End of Season Planning

End of Season Planning

By Aaron Hoyt

We’ve reached that time of year where we are no longer mowing on a regular basis. The end of the season can be challenging for a variety of reasons. Things such as number of mows left, weather, and number of available employees all affect end of season planning.

The mowing schedule is delicately balanced throughout the season. As operation managers, it’s our job to find the balance between mowing consistently on irrigated sites and skipping sites that are not irrigated, to avoid cutting when the heat is at its worst, which could possibly damage the turf. Skipping sites has an added benefit for contracts with a fixed number of mows, allowing mowing occurrences to be available at the end of the year. This enables us to take care of growth during an unseasonably warm November or December, or to blow leaves and mulch them with mowers. This is extremely helpful when maintaining any site.

At the end of the season, not only are we trying to plan mowing to ensure our customers’ sites are well manicured throughout the winter, we are also scheduling fall cleanups, trimming trees, and planting bulbs that will bloom in the spring. In addition, this is the time of year when seasonal employee contracts are ending and our workforce shrinks. Now we are scheduling activities such as leaf removal that require multiple people to finish, with fewer people to get the work done.

At first glance the end of the season appears to be a logistical nightmare. And without planning and preparation, it could be exactly that. However, by using scheduling software that gives us a long-range view for the year, meeting weekly as a department to discuss planning and production, and communicating daily with our operations teams, we turn what could be hectic and chaotic into a well-planned process that exceeds our customers’ expectations while keeping us busy and successful through the end of the year and into spring.