Big Grower March 2019 - 6

Knox Nursery was one of the early
adopters of the jumbo Ellepots - the
degradable paper pots that help promote
root growth and provide labor savings.
The paper pots allow for quick removal
and faster planting; better rooting
efficiency and are landscaper friendly.
At Knox Horticulture, more than 160 " family members " produce 5,000+ different products for growers
across the country on 25 acres of production space in central Florida.
" We have a weather advantage when it is most
important [during the winter months], " Knox
states. " We have a moderate climate. We are
blessed to have one of the best climates for light
so we don't have to do a lot of supplemental
lighting. It creates a foundation for a better liner. "
" We have the ability to send out pre-budded
product in low-light conditions to the rest of the
country. Our environmental conditions really
separate us from the competition, " he adds.
" My parents' philosophy was to always try to
grow exceptional quality plant materials and
charge a fair price for it, " Knox says. " I think that
is still a major part of our philosophy today but the
quality standard has been raised by the industry
and that is just an expectation of our customers. "
Knox says the challenge for the company
today is to separate itself from the other young
plant producers. That is why the company puts a
major emphasis on its customer service.
" Customer service is what differentiates us
from our competitors today, " Knox says.
The company works very closely with the broker
community who help deliver the company's
message to growers across the country.
" You have to have a superior customer service
team, " Mullen remarks. " Our customer service
team has become so important to our success
because of their relationships with the individuals
at the broker companies and their customers. "
" During every interaction, we need to thank
our customers for their business. We never take
them for granted, " Knox adds. " The customer is
our lifeblood. Without them we have nothing. "
Knox Horticulture's production processes take
advantage of the opportunities that automation
and computer technology provide. " There is
always constant change, " Mullen says.
" If you are not evolving and changing, you are
going to become stale and die. We are always
looking for ways we can change [for the better]
and innovate! "
One of those innovations is the use of radio
frequency identification (RFID) technology.
Mullen says the company was an early adopter
of the technology. Over the years, and through
some trial and error, the company developed its
own custom RFID system that allows products
to be tracked throughout the greenhouse all the
way to shipping dock.
" We recognized the value of the technology
immediately. We were able design a system
that worked for us. It has helped us identify
inventory as well as make sure we ship the
right product to the customer every time, "
Mullen says.
" We were the first grower in the U.S.
to adopt an 80-mm Ellepot [for finished
products]. That really separated us
from the marketplace and gave us a
competitive advantage " with landscapers,
Knox says.
Because of the success with Ellepots, the
company bought the equipment to make
its own pots (see photo above), named
EZ-Pots, and sells them to other growers.
Today, all of the vegetative product
produced by Knox Horticulture is
produced in EZ pots.
The EZ-Pot system allows growers to
choose the size pot and media type and
then Knox Horticulture will produce the
pots for them. They are available in a wide
variety of sizes and tray configurations.
" We palletize them, shrink wrap them
and ship them to customers across the
country, " Knox says.
The company even has an online
store - The Home of the EZ-Pot -
on its website ( http://www.BIGGROWER.COM

Big Grower March 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Big Grower March 2019

Big Grower March 2019 - 1
Big Grower March 2019 - 2
Big Grower March 2019 - 3
Big Grower March 2019 - 4
Big Grower March 2019 - 5
Big Grower March 2019 - 6
Big Grower March 2019 - 7
Big Grower March 2019 - 8
Big Grower March 2019 - 9
Big Grower March 2019 - 10
Big Grower March 2019 - 11
Big Grower March 2019 - 12