Irrigation

Updated 16th May 2006
Deletions for consideration by manager
Updates

Garden Water management systems
This job description should be read in conjunction with:
(a) Guidelines for staff in charge of a section
(b) Guidelines for buyers

Introduction

It is your job to create sales of sprinkler system parts that are profitable. You need to be confident and experienced in installing complete systems and be able to train staff in all areas of irrigation.

Conservation
We are willing to sacrifice sales for conservation.
The first objective is to sell sustainable living solutions to all customers at the best value possible available. This is at times going to involve suggesting customers buy less product, or different product or at other times to make significant investment in product, e.g grey water system or rain catchment solutions. The focus at BAAG is always to provide a holistic approach and not a product sale driven approach. For example should be selling consultancies, planting/lawn options, stormwater runoff sometimes as alternatives to a pop up sprinklers. Explain to the customer ways of reducing water use, for example mulching and appropriate planting. Make sure the customer knows how to use the system they are building. Keep a stock of the various Yarra Valley Water handouts on water conservation in the irrigation section at all times. It is important that customers know we are taking a responsible attitude to conservation. The use of Rain Sensors and drippers are also ways the customer can conserve water. Our signage and product range should reflect the environmentally friendly organisation that Bulleen Art & Garden intends to be.

Ordering
Ordering for all suppliers should be done on Monday morning including Danks products. Even in the busy times one delivery per week per supplier should be adequate if you are organised. HR products are no problem as they are just around the corner. All other suppliers will charge us freight if the order is small. The easiest way around this problem is not to run out of stock. If you do then make up a larger order with high volume parts such as poly, elbows, tees etc. Danks ordering is slightly different because they deliver twice a week, on Tuesday and Friday. Orders for the Tuesday delivery need to be in by Sunday and for Friday delivery by Wednesday afternoon. Special orders should be put through as soon as you know you need them. There is no extra charge for multiple orders.

Checking monthly supplier invoices. It is vital to check all supplier invoices when received – ensure that all restockers are also doing this. This ensures that we are not being charged for stock not delivered or overcharged to us. Nylex Plastank invoices should be checked off monthly to ensure that all tanks have been correctly invoiced out.

Any large purchases such as water tanks, pumps and grey water diverters should be paid for in advance with the customers details recorded in the special orders invoice book.

Display / Maintenance

Time is the key to the profitable sale of sprinkler parts and systems. You can minimise the selling time by displaying your product logically, pricing your products clearly, providing an efficient design service, keeping good stocks of handouts, maintaining the feature boards properly and by providing clear and simple information. Our objective at Bulleen Art & Garden is to build a section that sets us apart from other irrigation retailers ie. Bunnings, Mitre 10. We must convey the idea that we are the garden watering experts which gives customers a reason to choose Bulleen Art & Garden for their irrigation requirements. Our product range is one which emphasises quality eg. Hunter, Rainbird, Nylex. You must, however, offer the customers a cheaper alternative. We want to focus on reliability of a system. A customer will generally pay a bit more if they know they are getting a quality item. Keep your knowledge up to date on all current parts, new products and know how to use the entire range of controllers. Take notice of any new products the sales reps bring in. They will try to sell you some crap, but sometimes they have a great new product. Look at everything they suggest and if you are unsure discuss the item with Paul. This Job Description must also be kept up to date. If a procedure is changed it is essential that it is noted here.

A lot of customer inquiries can be avoided, and additional sales made, by positioning the sprinkler parts on the shelves logically. The logical groupings of parts are micro spray, drippers, fittings used in micro irrigation, lawn pop-ups, shrub heads, Poly fittings split into 13mm and 19mm., P.V.C. and timer associated products. Normal attention to tidiness must be adhered to. It is common for customers to put irrigation parts back in the wrong places, check constantly for this. If you are using young kids to put away stock you may also need to check that things are in the correct place. Many irrigation parts look the same and it is an easy mistake to make. Customers will not tolerate getting home to discover they have got the wrong parts because they were put away incorrectly. The irrigation store should be meticulously overhauled regularly to ensure it is functioning properly. Do not leave broken or faulty parts in there. Either return them or throw them out. Something is needed to cut clear vinyl tubing and solenoid wire. This needs to be chained so it cannot be taken – scissors are not the answer.

Water conservation house

The water conservation house needs to be continually maintained to ensure that it produces the interest and subsequent sales of the products that it is promoting. This display is a significant investment and continual maintenance will ensure that it remains relevant into the future. Ensure that the gardens are always looking good and that there is adequate water in the tanks for all the working displays to operate.

The water conservation house not only reflects on the irrigation section but the nursery as a whole, it is used to convey environmental awareness to the customers as well as show them that we are fair-dinkum about such issues.

