There is something magical when a bouquet of long stem roses lasts two weeks on the dining room table. That “magic” is thanks to a well managed cold supply chain. The fresh floral supply chain is complex and requires extensive logistics and technology to ensure flowers remain in good condition for sale at the local florist shop.
The majority of consumers rate the freshness and quality of flowers as their top priority when making a purchasing decision. Delivering quality wholesale flowers consistently, all year around is the challenge all floral distributors have to overcome. Consumer expectations directly affect the value of the floral products, so maintaining a seamless supply chain is your top priority throughout the entire product journey.
“A minor quality remark by quality controllers at the auction floor can lead to a decrease in the price of 5% to 10%. Therefore, cold chain management (CCM) is an important issue in the cut flower business.”
Source: Floriculture Magazine
When managing an international cold supply chain there are many points at which the floral products could be compromised. With such a small time window from cut to consumer, the floral distribution industry must continuously strive for a perfected system in which the quality and integrity of the floral products remain intact. Various technologies working together offer floral distributors a unified solution that will improve the management of their supply chain.
Here are three technologies that could have a positive impact on the floral distribution industry.
Establishing a temperature monitoring solution for your cold supply chain is vital to maintaining the high-quality floral products. One hot truck or freezing fridge can cause an entire order of lilies to become compost. Temperature monitoring will make all levels of the supply chain accountable for maintaining the optimal conditions for each specific plant's requirement.
“Temperature monitoring and control are judged to be the solution to 90% of the quality problems, starting when the product is harvested on the farm.”
Source: Floriculture Magazine
Time-Temperature Indicator (TTI) technology offers a solution to help growers and distributors pinpoint problem areas in the supply chain. TTI’s allow the distributor to track the cumulative time and temperature history of the floral products throughout the supply chain life-cycle. TTIs can identify fluctuations within the cold supply chain, which can determine areas that need improvement.
Related Article - Can Technology Keep Floral Distributors Thriving ?
RFID Inventory Management
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is widely used in the agri-food industry because it offers seamless data collection on products without any human intervention. When a product is assigned an RFID code, it can be tracked throughout the entire supply chain life-cycle, providing insight into when and where the product is shipped and stored.
“The main advantage of adopting RFID technology in the traceability of goods, in the supply chain management, is related to quality especially when processing/storage temperature comes into play”
Source: Food and Bioprocess Technology
RFID tracking, paired with temperature monitoring, offers complete product visibility without human intervention. As a result, the data is much more reliable and accurate.
RFID technology has been widely adopted as a supply chain management strategy because it provides superior data tracking, providing insight on how products are stored and transported. This data can be used to improve the cold chain management of products and result in a standardized solution for the floral distribution industry.
RFID tracking, paired with temperature monitoring, offers complete product visibility without human intervention. As a result, the data is much more reliable and accurate. RFID technology has been widely adopted as a supply chain management strategy because it provides superior data tracking, providing insight on how products are stored and transported. This data can be used to improve the cold chain management of products and result in a standardized solution for the floral distribution industry.
Learn more about the evolution of technology in the greenhouse industry.
Integrated Supply Chain Management
Supply chain visibility results in an effective solution to maintaining quality products and provide your business with a more efficient process for managing your inventory. All floral distributors and growers should be adopting a just-in-time delivery strategy to maintain high-quality floral products.
A manual ordering process taxes your administration process, causing time delays that cuts into your shipment window. Time directly affects the quality and freshness of floral products, so optimizing your shipment process within the supply chain is essential. Inventory visibility between distributors and growers can reduce time spent on administration, increase the accuracy of orders and result in less waste.
Supply chain technology that offers distributors access to their growers real-time inventory availability allows them to order with confidence, knowing that what they see is what they get. An integrated online ordering solution offers distributors and growers greater visibility, more control over their inventory and a huge decrease in the need for manual data entry.
The 21st century has been appropriately labeled the age of information and this is because of the amount of data readily available. Every new tool is generating a vast array of data that is driving intelligence which can be utilized for more insights in the management of your supply chain.
Think of all sources of data from RFID, customer surveys, CRM transactions and call logs and you appreciate that supply management will soon be driven by big data just like the many modernized processes in 2020 and beyond.
OrderEase offers a completely integrated supply chain solution for floral distributors and growers. Ultimately, the goal is to have the tools that provide you with a more efficient and effective way to order and ship product, resulting in a much shorter time-to-market
Better cold chain management within the floral distribution industry will directly equate to an increase in consumer floral sales. Increased longevity of floral products and a decrease in supply chain management is a win-win for everyone along the journey.