Don’t Just Hit Repeat: 3 Ways to Make Your Turf Operations More Efficient for 2023

The 2022 Turf and Ornamental season was yet another wild roller coaster of events. Many regions across the U.S. experienced extreme drought and unusual weather patterns. Finding labor continued to be a burden and may have hindered business growth goals for the year. On top of that we saw continued price increases on products, and other vital business resources as well. Thus, putting even more pressure on potential performance this year.

While nobody can predict what 2023 will bring, we can all agree that many of the concerns in 2022 will unfortunately be headwinds again for our industry in 2023. Now is the time to plan for the upcoming season and avoid taking the easy route by hitting an exact repeat of your 2022 approach. We checked in with Central’s Chemical Category Director, Austin Marsteller, to learn more about what you can do to get ahead more efficiently.

Inevitably there is always room for improvement, even if your business had a successful year. While a professional sports team can win back-to-back championships, it is rare.  Players come and go, team dynamics change, and the competition is building new strategies to come out on top. Likewise, it is important to plan and strategize ways to advance your business for the upcoming season so you are best prepared to come out on top again. One key to success in 2023 is focusing in on operational efficiencies. Below we will look at 3 ways to improve these efficiencies in your business:

1. Reduce Call Backs

One area to improve on operational efficiencies, is reducing callbacks! Callbacks throughout the season are costly to your business as a result of the time, labor, wear and tear, opportunity cost, and potential extra product usage that these efforts involve. It is important to know what the cost of a callback is to your business and I challenge you to determine that this off season.

  • Review your customer logs and determine common callbacks that occurred.
  • Then factor in the labor, time, and product commonly used to resolve those call backs. Once this number is determined keep it in the back of your mind while planning for the 2023 season. That premium product or solution you always thought was “too expensive” may be worth upgrading to if it reduces your callbacks. Your local Central Turf and Irrigation representative is here to help you discuss that cost/benefit analysis.
2. Evaluate Products

Operational efficiencies can also be improved within the agronomic program itself. Take some time to reflect and think about what weeds, insects, or disease were a struggle this past season. Maybe green up or prolonged turf color was an issue at hand as well. If you are finding gaps in your program and have not evaluated your product selections in a few seasons, I encourage you to explore the many new products and solutions that are available that may just help resolve your pain point and increase your operational efficiency. Some that come to mind are:

  • Newer and more advanced slow-release nitrogen technologies
  • Combination products such as a Dimension/Acelepryn/Fertilizer
  • Newer premixes that contain several different active ingredients spanning different modes of action all in one jug conveniently ready to mix in your sprayer. This advancement in technology has enabled broader spectrum control and longer residual product options.

In addition, managing expectations with your customer is key because these newer solutions may allow you to eliminate a round all together while still improving results. At the end of the day your customers are still happy with your services all the while increasing your businesses operational efficiency.  Again, let us know how we can help! Our team at Central is here to partner with you in exploring new and alternative product options.

3. Product Output

Lastly, an area to focus on to improve operational efficiency in 2023 is production output. Explore where your team may have been getting held up in their production routes. Was it an equipment issue, product issue, or maybe even a scheduling issue? Dig deeper into your business and ask your field staff what holds their production output up during the day.

  • It may be reloading frequency because of a lack of hopper space or bag saddles on a piece of application equipment.
  • Is it blowing off the sidewalks or having to always be mixing product on site?
  • Maybe it is something much simpler such as the way the trailer configuration is laid out and moving equipment around each stop.

The possibilities for each business scenario are endless, but the message is the same. Take the time to ask your team and evaluate the production methods and I bet there is something that can be found that could be enhanced to improve operational efficiency. For example, the recent introduction of the ride on spreader/sprayer units and other equipment advances were a major efficiency upgrade for our industry.

Don’t just hit repeat on your approach to the 2023 season.  Your Central Turf and Irrigation representative is available to partner with you to evaluate your challenges and provide solutions on ways to improve the operational efficiency of your business, and grow your bottom line. Congratulations on finishing strong in the 2022 season!

About Austin Marsteller

Austin has a decade of experience in the Green Industry, a degree in Turfgrass Science from Penn State University and an MBA from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. His career has been heavily focused in turf and ornamental on the manufacturer side, and most recently in agriculture specifically in bio stimulants, adjuvants, and specialty fertilizers. Austin works closely with all the employees and partners of Central to provide superior service and solutions to our turf and ornamental customers.