Nursery Restocker

Updated December 2011 by Paul McMorran


Bulleen Art & Garden aims to offer our customers a unique and rewarding experience. Over an extended period of time we have built up a reputation for being a garden centre with a focus on the community, the environment and real gardening. Through these objectives, we try to create an experience that will lead our customers into outcomes that are sustainable and practical for their needs.

We keep an expansive range of greenlife at Bulleen Art & Garden that can quickly drop in quality if not maintained and can be ‘lost in the system’ if not placed on the correct bench, in the correct location. As a nursery restocker your role is critical in ensuring this does not occur.

Position reports to: Restock Manager

Areas of Responsibility

Restocking of greenlife onto benches
Maintenance of greenlife on benches
General maintenance duties

Environmental Considerations

At Bulleen Art & Garden we take great care in trying to reduce our impact on the environment. It is expected that you abide by any internal operational procedures and external regulations regarding this matter.

Safety at BAAG is more important than customer service!

Occupational Health and Safety

Bulleen Art & Garden is an extremely busy site, on which a number of heavy machines operate and deliver. It is up to you to be vigilant of the risks involved in working on such a site and to take the appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of staff, suppliers and the general public. The role of nursery restocker can be extremely physical, requiring regular lifting and bending while working in an outdoor environment throughout the year. You are expected to follow all materials handling and OH&S operational procedures at all times when employed at Bulleen Art & Garden.

Nursery Restocker – Operational Procedures
Updated December 2011 by Paul McMorran

1 Introduction
The restocking and maintenance of general stock is the area of nursery work where you really have to keep your head down. In order for the nursery to look its best at all times you have to train yourself to handle a lot of plants quickly and be methodical with your maintenance. Efficient use of trolleys will save time. Return to your work quickly after serving customers or other interruptions.

2 Aims of Benchwork
The key criteria customers are going to use to judge Bulleen Art and Garden is the quality of plants on our benches and whether we have a good range. They will not know we have a good range if staff and customers cannot locate stock because it is in the incorrect position.

Customers expect good quality plants, it is your job to make sure that the plants are up to the standard that the customer expects, this means:

1. Weed free, clean stock that is clearly priced and labelled.
2. Poor quality stock needs to be removed.
3. Space plants evenly along allocated benches to increase shelf life.
4. Improve presentation of plants to the customer eg. Labels facing forward.
5. To have plants placed in their correct category and alphabetical position.
6. Ensure any shelf talkers (bench mounted information signs) are correctly positioned.

3 Restocking
It is imperative that plants are on the correct bench. Our whole plant ordering system is based on the assumption that plants are on the correct bench. The considerable time spent by the green stock buyer on Monday is completely wasted if plants are put and left on the wrong bench and overstocking results. Don’t always trust labels- refer to stock lists if uncertain on where the plant belongs.

1. If frost is still possible, spray all plants on the trolley with ENVY to protect from frost. The exceptions are edible plants.

2. Stock benches tidily in alphabetical order using the botanical name and place plants in their correct size category in neat rows with labels facing forward. When there are two tiers of benches, plants of a particular variety should be represented in both levels. If there are 15cm and 20cm pots, the 15cm should be on the bottom level and the 20cm on the top. Alternatively, if there are larger quantities of 15 and 20cm pots, then the 15cm pots are placed in a row to the left and the 20cm pots in a row to the right. Do not put blocks or rows of one variety behind another variety.

3. When placing according to the alphabet, use the Genus followed by the cultivar name, if there is no cultivar name, use the species. So for example Correa alba, followed by Correa ‘Beautiful’, followed by Crowea ‘Alberta’.
The first bench(s) of each section is for native plants, followed by exotic varieties (A-Z). Check that the plant controller has separated the stock on the distribution racks into native shelves and exotic shelves. If you are unsure ask for confirmation before restocking.

4. Plants should be moved once only. Work in conjunction with the plant controller so space is available for stock still to come. Whenever possible plants should be loaded from the reserve in groups, eg small shrubs and medium shrubs on their allocated trolleys. This will save a lot of double handling and enable staff without plant knowledge to stock onto the correct bench. Systemise how plants are put away. All plants in a particular category should be put away together to avoid double handling. Leave half-full plant trolleys – particularly of large sections until they are filled.

