At Kopke’s Greenhouse, one of our most expensive sunk costs is our time...meaning, we can’t get it back once it’s been spent. Bartlett Instrument Company’s controls have helped us bank some of that time. We currently operate 28 greenhouses over 5 acres to grow annual, perennial, and vegetable plants for our retail locations. As part of a pilot program, we implemented Bartlett Instrument controllers in four of our greenhouses along with the Headgrower app.
Prior to implementing Bartlett Instrument controllers, we were in a position familiar to many small to mid-sized businesses in the horticulture industry. We had legacy thermostats from the local hardware store, line voltage temperature controllers, and other, “barn-yard engineered” solutions to environmental control challenges. These were solutions that were necessary for the time but lacked centralized management, and consistent, accurate performance.
Because we no longer make manual adjustments to each building up to four or five times a day, we estimate we’ve saved approximately 1.5 hours of labor per day over the course of our 150-day, spring growing and retailing cycle. This means that our labor savings alone has paid for the investment. Couple that with our opportunity cost savings, energy cost savings, and equipment cost savings, and we think Bartlett Instrument controllers are a great fit for our operation.
As a final note, I want to stress the importance of vetting a potential technology partner for their ability to provide timely support and excellent customer service. Because for many of us in the horticulture industry, we can find technology to be costly, intimidating, and cumbersome to set up, operate, and maintain. Every person with whom I’ve spoken at Bartlett Instrument Company has been easy to reach by phone and email, timely in their responses, and gracious in their attitude. Whether it has been a discussion on how to best customize a system, answering questions about how to do something in the Headgrower app, or speaking with the owners directly, I’ve been impressed at the level to which they will go to make sure our company has success with their products. That alone is worth more than the technology.
I’m looking forward to continuing our relationship with Bartlett Instrument Company as we implement additional controllers throughout our facility.