“Going with Aspire moved us forward regarding our ability to analyze data, react to situations, increase profitability, and become a leaner business.”
Fifty years ago, The Greenery Inc. was a mom-and-pop landscaping company with just two trucks and a small team. Now, The Greenery is among the top 25 landscaping companies in the nation and operates in three states: South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. It’s 100 percent employee-owned with no private equity backing, which creates a unique culture of pride and dedication evident in everyone’s work.
The Greenery specializes in large-scale and high-demand projects, such as vacation resort work, roadside mowing, construction installation, and commercial property maintenance. It is currently a $65–$70 million company with nearly 1,000 employees on the payroll.
About a year ago, The Greenery started looking for ways to advance the company’s technology and gain advantages that would keep the business competitive. The company’s chief technology officer, Janet Davoli, wanted to transition from siloed Excel spreadsheets, pivot tables, and a department-specific software to a solution that integrated operations across all teams.
“When we were vetting our options, we found that competitors were either not landscape-specific or didn’t offer all the bells and whistles we wanted in a business management system,” says Davoli. “That is why we ultimately went with Aspire.”
Once Aspire was implemented at The Greenery, Davoli quickly discovered how many aspects of company operations the software would streamline. Now, the operations team uses Aspire to organize tickets, track hours, communicate with customers and provide estimates. The business development team uses it to follow the progress of a lead from proposal to account management and creation of reports. The accounting team uses Aspire to process accounts receivable, and then Aspire data is transferred into the payroll system for seamless and efficient delivery.
Davoli also appreciates that Aspire provides The Greenery with more visibility into profits and margins with access to real-time data in a cloud-based format. “As the month progresses, we can make adjustments based on where we stand and where we need to be. Before, our adjustments were more reactionary because the data only allowed us
to make changes in coming months rather than adapting on the fly,” reports Davoli.
One of the most positive results of the implementation stemmed from something Davoli wasn’t accounting for: a dedicated trainer who led the process from design to implementation. Along the way, Aspire’s trainer freely shared ideas on how to adapt industry best practices that still worked within The Greenery’s business model.
“You can’t go into a partnership with Aspire thinking you know everything. You go in open-minded and ready to explore new possibilities, ones you didn’t even know existed, that make your business better,” Davoli says. “We had been successful before Aspire, but we wanted to try other opportunities that the trainer believed could make our business better than we realized it could be."
Davoli describes the process of integrating Aspire as moving from a crawl to a walk to a run. It began with streamlining day-to-day operations and evolved into the ability to easily segment data, pull reports, and identify focus areas on a daily basis.
“Aspire moved us forward regarding our ability to analyze data, react to situations, increase profitability, and become a leaner business, but we’re still learning what we really have to work with. We want to run. There is more analysis to be done and more efficiencies to tap into,” says Davoli.
Based on the past year of experience, Davoli has gathered a few pieces of advice for companies conside ring switching to Aspire:
“Spend the time upfront to get your design correct. Approach the process step-by-step and make adjustments as you figure out what works for your business,” she says. “At the same time, be open to trying new ideas that Aspire will help you discover.”
When it comes to change, Davoli suggests, “You don’t want to change everything about who you are, and you don’t want to change your culture. You want to use the tools that are available in Aspire to become even better than you are today.”
“Going with Aspire moved us forward regarding our ability to analyze data,react to situations, increase profitability, and become a leaner business.”
– Janet Davoli, Chief Technology Officer, The Greenery