01 March 2014
Founded in 1999 by Wiebe van der Veen, Flower Trade Consult (FTC) delivers cut tulips from flower farms to stores shelves more quickly. The secret behind the company’s success: purchasing directly from a known and trusted group of Dutch growers.
Working together with local producers, Flower Trade Consult attends to the smooth delivery and sourcing of good quality cut tulips for the European and North American retailing industry. Knowledge of marketing standards and adherence to good practices in terms of product treatment and logistics is an absolute must.
The company prides itself on its fair and transparent fee structure so customers won’t get unexpected bills or over charged. Wiebe, “All suppliers are carefully selected and share FTC’s mission and values. Our biggest customers these days are large supermarket chains in Europe and Northern America. In North America we have teamed up with a tulip farm in Ontario, Canada where we grow tulips for the US-based retailing industry.”
FTC’s customer base knows exactly how the flowers are produced, how the temperature-controlled supply chain is set up and whether the growers the company does business with share their commitment to respect the environment and treat employees fairly. “The Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn, for example, only accepts MPS A and MPS GAP certified flowers ”, explained Wiebe.
Flower Trade Consult works closely with different suppliers in Northern Holland who grow and pack all in one. “This allows us to maintain a reliable and high-quality supply of millions tulips per year.”
Nothing is worse for a shopper than spending a couple of euros/dollars on tulips which die soon after purchase. “Research on the right variety is vital”, emphasised Wiebe. He added, “All our varieties are extensively tested. On consumer level, it should feature strong and upright leaves, a 36cm height, showy flowers that gradually open and a really good shelf life (at least 7 days guaranteed). On retail level, new varieties must be able to withstand transportation logistics, while the bulb farmer would be more interested in yields, forcing performance and disease and pest resistance.”
According to Wiebe the yellow Tulipa ‘Strong Gold’ is close to being the perfect retail tulip. “Its performance throughout the entire supply chain is highly applauded. If all tulips had the same characteristics as ‘Strong Gold’, I reckon we would sell the double amount of flowers.”
FTC’s small team is concentrating of his own area of expertise, mainly purchase in combination with account management. Wiebe, “We differentiate ourselves on the marketplace with one of the shortest supply chains among the Dutch flower trade. Actually, we are managing nearly the whole production process from our headquarters in Bleiswijk – from the arrival of the tulips to the consumer packaging. Our aim is to deliver from flower farms to store shelves more quickly by organising the entire supply chain direct from the grower to the distribution centres of the supermarkets. FTC has a head start in that we are streamlined, competitive and without any excess fat: as lean & mean as possible.”