What are "Virtual" Customers and How Do You Use Them?
Modified on: Sun, 28 Nov, 2021 at 2:57 AM
Most of your Customers will, hopefully, be real people or business - like "Bob's Café", that make real Orders and pay you real money for your Products. Based on these customers' orders, SeedLeaf calculates how much of each Crop to sow and then generates the soaking, sowing, uncovering, harvesting, packing and delivery Tasks associated with each of these Crops.
But you can also create a "Virtual" Customer to account for additional Crop volumes beyond your "sow-to-order" needs. You do this by creating Customers that are not actual clients, but rather are "purposes" for sowing a Crop.
The basic goal of Virtual Customers is to ensure the number of Crops you sow always matches the number of Crops SeedLeaf prompts you to sow. In other words, if you're going to sow extra Crops for something other than your Orders (i.e., samples), you should account for those sowings in SeedLeaf. You do this by utilizing Virtual Customers.
We suggest the following Virtual Customers, which may help make this whole Virtual Customer fiasco much more clear:
The "Buffer" Customer, or "Buff" as we like to call it, is used to sow extra Crop to buffer you against new Orders and additions to existing Orders. In short, it gives you some extra Crop to work with at each harvest - also useful if you are getting inconsistent yields.
You can also use your farm name as the Buffer Customer, so you are, in fact, sowing Crops for yourself, which can then be allocated to a real Customer later if need be.
The "Samples" Customer is used to sow extra Crop that you will use to create Product samples for attracting new Customers or to give new Product samples to existing Customers. The amount of sample Crop you sow will help you set goals for how many samples you send out, or vice versa
The "Staff" Customer is pretty obvious. You can either have a Customer called "staff" where you put in Orders for all your staff, or you can create a Customer for each individual staff member.
The "Trials" Customer is good for experimental crops - this might be testing a new Crop or testing a new seed lot for an existing Crop.
Now, why is this important? There are two aspects of your production that are affected by Virtual Customers:
Production cost records
Let's say you are not using Virtual Customers. It is a Monday, and SeedLeaf prompts you to sow 35 trays of sunflower. You know you want to hand out some samples so you decide to sow 38 trays of sunflower, so you have some extra Crop. This creates three potential problems for you:
Friday comes along and your SeedLeaf Tasks list tells you it is time to uncover your sunflower Crop. It tells you to uncover 35 trays, but you actually have 38 trays growing. Confusing, right? This can result in trays not getting uncovered.
Harvest day comes along the following Tuesday and your packing report has no record of any samples, making them easy to overlook or forget.
When you look at your reports for this Harvest date, SeedLeaf will only have done expense calculations (coming soon) on 35 trays, thus under-reporting your production costs for that Harvest.
So you see, Virtual Customers can be useful in keeping your production running smooth and error free. Check out this article on transferring product between real and Virtual Customers to better understand how to best utilize the "Buffer" Customer.
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