Lightweight, or upweight?

In the past three years, our industry in Ecuador has suffered some important changes. Some of these changes have come from within the industry, others from the natural economic processes of product/service substitution. E-commerce has shaken our logistics, actually it is still changing air freight and generating heavy impacts in terms of the actual value of its service and how it can become a threat to our industry.

Some have suggested that the solution is to pursue standard sizing boxes, others pursue approaching this as a volume to weight ratio issue. Standard boxing is a solution that works more like tetris (the game), where boxes fit almost perfectly between each other; no matter the amount of flowers within each box. Through a volume to weight ratio approach, box sizing doesn’t matter much (it always does), but keeping a very strict policy of a 1:1 relationship between the real weight and volume weight of each box; hence forcing you to do a standard packaging within the box (number of flowers).

This dilemma was approached by Expoflores two years ago. You will be amazed at the results of our study. We collected data from farms, freight forwarders and  from cargo airplane pallets where we saw the different arrangements depending on the airline/airplane. As an industry we can improve our occupancy by at least 35% which is the gap between real weight and volume weight! That is a huge number!

Curious fact from our study, this 35% corresponds only to an improvement in being strict with the volume to weight ratio and a better packaging. The possible improvement by trying to use standard size boxing is more difficult to measure in an exact amount. This improvements can only happen if all of us get together and learn how to do this. From my point of view, we need to work on both sides, not at the same time, first the volume to weight ratio policy, than the standard sizing boxes.

This is not a growers project, everyone needs to get involved, importers, wholesalers, even florists! For starters, importers and wholesalers need to know what amount of flowers from any given grower can fit on a box with 1:1 volume to weight ratio and use those numbers to purchase flowers, they would save a lot of money on freight! Give it a try! On our website you can find more information and graphic data to help you do your numbers!.

At the end, it is not a matter of putting more flowers in the same box, it is a matter of putting a package with the right amount of flowers for that volume, and making a better profit.

Alejandro Martinez,

President Expoflores, Ecuador

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