5. Plant maintenance must be performed at all times while the plants are being put away. You must wear secateurs in an appropriate pouch at all times in the nursery (please see supervisor for secateurs): remove suckers or spent leaves/flowers as you see them otherwise it will never be done. When doing maintenance on the benches you must check every plant you handle and remove weeds, face labels and prune if required. As soon as you see poor stock, remove it and put on a trolley for the special section. Always ask yourself, “Would I buy this plant for that price?” by specially early, we have a greater chance of getting our money back on the plant compared to tossing it out. Likewise if a plant is in the wrong position it should come off straight away and either be positioned correctly or returned to the plant reserve. Ensure the plants are evenly spaced over the entire bench. Keep a tub near you at all times to toss clippings weeds etc. as you work.

6. Do not squeeze plants onto the benches: Stock should be adequately spaced and no stock should be left on the ground, cramming stock will create additional maintenance in the future, and losses. Return excess stock to the reserve or talk to the manager in charge who may find an alternative position for the plants. Make sure the main paths are clear of stock. This is very important for customer flow and for our own access when restocking. The main outer path must not be less than 2.4 metres.

7. Face all plant labels towards the customer. Pick up labels on the ground while you work and place them in the appropriate plant and raise up tie-on labels so that they are visible. Remove any plants that aren’t labelled from the bench and put on the special rack (choose the poorest of the batch). A plant which is not priced or labelled will not sell, this is a completely unnecessary reason for losing a sale. If you are sure as to what the plant is then you can write a label for the plant and it can stay on the bench. Never leave used or incorrect price stickers lying around the counter or floor. They stick to benches and floor areas and are very difficult to remove and clean up.

8. After restocking each bench, review the shelf talkers. Take any shelf talkers not needed off the shelf and file in the information stand. Then put out all the shelf talkers with available plants for each section. Put any empty shelf talker holders away in the sign storage area. Move old stock to the front before putting new stock on the benches.

9. Place plants in flower into stock as soon as possible: they sell quickly for a short period. They have a short shelf life and we need to sell them quickly to prevent losses.

10. Maintain signage: remove faded signs or signs in the wrong spot. A sign that is no longer relevant makes us look very unprofessional and should be removed straight away while you are watering or working on the bench. Shelf-talkers should also be shifted accordingly. Put any excess signage frames tidily in the sign storage area. Faded signs that need reprinting should be organised by using the signage orger form on the internal website. Good signs need to be filed in the filing cabinet in the clock on room.

11. Use the trolley and delivery area effectively: organise this space continually through the week – a lot of time can be saved. Trolleys should not be used for storage, they were designed to minimise the area allocated to deliveries AND TO REDUCE DOUBLE HANDLING AND UNNECESSARY LIFTING. After use in the nursery they should be immediately returned to the reserve. At the end of each restock night the trolleys need to be emptied and put away neatly inside the plant reserve leaving the driveway clear for trucks arriving early in the morning.

12. Check stock quality before putting on the bench. Report any problems to the greenstock buyer. Suppliers sometimes try to deliver sub standard plants. We need to be constantly aware of this and stop it every time otherwise they will try delivering crappy stock all the time.

3.1 Specials and marked-down plants
Although the special section handles our excess or slightly damaged stock it can create more turnover than other sections so should be continually worked. The criteria for putting stock here is that it is still able to recover, given it may have some damage due to drying out or flower damage. Diseased or pot bound plants go in the bin. Rough grouping and maintenance of plants in this section can increase sales significantly. Never put unsorted or unpriced plants into the special section. All special price stickers should be put beside the original price sticker so there is no confusion at the registers.

All discounted and toss-outs need to be recorded in the specials folder located in the cabinet in the plant reserve, these figures are used to determine stock levels and pricing into the future and are very important for the operating of the business.

4 General maintenance
4.1 Tools and equipment
Staff must clean up as you go and any tools you use while working in the nursery must be returned tidily to the correct position. Tools left lying around is one of the biggest timewasters for staff who want to use them, and is particularly frustrating. You have not finished a job until the tools are where they belong.

Maintenance of tools and equipment- sharpened secateurs, fully inflated tyres on the wheelbarrow, flat-bed trolley etc. make your work much easier, so if you see a problem in this area do something straight away.

