Job description: Reserve Manager
The role of Reserve Manager is vital to the nursery’s entire greenstock handling system. The position requires constant attention and a sense of urgency at all times. Significant time can be saved by reducing the double handling that will occur if you are not on top of your work at all times. Your work significantly affects all greenstock handling.
It is critical for safety reasons and also for the efficient flow of vehicle traffic that you control all vehicle traffic in this area. We cannot afford to have our trucks blocked when we have deliveries to do and suppliers cannot afford to have their trucks locked in. Direct all delivery traffic to turn around first and park or wait where appropriate. All trucks unloading should then be able to drive directly out the drive once unloaded. i.e. not be blocking one another in. Remember you are responsible for the direction of trucks, if the driveway becomes blocked, you are at fault not the drivers. Always advise truck drivers to NEVER REVERSE down the driveway. This is dangerous and causes major congestion in the driveway. Always police speeding in the driveway and alert suppliers and customers to our driveway speed limit 10km/hr and that the area is also a walkway used by children and the elderly.
Customers should not be allowed access through the plant reserve. Customers may take unpriced stock, customer orders, or simply take off up the drive with stock and not through the registers. It is not a retail area and is designated staff only. If a customer is obviously new to BAAG, tell them it is a staff only zone but guide them through into the nursery anyway. We do not want it used as a thoroughfare, but we do not want you to be abrupt or rude to a customer either. Make sure the gate is always closed, and the STAFF ONLY sign is always facing the right way. You may need to remind staff about shutting the gate when entering or exiting the reserve.
Before the weekend it is essential that no access can be permitted to the reserve by customers. A safety barrier is stored in the reserve to erect on a Friday afternoon before the weekend. If that’s not enough, empty plant trolleys can be used so no public can enter the reserve. This is generally done on a Friday afternoon, as stock movement in the reserve is sometimes required through the day on Friday.
Ask the driver to back as close as possible to the delivery benches. Put a sign up for plant deliveries with clear instructions where the next delivery is to be dropped. The delivery benches should be used for plants that need sorting. Aim for clearing a bench at a time. For masses of similar stock you can unload onto the flat bed trolleys, tractor trailers or designated pallets. If you fall behind and don’t clear the benches before the next truck arrives, unload onto pallets. Try and keep the plant distribution trolleys only for stock that is priced and sorted, otherwise you will run out of trolleys and re-stockers will have nothing to clear. Call for assistance if required.
Always plan ahead and do not allow stock to be put on the ground and block the efficient use of the reserve. If all receiving benches and trolleys are full, in times of urgency stock can be put onto pallets. Pallets can therefore be moved with the forklift if access is needed to areas that are otherwise blocked. Always consider access to products that are stored within the vicinity of the reserve.
Be familiar with Bulleen Art & Garden’s Environmental weed policy in the Policies section of the Job description folder. If you see any plants from this list come in to the nursery you should check with the person in charge of that section. Bonsai and tubes can sometimes have environmental weeds in their stock lists, but anyone could order a plant that they didn’t realise was a weed.
Check all stock as it comes off the trucks for quality and make sure the numbers of plants delivered are exactly what is written on the invoice. If unsatisfactory quality plants arrive, or the wrong plant variety is sent, firstly, try to send them back on the same truck, otherwise leave them on the bench with a clear note attached to who they must go back to, ensure this happens within the fortnight.
The next step is to have the invoice adjusted, it’s your responsibility to make this happen.
The most effective way to do this is, by filling out a “Request for Credit” slip. These are kept in the blue cabinet. Fill out all the sections and fax through to supplier with there original invoice. Write on the invoice, not to pay, will be sending an adjusted invoice, with your initials and staple together. Put this into the tray in the top office. We don’t want invoices paid twice.
Re-stockers have less vision at night so if poor quality / diseased stock is not sorted by you it will go into the nursery and possibly infect other stock.