Pricing

It is your job to ensure parts are clearly and correctly priced in the counter book and in front of the product. Where possible prices should be on every item that is big enough for a price sticker. This saves time for register staff. Only those items that are not priced should appear in the pricing book. Key items such as controllers, polypipe & solenoid valves should be sold at a lower mark-up than normal to ensure that we remain competitive. Always discuss these price changes with Paul. Significant losses have occurred in the past due to price increases going unnoticed. All prices must be meticulously reviewed at the start of the season and carefully monitored throughout the year. This section involves the handling of large quantities of small parts. You must be able to handle these quickly, as should any junior staff who are helping you. The section can quickly become unprofitable if wage costs are not controlled. Use the register staff for pricing during slow times.

Sprinkler System Design

During spring and summer you will receive a lot of requests for irrigation design.
Option 1. If a customer has a scale plan of their garden to be watered we can give some limited design advice on the spot. If we are busy you can ask the customer to call back when we are not so busy (ie. Early morning) and you can spend more time with them or they can leave the plan with you to roughly design.
Option 2. If a customer draws up a scale plan and provides a flow rate then we will do a free design which takes approx. one week. Only give them the design when they purchase the parts.
Option 3. The main design service we offer customers is in the form of an onsite consultancy. This must be very made very clear both to customers (through signage) and staff (at staff meetings). These consultancies operate the same way as any other consultancy at the nursery. Make sure the customer knows that consultants operate on an hourly rate. This way they can decide how detailed they would like the design to be. It is virtually impossible to give estimation, explain to the customer that they will have to talk to the consultant regarding the cost. One hour ($90) will probably only enable a rough sketch to be drawn. The amount of time will depend on the size of the area, the type of system required and whether or not a site visit is required. If the customer objects to paying for a design then explain that we can offer assistance, advice and rough planning on the whiteboard at no cost. As with all services at the nursery use your own judgement to a certain degree.

If you are in doubt refer to your manager. Any designs done on the whiteboard must be done efficiently as they can become time consuming. If a customer brings in a rough plan of his/her garden, do not send them away empty-handed. Always attempt to solve the customer’s problems, even if it means overestimating. Give them the option of returning spare parts but be sensible about time spent on this type of a design service. As always the more information you can give the customers (handouts etc), the less time they will waste. Never forget that a customer who is after a full design is more than likely going to spend a lot of money – they are worth spending a bit of extra time with.

Computer Irrigation List

All irrigation data is kept in the m:\data\irrigation directory. The stock list on the computer must be kept up to date. Make sure you enter new products as you get them in and price changes as they happen. (Both wholesale and retail). All bin labels, product codes and stock lists are generated from this list so it is very important that it is kept current. If you are notified of price increases by suppliers make sure that you update the wholesale price and, if necessary, raise the retail price accordingly to maintain our margin. Check incoming invoices frequently to ensure we are being charged the correct price. It is easy for a price increase to slip past un-noticed.
Shelf Labels

To generate shelf labels for the irrigation section you need to follow these steps.
· Make sure that all the details for the product are correct on the computer list.
· Enter a y in the print? Column of the item.
· Make sure that all old ‘y’ entries in this column are deleted.
· Open the report ‘Shelf Labels’.
· Print the report and laminate.
· Use the guillotine to cut the labels to size

Handouts and Information Sheets

Always maintain the information sheets displayed on the wall. If they are damaged replace them. To reduce customer inquiries it is important to keep a good range of handouts and provide as much information in front of the bin as possible (outputs, radius etc) Most handouts can be obtained from suppliers, others must be made up and photocopied. These handouts are all kept in the m:\data\irrigation directory. The Bulleen Art & Garden “how to install” brochure must always be available.

Pricing, Buying & Gross Margin

Gross Margin (revenue less costs) is the key determinate of profit for an area. This can fall quickly if prices are not monitored and adjusted when necessary. Sprinkler sales are extremely seasonal, so care must be taken with orders & stock levels in the off-season. (Roughly March to August) Similarly, care must be taken to avoid running out of stock in spring and summer as we can lose credibility with our trade customers. Keep poly pipe well stocked in busy times underneath Bruce’s office. Keep a limited stock of timers. (6 x EC 6 station indoor, 6 x EC 6 station outdoor, 2 x HIT modular 4 x modules). As a rough guide you can halve the number of controllers during the off-season, but always ensure there is at least 2 of each of the ECs. There is no excuse for running out of key items. All bins in the sprinkler section should have a label containing product description, price and order code. Bins containing sprays should have their outputs and throw listed. Printing these labels is covered in the section above ‘Computer Irrigation List’. Catalogues and price lists from all suppliers should be filed and updated regularly. Often you will get requests for products that you don’t have but do have easy access to eg. from HR products, Plastic Plumbing. Always try to solve the customer’s problem. If it is in regards to parts we do not stock, contact Plastic Plumbing, inquire and order. Never take the easy alternative of sending the customer to Plastic Plumbing or we will lose the customer. Many items are available from multiple suppliers, particularly HR products & Plastic Plumbing. Ensure prices are in our favour. If we are buying a particular item from HR products and it is 5% cheaper at PPS, tell them. They will more than likely lower the price to match in order to keep our business. Never underestimate how valuable Bulleen Art & Garden is as a customer to our irrigation suppliers. We are Plastic Plumbing’s 3rd biggest Victorian customer. We buy all Hunter Sprinklers / Controllers and all PVC pressure parts from HR products. This is mainly because it is handy to have a supplier just around the corner. Make sure all PVC parts are correctly labelled with the class type / pressure classification.

