San Joaquin Valley–based wholesale rose grower, Weeks Roses, faced data visibility challenges caused by multiple locations, disparate systems, and on-premises servers. Thanks to the new lead systems analyst, Tina Brown, and Microsoft Partner, ACE Microtechnology, the company migrated its systems to Dynamics 365 Business Central. One-month post-migration, the company is already seeing the benefits: streamlined processes, greater security, and more transparent operations.
Roses have been a part of human culture through the ages, and today, there’s still a high demand for roses as symbols of beauty, love, friendship, and even patriotism. As such, wholesale rose growing is a high-volume business in the United States; it takes a lot of work to get those time-honored symbols into their places in homes and businesses across the country.
Weeks Roses, a wholesale rose grower under the parent company, Gardens Alive!, has been in operation since 1938. Based in Wasco, California, in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley, the company conducts its bare root harvests seasonally―digging product straight out of the ground, bundling it, and storing it in a cooler while front-line teams prepare for inventory counts and shipping.
The company has a huge catalog, with different types of roses, patent numbers, and classes, meaning that there’s a vast amount of information to contend with in short order during harvest season. “There are over 11,000 stock numbers; everything has a number,” says Tina Brown, Lead Systems Analyst at Weeks Roses.
The company receives its orders for that year’s crops six to nine months ahead of time, but the planning for the number of crops happens a year or two in advance. That’s why accurate inventory counts and easy access to those counts are so important to planting the right amount of product to meet customer demand.
A solution takes root
Brown has worked in the nursery industry for the past 20 years and she came into Weeks Roses just a year and a half ago. “I love trouble shooting, digging into things, trying to figure out where the problem is and how we can improve it,” says Brown. “That’s one of the best aspects of my job.”
When she first arrived, she had a problem to solve right away. The company faced challenges with disparate on-prem systems that led to real-world business problems, such as invoices being delayed and sales orders not lining up with inventory counts. With the accounts team based in Indiana and the company spreading processes across multiple locations, Brown wanted to find a way to a solution that worked for everyone across the organization and allowed for more accurate accounting. She began researching her options and decided to transition from the company’s Dynamics NAV on premises solution to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
The company had been using an on-premises, SQL-based system with three separate programs, so Business Central had a lot to offer. “Everything was in one system: I had my accounting, inventory, shipping, sales orders, and POs,” explains Brown. “I also liked the look and feel of Business Central. I think getting around in the system is very simple.” Brown did some presentations to the team and they agreed that they liked Business Central better than some of the other products they were considering.
To help them with the transition to Business Central and the cloud, Tina chose to work with Microsoft Partner, ACE Microtechnology. “I needed a company that could meet my needs as a customer to fulfill setting up Business Central and leading us going forward,” says Brown.
ACE helped Brown and the cross-functional teams at Weeks Roses migrate their operations and onboard processes and employees to Business Central before the next harvest season. The whole process only took four months. Providing visibility into the data was a key goal for ACE. “[Business Central helps] the Weeks Roses team turn data into information and information into knowledge. Visibility is key to that organization,” says Mark Munson, Director of Business Development at Ace Microtechnology.
From shared visibility to shared vision
With the help of ACE Microtechnology and Brown, Weeks Roses started in Business Central with clean data. Brown worked in Microsoft Excel to seamlessly integrate and update hundreds of thousands of sales orders, inventory lists, and shipping reports into Business Central, giving the company real-time access to information. “We can see things better; we can have a more clear-cut vision of what we’re trying to do as a company: numbers wise, dollars wise, and so forth,” says Brown.
By providing greater visibility, Business Central empowers the company to circumvent cumbersome processes one-month post-migration. For example, approvals for new customers and vendors that used to take cross-functional teams two to three days over email and phone now happen in under 24 hours. Additionally, the cloud-based system allows employees to work remotely and securely access their data. With regular cloud-based updates, keeping systems up to date, even when employees aren’t onsite, is much simpler than before.
Brown has a lot to look forward to beyond the harvest season. “I think that Business Central is going to be a complete asset for our company. Within six months, it is going to be our lifeline.”
As for ACE Microtechnology, the company is looking forward to assisting with discovering other functions within Business Central that can apply to the Weeks Roses business model. In addition, ACE is helping find solutions to operational inefficiencies using other technologies within the Microsoft stack. With ACE’s support and partnership, Weeks Roses stands on fertile ground to help roses keep their place in our culture well into the future.[Business Central helps] the Weeks Roses team turn data into information and information into knowledge. Visibility is key to that organization.
Mark Munson: Director of Business Development