Tech in your business: A nursery that prints its own stock labels

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Tech in your business: A nursery that prints its own stock labels

Have a lot of different types of stock to label? A NSW nursery shows that you can do the labelling for more than 1,500 stock varieties yourself.

[As part of BIT's mission to help you understand technology that can help you do your job and grow your business, we bring you this article on stock labelling. The article was originally published by CRN magazine]

As anyone in the plant business will tell you, there’s a hell of a lot of names to store and remember.
And for David Woodlee, founder and director of Burringbar Rainforest Nursery in northern NSW, just keeping track of the natives is a big enough job.
Burringbar is one of only a handful of nurseries throughout Australia that can claim to supply more or less the complete taxonomy of Australian native plants. 
Nurseries being the sort of business they are, customers typically know what they’re looking for when they arrive. And when it comes to natives they can be quite particular indeed.
The challenge: label 1,500 plant varieties
Burringbar Nursery is a family business Woodlee inherited from his parents several years ago and now manages with his brother. On average it sells 1 million plants a year.
So having an efficient and accurate system for labelling stock has always been critical for the business to retain its specialist credentials and ensure a positive experience for its customers.
But the time, money and effort involved in correctly labelling every variety of grevillea, wattle or eucalypt was significant.
Nevertheless the company persisted in paying a third party printing company to produce and supply the labels. 
When that company stopped producing the labels, Woodlee started a long search for another supplier. When he found one, the prices being discussed were exorbitant.
“The new company wanted a ridiculous amount of money to set everything up,” Woodlee recalls. “$7.00 a species would you believe?” 
Burringbar stocks more than 1,500 plant varieties.
The hardware
Filled with a new sense of purpose Woodlee decided he was going to figure the problem out for himself and started researching to see whether there might be a printing product effective and affordable enough to produce synthetic labels on site.
Like an intrepid botanist locating a rare and special specimen, Woodlee eventually stumbled across the Oki C5700 colour LED printer, which he says offers a degree of functionality and robustness that appears unique in the market.
The C5700 is now happily chugging away at Burringbar Rainforest Nursery – with all of its pollens, dirt, dust and humidity – spitting out labels of all types on demand in addition to supporting the day-to-day imaging requirements of the business.
How it's helped
Not only has the new system saved Burringbar plenty of time and money, it’s also freed up space.
Being able to produce its own labels allowed Burringbar to do away with a cumbersome and space-wasting storage system so as to accommodate all of the physical labels previously supplied by the third party printer.
“We had a huge wall filing system with endless slots,” Woodlee notes almost with a sense of awe.
Now if a particular label runs out, Burringbar simply fires up the C5700 and produces 50 of them in 30 seconds.
Burringbar partnered with seminal Australian plant labelling specialists TyTags to develop a database system for storing and managing labels and images. 
“The program itself is fantastic,” Woodlee enthuses. “You can even import photos.”

And Burringbar can also customise labels for customers who, for instance, might be buying plants as gifts. 


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