When you sign each delivery docket you are signing to say we have accepted the right quantity of the right plants and that they are in good condition. Do not accept any plants without labels unless you know they are for a customer order. Some suppliers will say they’ll send them in the mail, or bring them on next weeks spec. In this case, hand write a label, and let the plant buyer/manager know to look out for them and ensure they get put onto the stock within the week.
Invoices (or delivery dockets) should be kept safely in the plant controller’s folder. If another staff member needs one to price stock, you must ensure they return it to you. You may want to give staff a photocopy and keep the original safe. Any copies must however be stamped as a “copy” so no double payments are made to the supplier. Invoices can be found in the plant controller’s folder, which is kept in the cupboard in the plant reserve. If not there, they may be in the plant invoice box in the driveway or in the plants priced inbox tray in the office.
The key criteria customers are going to use to judge Bulleen Art and Garden is the quality of our plants on our bench 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.
The delivery bench should be used for plants that need sorting. Plants are sorted onto trolleys as they are sorted in the nursery, ie. SMALL SHRUBS, MEDIUM SHRUBS, TALL SHRUBS, TREES, GRASSES, GROUNDCOVERS, CLIMBERS, CONIFERS, PRODUCE, SHADE, INDOORS, SUCCULENTS, SCREENING PLANTS. On these trolleys, plants are also sorted into NATIVE and EXOTIC, by positioning the two on different shelves, same as how they are presented in the nursery.
Also its important to place taller stock on the upper shelves and shorter stock below. Never force a tall plant under a shelf, just to fit the native/exotic category. Instead put it where is best for the plant, and ensure it goes into the nursery at it’s prime. Don’t jam more plants onto the shelves either, they just end up bouncing out on there way into the nursery.
Each plant must be priced prior to allocation into categories. Check the category base price list and remember a 105% mark up from invoice price (pre-GST) is policy, with 10% GST added afterwards. Or multiply the price by 2.05 x 1.1. If you are unsure, check with the manager. Often large quantities of particular plants will indicate they are for a special so check with the buyer before pricing. There is a pricing structure located in the plant controller’s folder which should be followed for pricing of all plants.
Occasionally you will have to go into the nursery to check the prices of plants that are doubling up from weeks previous. When the same plants come from different suppliers, they can work out at different prices. This usually applies, to common varieties, like Liriopes, Lavanders, 6” and 8” Gardenias, etc.
In regards to pricing, certain plants fit into the category of Nursery, Produce and Seedlings. This is determined by who they come from. Plants that come from Scotsburn, Oasis, United and Easycolour have to be priced with the seedling pricing gun. This has a different colour price sticker in it which says seedling on it. Plants that are edible or can be used for eating are deemed as PRODUCE plants. They are also priced with a different pricing sticker which says produce on it. The rest of the plants are just priced with the normal pricing sticker.
Never leave used or mistake price stickers lying around the counter or floor. They stick to benches and floor areas and are very difficult to remove and clean up. Spare pricing stickers are kept in the clock-on room just next to the stairs. If supplies of price stickers are low inform Lindy before we run out.
Bold, clear price stickers are an absolute necessity, faded or unclear price stickers only cause trouble so change ink pads as often as required.
When pricing Bonsai also write the price on the bottom of the ceramic pots with a pencil. This way if the price stickers fade or fall off staff can still check the price. The labels of all Bonsai starters should be stapled to the pot as they often tend to fall out causing problems with identification. When pricing Viro-cells and mondo strips price the label and the tray as some customers have swapped labels in the past.
Empty and arrange the trolleys first thing when you arrive at work so they can be used for what they are designed for, distributing plants efficiently. This area will not work if it becomes too cluttered. There are signs for the trolleys in the reserve labelled with small shrubs, grasses etc. Place these on trolleys which will suit their particular need, i.e. the trolleys with small shelves are good for groundcovers and the larger trolleys with only 2 shelves are good for tall shrubs, trees etc. Tubes should always be put on the yellow three tiered trolley first.
Keep the trolleys that are going to be swapped over empty, so that these particular suppliers can get in and out of here as quick as possible. And if they have room, ask that they take extras from weeks previous. Oasis trolleys are a good example of these.
