Boost Your Bottom Line: Analyzing KPIs for Successful Plant Shipments to Garden Centers

For plant nursery owners, this is the time of year to analyze how your shipments to garden centers have turned out so far. Determining your KPIs will help you understand how successful your shipping strategy was for this year as well as provide indicators on how you need to adjust for next year. This is especially relevant if you’re shipping ‘dry’ because the weather throughout the Midwest can turn on a dime with temperatures fluctuating wildly and wreak havoc on the plants you worked so hard to get to your customers. The risks of extreme cold or warm temperatures are amplified within the trailer, which make it even more important to ‘get it right.’

One metric that nurseries must analyze is the survival rate of their plants arriving at the garden center. It’s a vital metric since it directly impacts your bottom line. If your plants are arriving in poor condition or not surviving due to your transportation provider, this will result in lost sales and damage to your reputation. If you’re able to boost the survival rate of your plants, there is a much greater likelihood that you’ll receive repeat business from satisfied customers. While every business will have their own definition of a ‘successful’ survival rate, we believe that if it’s below 97% then it may be time to reconsider your transportation strategy.

A way nurseries try to protect their plants is through the use of masterboxes which help insulate some of the more temperature sensitive plants. While these are helpful, the additional cost can cause sticker shock for many nurseries. On top of this, they are not a very sustainable solution, as those boxes will need to be disposed of after they’ve been delivered. Even if they’re made of corrugated cardboard, there is no guarantee that the customer will recycle these boxes. The efforts at providing a more sustainable solution are effectively null. To create a more sustainable shipment, we recommend the use of a temperature controlled trailer, which can be kept at a consistent 35-65 degrees (Fahrenheit) which will keep plants healthy and hydrated through the duration of the trip. 

Another critical KPI you plant nursery would be wise to consider is on-time delivery. Are you working with a dependable, reliable carrier to get your plants to their destination on time and undamaged? Every day counts for plants because they’re alive, and since they’re being shipped when the weather changes are most dramatic, every day they’re late puts them more at risk. Working with a reliable carrier that can provide you access to a temperature controlled trailer will help eliminate these risks and ensure that your plants will arrive safely and your customers will be satisfied. You will benefit from providing better plants to garden centers who will turn to you year after year.

Here at Zip Xpress, we understand the importance of getting your plants to the garden center healthy and hydrated. We utilize our temperature controlled trailers for all of our nursery customers and we’ll maintain the optimal temperature to your specifications from the time of pickup to the delivering terminal. We can even provide full temperature control the entire time of transport for your more sensitive plants. We also have a long history of getting our shipments to their destination on time and undamaged, no matter what. If you’ve reviewed your KPIs and want a better solution for your nursery business, then start today with Zip Xpress!