022, the PMC has harvested 979,839 plants. 70,000 of those were live stakes harvested in the fall which means that over 900,000 plants have been harvested since the start of harvest on December 1st.  That is an average of 30,000 plants a day which puts harvest on schedule. Hopefully, there is no more time lost due to weather, pandemic, or anything else. By this time next week, we should be reporting that the PMC has lifted and processed over a million plants this season!

Shipping

As mentioned above, building orders for pickup or shipping is a bigger challenge than ever before due to the unprecedented volume. In the next week, over 100,000 plants will be leaving the PMC!

Photo of Jon Hagen filling a plant order
Jon Hagen

Jon Hagen is our warehouse person who puts together most of these orders. He has been doing this for four seasons now and it is very helpful to have the same person return season after season. Things would be much more challenging if there was a new person doing this.

Many orders are composed of 10 to 20 different inventory items which requires Jon to go into the cooler, find the correct items, open bags and get the required quantities, return the extras to the appropriate frame in the cooler, and go to the next. One upside of shipping so much early on is that it reduces the volume of plants in the cooler.

Weather

The snow has been gone for over two weeks and it is not missed. The rain is another story.  The ground is wet and muddy. Fortunately, there is a prediction of sunshine for at least the next six days which should allow us to bring in another 150,000 plants.

Of course, in an operation as diversified as the PMC, any factor such as the weather that is positive for some parts of the business can be detrimental to others. In this case, the warmer, sunnier weather forecast will help the ground to dry some but it may cause those species that leaf out early to initiate bud swell. The leaf buds will begin expanding and given enough time, will start to leaf out.  Usually, the weather turns cold and that process slows or stops.  In the meantime, many of these plants will be harvested and put in the cooler to ensure they remain dormant.  It is always something.

Operations

As noted above, harvest is going about as well as can be expected. Other operational aspects of the business are also going well. The equipment and facilities are functioning properly. The cooler is running as it should, the tractors and implements have not missed a beat, and best of all, the PMC has a new internet services provider that is working so much better than the last one.  Of course, all of that can change in a moment.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Jim Brown, WACD PMC Nursery Manager
https://wacdpmc.org/about-us