Electric tractors should be returned to the reserve immediately after using them to position restock trolleys in the nursery. The empty trolleys can be pushed back to reserve by hand. The tow bar should be removed from the trolley as soon as the electric tractor has been disconnected, and returned with the electric tractor to the reserve.
4.2 General tidying
Rake around and under a bench or bay when you finish working on it before progressing onto your next job. In order for nursery staff to do maintenance as they work it is essential to keep a waste bin (16“ pot) under as many benches as possible- empty them as they become full. Do not overfill these bins, especially if raking and filling with lilydale stones. Only fill bins to halfway and then empty the bin. If the bin is heavy get assistance.

No odd plants should be left in the aisles or in the displays: A big effort should be made to return these plants throughout everyday as you work. Especially plants left in front of the information stand.
4.3 Chemical Spraying
Spraying is part of your job: immediate spot spraying can save us having to saturate the nursery with an insecticide or herbicide. Wear appropriate protective clothing when spraying. Check the problem with the restock manager, it may be more appropriate to dispose of the plants rather than use toxic chemicals.
4.4 Watering
Watering must be done effectively and efficiently; a normal 6 m bench should not take more than 3 – 5 minutes to complete. Be meticulous with your watering and water every pot individually or significant losses will occur. Be especially careful with pots, tubes and seedlings with large labels that can prevent water getting into the container. Do not simply wave the hose around as this is highly inefficient and can damage flowers or cause fungal problems. Some basic maintenance should be done while watering- pick up labels & take off plants in poor condition or in the wrong spot. Use time effectively while watering, basic bench maintenance while watering is a great opportunity to keep the place immaculate. Fill up all water features as you water plants on a daily basis or as you need to.
Hoses are fitted with shut off valves to reduce water waste. If these, or any other parts of the hose leak, fix it immediately, or if you don’t feel capable, let the nursery manager know.

Hoses must be rolled up clockwise, starting at the tap end, and put under the bench after use; they are a hazard to customers.

5 Safety
5.1 Electric tractors
You NEED to be trained before operating the electric tractors. There is a risk of a serious accident with the electric tractors. These tractors can pull five-ton and so could crush a leg or a toddler’s head. BE VERY CAREFUL. Do not let your legs hang out the side, AND NEVER SPEED, A TODDLER COULD COME OUT FROM BEHIND A BENCH. Refer to terminator rules.
5.2 Lifting and bending
Be sensible with your lifting and bending. It is continuous, so talk to senior nursery staff for techniques for lifting and to minimise bending. Straighten your back regularly and spend the time to get in the best position. Use your free arm to support your body when reaching. Never lift anything that you find too heavy and do not hesitate to ask for assistance. When full of plants the large plant trolleys should be towed into the nursery with an electric tractor. If this is not possible, a heavy trolley should always be pushed by two people. It is too heavy for one person to push.
5.3 Personal safety
Be aware of, and reduce or communicate (with signs if appropriate), hazards to you and customers associated with handling plants, (eg. climbers and other staked plants). Deciduous trees in winter should have warning signs put out each year. Historically every few years someone in the industry loses an eye.
5.4 Tools and safety
Put your tools away and always roll up your hoses. We have a lot of elderly customers but anyone can break a limb tripping over a hose or rake left carelessly lying around.
5.5 Your responsibility and duty
As in all sections of the nursery safety comes first. If you see a hazard it is more important than anything else, including customers, and you must do something about it straight away. The new laws make you now individually responsible and it is surprising how easy it is for a serious accident or a death to occur in the workplace. You must all contribute actively and positively to the health and safety of other staff and our customers.

6 Materials Handling
If anything in this job description is unclear, appears outdated or requires some training for you to perform, please let your manager or supervisor know.
As you become familiar with this job it is your responsibility to suggest ways that we can do to make it safer, more efficient and better able to work in with other people’s tasks. Please communicate any suggestions to managers or make a staff suggestion.

7 Signage & Information
Check all bench talkers and signage as you move along the benches and ensure that they are in the correct position. We have invested large amounts of time and money into these signs and we want to make sure that our customers are getting the most out of them.

Look after the paintwork on the benches. There has been a lot of effort and money put into these benches and they will be hard to repair without making it look tatty. Do not attach any signage if it is going to do damage or affect the overall image.