Netherlands: Fred van Tol, Manager of International Development at Royal FloraHolland, writes in the latest edition FloraCulture International, July-August 2021
“Recently, I had the opportunity to guide several Embassy Delegates around our location in Aalsmeer. For a visit to our site, we took care of the safety measures to meet each other, testing and all wearing facemasks.
Our dynamic and highly organised trading site for flowers left the ambassador and his entourage with a lasting impression. What they saw was a beehive of activity with thousands of trolleys with flowers and potted plants being distributed efficiently and quickly, after being auctioned off earlier that morning.
Looking down from the visitors’ footbridge on this huge process made me proud of the Royal FloraHolland cooperative and its members. I am proud of being part of this floricultural Industry. When you’re active in the floral business for many years, you sometimes forget what a joy we bring to the world. All products grown with passion and dedication come together at our marketplaces with only one purpose: finding their way to the places of thousands of consumers.
Presenting this process to people from outside the industry opens up your eyes again.
When I take people around our marketplaces, they are always impressed. They find it hard to believe that we can organise a commercial and logistic process at our marketplaces where products, which were harvest yesterday, find their way to the wholesalers and afterwards to their final destination around the globe within 24 hours.
And it is not hard to imagine why they are so impressed. During the day, we collect all the products coming in from several destinations, both from local and international production areas. All products are stored according to the required cold regime.
Then in the morning, the commercial process is started by our auctioneers, who steer the digital auction clock and try to get the best price out of the market.
No matter how many trolleys there are to be auctioned, they are always prepared with the actual market situation to know the different products and specifications to inform the buyers during the buying process. Of course, all the digital information is available on the laptop via the remote buying application.
After the commercial transaction is made, trolleys are taken out of their storage and sent towards the distribution area — an almost fully automated process. Our logistics department is well-organised in the distribution area to ensure that the products are split between the different buyers and sent to the wholesalers’ booth within the delivery timeslot.
Since we switched from a distribution process based on the virtual information printed on the logistic labels to a voice-controlled process, where all the information is mentioned on the headphones this is even more efficient. Our process starts at six o’clock in the morning and between ten and twelve o’clock, depending on the quantities we are finalising for this daily process. More than 100,000 transactions happen on an average day; they are then delivered and on their way to the consumer.
At Royal FloraHolland, we bring joy and happiness to the consumers and our growers and buyers – we do that with a big passion for flowers and plants. I hope that you all find the time to be proud of your work.”