New Products / Product Range

You are expected to make any new product purchasing decisions. Consult the shop manager if a new item is expensive and you are not sure whether or not it will sell. Unless an item is expensive it is generally worth trying for a while. Be very careful of electronic tap timers. Nylex and James Hardie have been tried and we normally get about 80% returned. Do not buy in without Bruce’s approval. When buying new products bargain for the best buying price and stress our possible volume. We are one of Plastic Plumbing’s biggest Victorian customers; therefore we have a bit of bargaining power. Do deals. Periodically check prices against other suppliers including Elmhurst, Aquafield, PPS, PPI, Danks, and HR. However, don’t change preferred suppliers without approval of manager. Any new products must be brought up at the next staff meeting. Management requires you to be careful with the selection of new products, making sure of the relevance and quality. You are, however, encouraged to try new products and watering ideas. The biggest mistake you can make is to leave a product in the range that is of poor quality, is not selling or is of lesser value to the customer than a new product. We want to maximise the value and service to the garden watering customer through our product range and associated information. Return unwanted products to suppliers, special them off or, if this doesn’t work, throw them out.

Returns

We only accept returns if the customer has bought the wrong product or the product is faulty and if they have their register receipt. Do not accept a return of a product that has obviously been broken by the customer or has been used and can’t be resold. This happens more often than you would think. We cannot claim a warranty repair on something that has been stuffed by the customer. Faulty products must be returned for credit ASAP. Check invoices to ensure credits go through. Frequently check the returns bin located near R4. If staff are putting irrigation parts in here without explanation, track down the offender if possible and report it to the Office manager. It is very important that we know what the fault is and who the customer is. For retuned of products with a retail value of less than $5 it is cheaper to throw the part away.
Controller repairs are to be recorded in the ‘controller repairs’ file in the irrigation subdirectory. Record as much information as possible, this makes it easier to follow up when a customer rings a week later to ask where his controller is. Generally repairs will take anywhere up to 2 weeks. Make sure the customer knows this before they leave the controller with you. If the controller is still under warranty the repairs / replacement will take place at no charge. If the warranty is expired it is possible to send the controller off for a ‘quote before repair’. Always add a $20 charge to any repair costs to cover our time. (This does not apply to warranty repairs).

Point of sale signage

Guidelines for Irrigation section.
Point of sale, including that which we produce internally, is entirely your responsibility as the staff member in charge of the irrigation section. Good point of sale will generate sales and reduce customer questions and can make Bulleen Art & Garden a more interesting & less frustrating place for our customers to shop. If our customers find Bulleen interesting and do not become frustrated solving their gardening problems they will come back and recommend us to their friends.

General guidelines for all point of sale

(i) Never leave any point of sale which is tatty or faded in your section.
(ii) Minimise the colours and use standard nursery colours whenever possible.
(iii) Display signs at uniform heights.
(vi) It is important that you make the effort to secure all signage properly to an appropriate stand. Frequently in the past we have incurred all the cost of producing the sign to see it lying face down on the ground a day later. This will not be tolerated.
(v) All point of sale must be authorised by your area manager.
(vi) Be efficient in your specification, communication and putting up time, your time is costly and this exercise will become uneconomic if you waste time.
(vii) It is very important that all signage that might be used again is stored properly. Give it to the signage staff member or store it properly yourself. Look after your signs at all stages of their handling.

Internally produced signs

Internally produced signs are expensive to produce. It costs the business for your time in specifying them, the cost of the printing and plastic paper, any editing by your area manager and then your time in putting them out and maintaining them. Your objective with these signs should be to make money out of them or provide information that is very interesting to the customer and might encourage them to come back or talk about us to their friends and neighbours. Always think before requesting internally produced point of sale. Always use minimum size for signs that enable customers to read readily. A5 in preference to A4. Always fill in standardised forms with all appropriate detail.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.