For mass deliveries such as citrus or deciduous trees use the terminator trailers, or if absolutely necessary (like in June when the mass order arrives), put on designated pallets in the carpark on the other side of drive for overflow (Always ask the yard manager first). If possible price the stock as it comes off the truck and sort into alphabetical order. Always think of how to minimise double handling and allow for fast and efficient distribution into stock.
Use a white marker pen to write names on the pots of all large stock that may have a slow turnover or is quite expensive. This way they can be identified if the label was to fall off. Examples include deciduous trees, advanced specimens such as grafted gums and large indoor palms etc.
As soon as a plant distribution trolley is full, with the help of another staff member, take the trolley to its corresponding bench in the nursery. Notify re-stockers that it is ready for re-stocking, and also tell them that as soon as plants have been dropped onto the ground, to bring the empty trolley back asap, ready to be used in the reserve again. In busy times, this is extremely important for efficient plant controlling.
Try and keep the two flat bed trolleys free for bloomers and colourful endcap stock as these can be quickly pushed up and loaded into stock. Always keep in mind how quickly a trolley can be unloaded and returned to the plant reserve. Eg. A rack of hanging baskets or endcap specials can be emptied quickly, restocking high traffic areas, and allowing you to get an empty rack back to the plant reserve as quickly as possible. Plants that are in flower sell quickly for a short period so they must be put into stock as soon as possible.
If time is limited, or you are falling behind, you can call on nursery staff or re-stockers (not the N1) to assist in the reserve. You must inform re-stockers how urgently you need the trolleys back. It will also save time if you let re-stockers know if more plants are expected to arrive for a certain section. Your priority on Wednesday and Thursday mornings is to have enough stock priced and ready to go so the restock crew can get moving as soon as they arrive at 12.20pm.
½ Price Special Plants
After restocking is completed poor quality stock from the benches is returned to the plant reserve for processing. In the cabinet in the plant reserve, there is a folder where all special plants are to be recorded. Write up all plants as this information is used to see what plants are often specialled and what isn’t. Do not allow plants waiting to be processed to be placed on other plant distribution trolleys, flat top trolleys, trailers or delivery benches that are usually in high demand.
These plants will be processed by re-stockers weekly and will only need your input if they become untidy or start overflowing onto the ground and other trolleys. If this happens, mention it to the re-stocking manager and they can resolve the issue.
Occasionally we have an overflow cage that is for surplus special stock or stock that is nearly at it’s end. This will go to Kevin Heinze. A re-stocker will ensure they are rung up and they will come and pick it up quite quickly. Never put end of season annuals in the specials section, they are to go straight in the bin. At certain times of the year, especially early spring and late summer ½ price stock levels can become excessive. At these times it can be a good idea to set up a $2 clearance trolley to help thin out the stock.
The batteries in the electric tractor are expensive and wear out quickly if the water in the batteries is not topped up often. Therefore check the water in the batteries every week before you go onto your other tasks.
Only get repairs carried out by professionals, people who don’t know what they are doing will create an even bigger mess.
Likewise overcharging will reduce the life of the batteries so they should only be recharged when flat. However, if the battery charge is low and there are loads of plants to go out the following day, they should be charged overnight. You are completely responsible if we run out of charge when we have a lot of plants to move.
The tractor is very powerful for its size and accelerates quickly. There will be a serious accident if the brakes are not maintained properly. It is critical that the electric tractors are at all times completely safe, the braking system should be regularly checked and if they are in any way unsafe they must be taken out of commission immediately. Always report any maintenance problems to the manager as soon as you notice them. Safety is our primary concern.
Check the tyre pressures on all pneumatic tyres and grease regularly.
During winter all racks must be maintained, wheels removed and greased.
Pricing guns are expensive, as are rolls of price stickers. They must never be left in the rain and you are responsible for their maintenance. This means it is your duty to keep track of all nursery guns and ensure that they are put away at the end of each shift. When pricing rolls are low you must inform Lindy to order more ASAP.
