Star Roses and Plants

As it has over its 115-year history, Star Roses and Plants continues to evolve.  In its latest move forward, the company’s business model will focus on three main sources of revenue. The Jennersville, Pa., location will propagate and grow roses, shrubs and perennials, and sell them to growers for eventual sales to retail nurseries.  In California, Star Roses and Plants will sell  bare root roses and serve as a broker for others who grow them and other products.  The company will also continue to generate significant revenue from patent royalties that other growers are licensed to cultivate and sell.

Star Roses and Plants’ existing software could not support this new business model. The system was actually three separate software systems, each supporting specific functions.  Production and inventory management were stand alone systems on an underutilized legacy system, as were accounts payable and general ledger functions.  Royalty income generation was documented using Excel spreadsheets.  The company’s website and online catalogs were not integrated or interactive with company data. Star Roses and Plants sales people did not have connectivity to the company system, and instead used Excel based forms for sales orders and credit applications. Additionally, the company did not have an integrated data base to support capacity planning, sales forecasting or scientific research.

In total, the future state software system envisioned would provide total integration of revenue stream management, inventory management, production planning and execution, new product development, research and development, accounting, costing and financial management, business intelligence and sales.

Star Roses and Plants did not have the internal expertise to research vendors and software systems.  According to Star Roses and Plants Chief Financial Officer  David Watkins, “We needed someone to guide the process and to keep us moving forward. We were familiar with DVIRC’s software implementation capabilities and contracted with them for our new effort.”

DVIRC Director of Business Process Technology Consulting Harry Landsburg handled the project.  He began by interviewing employees at both executive management and functional levels in Pennsylvania and California to understand the company’s business practices and software needs.  He then prepared a Business Process Narrative detailing the company’s current software system, business processes and plans, system requirements and future state software goals.  The document was provided to potential vendors researched and selected by Landsburg.

“Throughout the discovery and documentation process, Harry kept pushing us to stay on task,” notes Watkins.  “We needed that because it was very easy for us to become distracted with our day-to-day responsibilities

After choosing vendors with the capabilities to meet Star Roses and Plants requirements, Landsburg coordinated web-based and in-person demonstrations and facilitated discussions that led to vendor selection.  The company chose  the Sage MAS 500 system with a Grower’s Vertical capability designed for the horticulture industry.

Star Roses and Plants is just beginning to implement the new software system.  A modified launch to one business segment is scheduled for February 6, 2012, and it is hoped that the system will be fully implemented throughout the company by the end of the year.

The Star Roses and Plants Company has been a pioneer in the field of plant development and introduction for more than 100 years.  Founded in 1897, as a retail mail order firm specializing in roses, Star Roses and Plants has evolved from a wholesale container nursery to a leading genetics company involved directly in breeding roses, perennials and woody plants, and introducing plants from other breeders around the world. The company operates from a headquarters and greenhouse operation in Jennersville, Pa., and from a bare root rose operation near Fresno, Calif.

Lessons Learned

Thoughts from David Watkins on the software upgrade process.

“We could not have accomplished this on our own.  You need an independent person to step in, keep everyone focused  and steer the project to completion.”

“Having someone who fully understands your business process and software goals and who speaks the language of IT is critical.  It enables that person to be an effective liaison between the company and the software vendor.”

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DVIRC Advantage

We could not have gotten to where we are today as quickly without DVIRC’s assistance. Harry kept us to our timeline, and he was the ‘bad guy’ who kept prodding us to meet our deadlines.”

David Watkins
Chief Financial Officer
Star Roses and Plants