‘Uncertainty is the last thing you want in logistical planning’

In our everyday lives we hardly ever stop and wonder how products and services come about. We open up the morning paper and read about the outcome of an issue that politicians voted on at the end of the previous day. We’ve got perfectly clear telephone contact with people on the other side of the world and we’re surprised when an e-mail doesn’t arrive immediately. We’ve simply come to expect it. Just like we expect to find fresh flowers at the florist’s. Flowers that were freshly cut and auctioned that same morning.

The fact that our joint achievements are actually quite extraordinary, only becomes visible when people visit the auction. Visitors are always impressed when they see how millions of plants and flowers make their way to the right customers. Growers and buyers both aim high when it comes to the logistical process. And rightly so. When plants and flowers leave our premises, they still have a way to go before they reach their final destination: a florist or supermarket in the Netherlands or abroad.

Every hour counts. In our day-to-day service, delivery times are not just an aim, but objectives that simply have to be met. And do we always meet them? Unfortunately not. Especially on peak days, like during the run-up to Valentine’s Day, we’re sometimes dealing with more supply than expected. Leading to an increase in the number of transactions and the number of actions, especially in last-mile distribution.

The lead times in Aalsmeer, Naaldwijk and Rijnsburg in the week before Valentine’s Day were generally a lot shorter than during the same week last year. I’m pleased about that. The measures that we took, such as extra staff and trolleys and numerous other small improvements in the logistical process, seemed to have paid off.

But there’s always room for further improvement and that’s what we’re working on all the time. Not without a helping hand from technological developments. We’re now able to communicate expected delivery times in real time. With a special app, our customers know what to expect.

Uncertainty is the last thing you want in logistical planning. Taking away that uncertainty is part of our service. The ultimate goal is that everyone simply knows that their plants and flowers will be shipped to the final destination at the agreed time. Including on peak days.

Steven van Schilfgaarde,

CEO FloraHolland

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