What does it take to implement Landscape Design or Landscape Business Systems in the “Off” Season?
by Joe Salemi, Product Marketing Manager, DynaSCAPE Software
Well, let me start off by saying in my 15+ years in this business I have yet to experience an offseason. It’s more transitioning from one season to the next. Debriefing on our performance of the last one and planning for the next. Where does this leave you if you want to implement a software system that will inherently improve the way you do business? Well, let’s just say it’s going to add a layer of complexity to your planning for the upcoming season. It involves a predefined strategy and set of tactics that will ensure success.
Implementing Landscape Design Software
One of the questions I most often get about our landscape design software, DS|Design, is “what’s the learning curve?”. While the answer is hugely subjective, it does really depend on you. If you’re finally making the transition away from hand-drawing then I’d advise you earmark the better part of 4-6 weeks reviewing videos, signing up for online training, and studying the resources we have available. This will get you to the point of understanding the fundamentals, having good proficiency with the tool sets and enough practice under your belt that you’ll have confidence to start cranking out design projects with pride.
Start by reviewing our training videos. These will get you going very quickly. There’s approx. 4hrs worth of videos with each one being 4-5 minutes in length. Very bite size. We also have a quick start guide. Definitely use this, it’ll help orient you to the application. But what it really comes down to is your commitment to learning how the software works. If you commit the time it will absolutely come back to you in spades.
Implementing a landscape business operating system
This is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make for your landscape business. What software solution will you place your trust in to help you manage the day-to-day operations is a complex decision. A decision that you shouldn’t take very lightly. Here’s a few tips for engaging in some due diligence:
- Create a list of functions that are absolute deal breakers for you if the software you’re looking at doesn’t have them.
- Take stock of what you like and dislike about your current workflows. See how the prospective new software will help improve what you’re doing now.
- Make sure everyone who needs to be part of the process is involved. The owner(s), managers, supervisors, office staff buy-in is critical to this process.
- Don’t just learn about the functionality of the prospective software, find out about how the software company approaches implementation and training. Understand how you will be supported following the implementation.
- Get referrals from the prospective software company. A good referral isn’t just a lot of praise, it’s getting real about the highlights and the lowlights of the software and the software company.
Once you’ve made your decision, act fast. It’s better to just rip the band-aid clean off then letting the decision weigh on you for weeks or months. Here are a few tips to help make sure your implementation is successful:
- Have the right people in the room for the appropriate training sessions. Appoint a point person.
- Start gathering data (financials, overhead line items, sales projections, workflows, production rates, material lists, plant lists, labor rates, equipment costs…etc).
- Think about any customizations that you would like that would be specific to you.
- Work with your implementation and training specialist to set out a realistic schedule helping you get your new system setup
- Regular communication and feedback between your team and the implementation and training specialist. Involve a product manager or account manager when needed.
- Keep an open mind through the process.
- Stay connected to the software company, make sure everyone on your team is getting release notes and other important information about the new system you have in place.
We truly live and breathe this stuff everyday. We love it when you are in the process of doing your due diligence. Not every system out there is right for everyone. Do what you can now to do make sure you have checked off every box on your list. You’re investing in operating system for your landscape business. We want to make sure you’re investing with us, check out DynaSCAPE Manage360!