Company History

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Nursery Sales System, 1993

C-Ware, Inc. developed its first custom nursery application for Bizon Nursery in 1993. Then it was called Nursery Sales System, or NSS, for short. Necessity is the Mother of all inventions and Bizon Nursery desired a program to solve basic inventory needs such as stock and order entry. It also had to solve a real problem of allocating the stock to the current orders. The current allocation process required printing a 100+ page report, scribbling allocation adjustments on it and then entering those changes, only to repeat the whole process again and again until the numbers worked.

Bizon Nursery needed a view of their inventory that would summarize the supplies in the field and the demand from customer orders. Next, the system had to allow easy and direct methods of adjusting the amounts allocated to each order, item by item. Finally, if the software were to work for the horticulture industry, it would need to handle botanical names, botanical forms, grading and other plant-centric attributes.

At the time NSS was written there were a number of applications capable of managing inventory, some specifically horticulture related, so why develop another application entirely? Some applications were too complicated, a literal flood of numbers. Others recorded all of the obvious inventory statistics but failed to speak to the nurseryman and solve any real problems like stock allocation. Changing the amount allocated to a single order, or entering a substitution, can shift the balance of supply and demand. Being able to see that shift in real-time made NSS priceless.

"Opal" The Java Version, 1999

NSS was originally written in a computer language called C++. Although the application was extremely fast and efficient, after four years of use, it lacked the new visual controls and usability features found in other programming languages like Java. Therefore, NSS was rewritten using Java and the project was code named "Opal." Opal added more printing features, and with new visual controls, it improved the overall plant search features.

The New World, 2001

In the Fall of 2001, a new project was started: Garden World. Garden World was a new direction for horticulture sales by selling plants on consignment. This new concept of consignment brought product from local growers to market, creating a complete one-stop shopping experience.

Past endeavors were attempted by building "cooperatives" but failed because plant material was consolidated and the profits split on participation. The diversity of products and quality from one grower to the next made it nearly impossible to divide the profits equitably. They lacked the ability to track the ownership of the plants.

Garden World needed to track thousands of trees so that their respective grower received appropriate credit at the point of sale. Impressed with Opal's simple method of managing inventory numbers, Garden World partnered with C-Ware to write the inventory control and point of sale system needed to make this project a reality.

Besides tracking 25,000+ individual plants, another challenge for Garden World was the logistics of supporting the software needs of a dozen nurseries who consigned the plants. Their just-in-time consignment inventory would require weekly orders to maintain a steady flow of plant material.

C-Ware designed and developed PlantX.net to solve these problems. While PlantX.net used features from Opal to organize Garden World's extensive catalog and tagged plants, new technology was needed to help growers collaborate on weekly orders for the just-in-time inventory. To make it work, this new technology would have to work for the wholesale nursery as well as Garden World.

PlantX.net, 2006

After five years of development, C-Ware completed the suite of PlantX.net applications, encompassing the need to track thousands of plants, and manage orders and inventory for any number of wholesale growers. The highlight of the project was the creation of a new technology that allowed all of this to be done over the Internet.

To achieve the goals of Garden World and its consignment wholesale nurseries, C-Ware created a new method of distributing software and data over the Internet. The Remote Proxy EngineTM, or RPE, is a revolutionary approach to software over the Internet, making it possible to collaborate with peers, vendors and customers in real-time. The RPE technology is the backbone of all of C-Ware's applications including PlantX.net.

Not only did the PlantX.net solution fulfill Garden World's consignment tracking and just-in-time inventory needs, it created a complete on-demand solution for wholesale nurseries. Now individual wholesale nurseries can use PlantX.net to run their daily operations on-line, anywhere, anytime.

Why call it PlantX.net?

We thought "Internet Hosted On-Demand Nursery Software" was a little long. Actually, the name comes from an abbreviation of "Plant Exchange Network", like a stock exchange, where stock values are constantly changing and published in real-time.

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