Posted by Brittany Dervan
Mother’s Day is around the corner and it is one of the most popular days of the year for the flower industry. According to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation, U.S. consumers plan to spend $2.6 billion on flowers just this year on Mother’s Day. When this much money is on the line, it is crucial for flower companies to have control over their supply chain and deliver flowers on time and in the best condition.
The flower industry cold supply chain is complicated and relies heavily on everything going smoothly. Flowers are often grown in places like Colombia and then have to travel by plane to the United States, go through customs, and then get sent to a refrigerated warehouse before even reaching a flower shop, grocery store or the end consumer. This process leaves a lot of room for error since flowers are so delicate and rely on being stored at the right temperature at all times.
The importance of reliable technology to measure and control the many variables is critical. Most importantly, knowing where your shipment is so you can adjust in case of delays or failures in the chain is among the most important. According to David Hartstein, CEO of KaBloom, a truck delivery of flowers around a popular holiday often contains 700-800 boxes which retail for around $200 each. If something happens to this shipment, it can have serious implications to those flowers and can be a costly mistake and lead to unmet demand.
IoT is a hot topic right now, and it is becoming a key component in the supply chain. The cold chain should include technology to monitor factors like temperature, humidity and location of product along the chain; science to understand the limitations of perishable goods and ability to ensure optimal freshness and efficiency of process - the optimal steps to be taken along the way through the path from source to consumer. “Industry experts note that in general, there is an average of 40% waste due to unsold flowers alone, this amounts to approximately $1.04 billion per year," said David Bairstow, VP of Product at Skyhook. "It is evident that there is massive scope for improvement. If introducing IoT into the cold supply chain leads to decrease in waste by even 10%, that would result in more than $100 million of savings.”
In this intricate industry, it is crucial that the supply chain is efficient and effective at all times. One mishap can lead to an expensive mistake. Location and IoT can both help reduce risk in the supply chain and ensure the best outcome and a happy mom.