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2020 Industry Pulse: Despite the news, an amazing year

December 14, 2020 -  By , , and

Bridging the gap with technology

How companies are using technology to keep pace with growth and address labor issues

By Christina Herrick | LM Editor

This has been a good year for many in the green industry. The majority of respondents to our Industry Pulse say that improving their company’s efficiencies through new equipment and software has helped boost their 2020 bottom line.

A big change Prolific Landscape in Wind Gap, Pa., implemented this
year was the switch to Buildertrend for project management. Jason Kaniper, owner and president of Prolific Landscape, says this move has simplified some of the company’s duplicate data entry.

“We now have one system that will be used for lead activities, notes, pictures, proposals and to convert the lead to a job for scheduling, invoicing, tracking, notes, job site pics, files and more,” he says. “From the management side, it will significantly save time and allows the jobs to be more transparent throughout the company. The project manager and foreman have access to design files, presale notes and pictures available prior to or during a project.”

Levi Duckett, president and owner of Sunshine Landscape in Meridian, Idaho, says his company has increased revenue by $2 million from 2019 to 2020. Sunshine Landscape provides landscape design/build and installation, maintenance and snow and ice management services for primarily commercial and government clients.

Duckett and Sunshine Landscape implemented some big changes this year by switching to LMN software, adding Geotab GPS tracking on the company’s trucks and shifting to the Enterprise Fleet Management program for the company’s trucks. In fact, he says he plans to move to leasing all large equipment because of how satisfied he’s been with the fleet management program.

Duckett says he likes the data Geotab provides on his trucks and his drivers. Sunshine Landscape gets diagnostic alerts on any of the fleet’s service needs, and he says his team can understand how efficient the routes are and how safe his drivers are being.

“If they’re going too fast, it will send an alert,” he says. “If they’re not wearing their seat belt, it will tell us.”

Duckett says with the data his company has gleaned from Geotab, he’s looking to add software to better manage the service needs of Sunshine Landscape’s equipment, too.

Making use of machines

David Rindfleisch, director of business development for Sun State Landscape Management in Parrish, Fla., says his company has opted to add equipment
to help address the issues of labor availability.

“We cannot keep people. We’ve tried everything,” he says. “A lot of our industry is at that point because we can’t keep staffed enough. With that, my answer is to automate everything and use as much machinery as we can.”

Sun State provides design/build and installation, maintenance and irrigation services for commercial clientele.

His company has added Toro TRX walk-behind trenchers and Toro Z Master 7500 D 96-inch deck mowers to the fleet. He says the large mowers have improved efficiency enough to add another $500,000 in commercial contracts. The company, in turn, bought two more of the 96-inch deck mowers.

“I can run a machine 14 hours a day. It doesn’t matter if it’s 95 degrees, and it doesn’t matter if it’s going to run seven days a week or six days a week; that’s what we’ve done,” Rindfleisch says. “If we need to bring on another machine, we’ll bring on another machine.”

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