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The long and short of EOPs

By |  October 12, 2020 0 Comments
Headshot: Rick Mooney

Rick Mooney

Throughout my years in the industry, I have seen early order programs evolve to become a useful tool for my facility and ownership. It is not every day that someone comes along with a program that lets you commit to purchase, deliver and pay eight to nine months later at a discount. It is important to realize this program has benefits for the manufacture and distributor as well, but let’s focus on what the end-user benefits are.

Let me explain why these programs are well suited for Whitetail Club.

You may argue my point, but here are my thoughts.

Our largest turf threats are winter kill and snow mold, so we spray our largest and most expensive applications headed into fall and winter. This program then becomes an order. We receive and utilize the product, while paying on extended terms with program pricing and rebates.

From my perspective, this means the distributor and the manufacturer are taking the greatest risk.

When entering into these agreements, I evaluate a number of factors. Price is at the top of the list. We all have limited resources, and stretching our budgets as far as they can go becomes the top priority to many facilities. I am blessed, and we are able to make our decisions based on a number of factors.

I recommend everyone do their homework and figure out what the net cost to your facility will be and make sound decisions based on your short- and long-term needs.

When I discuss short-term needs, this may relate only to pricing and what the product will deliver in the moment. The long-term needs become more difficult to define. My list includes new product development, educational opportunities, product support in the field and strong support to our industry, associations and universities.
Many of these things are hard to put a value on, so you must be your own judge of how this pertains to and provides benefit to your facility.

In my opinion, companies that offer continuing education for myself and our team factor into my decision-making. I believe that a highly educated staff with ongoing learning and networking opportunities provides the best long-term benefits to my company and the industry.

These qualities are always a factor in my decision-making. I also know the companies that have established relationships with me or my vendor and who will stand behind the product if something does not work as planned. It is important to maintain relationships with allied partners.

The most effective way to make the best decisions is to do your agronomic plan of what your needs will be for the next 12 months. This will assist you in compiling a necessary shopping list.

Just like at the grocery store, companies hope you will make impulse buys with the bundling and discounting of larger quantities. While these bundles can be a great option, you need to make sure you and your company have the specific need. If you live in a remote location where distributor access can take up to a couple of days for shipment, I recommend creating a par level of inventory of items that might need to be addressed in an immediate time frame.

I also believe that looking at the cost of a 14-day application versus a 21-day or 28-day application makes sense. A 14-day application may cost 50 percent less in material, but when you add the cost, application including fuel, personnel and equipment depreciation, it may be more expensive in the long run. With the information available today, we try to make decisions based on modeling and growing degree days. For those who have not looked at these tools, I encourage you to do so.

Early order programs have, and will be, a part of my programming as long as they are being offered. How and why you use them and what manufacturers you choose should be based on you and your business’ needs and goals.


Rick Mooney is vice president of maintenance and development, Shore Lodge | Whitetail Club, McCall, Idaho, and is this year’s Herb Graffis Businessperson of the Year.



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