There is a toolbox in the reserve cabinet for keeping your own personal price guns. Put them back at the end of each day or when you leave the reserve for a time, this prevents them going for a walk and you getting frustrated and wasting time trying to find them.
If it’s threatening to rain, be extra cautious not to leave guns out whilst you take breaks, or go into the nursery. In times of wet weather, a plastic bag is an effective cover on the pricing guns. Place the bag over the sticker compartment.
Ensure that you have a set of these things that you use regularly in the blue cabinet: a pencil, swing tags, black permanent marker, price stickers, stapler, staples and scissors.
At the start of your day in the reserve, the nursery buyer should have put the customer orders print out and a roll of customer order stickers in the folder. Have a read over these so you get an idea of what is coming and when a delivery of plants arrives, check the stickers to see if any of the plants from that supplier are a customer order. If they are, place the sticker on the plant and once priced, put into its appropriate place in the customer order section. This is arranged in alphabetical order. Place under the surname if both names are present, or just under the first name if that is all that is supplied. If you do not put them aside they will go into the nursery and possibly sell. Obviously this would cause problems when the original customer comes to collect. Also tick the arrived box on the customer order print out, and mark down the price per plant. If you think it needs any notes, go ahead and write these down too. E.g. plants are small, plants didn’t arrive, only two pots, not three etc. This means the person calling the customer is able to inform them of any information that might be an issue when they come to collect.
Regularly check the date on the customer order stickers to see how long they have been there. We only hold plants for customers for 2 weeks, they are actually told one week. Any plants that have been there longer can have the sticker taken off them and go back into stock, or put on the appropriate trolley to be filtered back into the nursery, this is the plant controllers responsibility.
From late autumn to early spring it is your responsibility to ensure that all plants susceptible to frost damage are sprayed with Envy frost protectant before they enter the nursery. This excludes any herbs or other edible plants.
Envy must be diluted as recommended on the container; 1 Part Envy: 10 Parts water.
As the solution does solidify in time, it’s important to keep the nozzle in a bucket of water and every few weeks, give it a good clean under hot water to avoid it from becoming blocked.
Frost damage will significantly lower our profit margins so it is crucial that plants are thoroughly coated on both the top and bottom of the leaves. If wet weather is a problem you must record any stock that has not been sprayed and inform the manager so they can be sprayed as soon as the weather breaks.
It is your duty to inform the Hardware manager when Envy supply is low.
Your first priority is always the delivery area. Help nearby customers as much as you can. If you find customer service is interfering too much with your progress, speak to the yard manager.
At the end of the week’s processing, the delivery reserve must be packed up and tidied to allow easy access to staff on weekends for watering and order collections. This also allows a fresh start when stock starts arriving the following week. The main path must remain clear for access and watering purposes and staff should have uncluttered access to the customer order/plant delivery sections. Sweep down benches and trolleys and ensure the pricing guns are stored out of the weather.
It is your job to clean up the surfaces from leaves, dirt etc. As well as making sure weeds aren’t coming over the fence and getting out of control, inform the nursery manager if these need to be removed/sprayed outside of delivery days. Rather than sweeping each time, ask the yard manager if you can use the leaf blower for a much faster and effective job. Also if staff are dumping things that aren’t meant to be down there, it’s up to you to control and manage this.
NB. It is understood that the Plant Controller often leaves before the night crew finishes but any head start is helpful.
Safety at BAAG is more important than customer service!
This plant delivery area can be a real safety hazard if aisles are not left clear. This area is your responsibility.
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, take keys out and switch off when not in use AND NEVER SPEED, A TODDLER COULD COME OUT FROM BEHIND A BENCH.
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.
Use the fork lift and pallets as much as possible to minimise back stress. Often pallets can be positioned at the rear or even within a truck to minimise handling.
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 and deciduous trees in winter- historically every few years someone in industry loses an eye.
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.
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 now make you 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.
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 make it safer, more efficient and better able to work in with other people’s tasks. Please communicate any suggestions to managers or put them in the staff suggestions on our internal website.