Are you planning to surprise your mom with flowers this weekend for Mother's Day? If so, you're not alone; Mother's Day is an incredibly popular holiday for the sales of both potted plants and fresh-cut flowers. Ensuring that these beautiful blooms make it to the shelves on time comes with all the demand and logistics planning associated with holiday products, but also involves the additional challenges associated with cold-chain products.
Many of the most popular flower types in North America do not naturally grow well in most of the climate regions of the continent. This means that these species are often grown in greenhouses, or are grown in other areas and transported considerable distance to where they will be sold. No matter how or where they are grown, flowers are harvested and transported in a similar way.
Flowers are generally harvested prior to blooming, to ensure there is time to transport the flowers before wilting begins. Upon harvesting, flowers need to be cooled to prevent premature blooming and wilting, as well as given adequate moisture to prevent drying. Ideally, the supply chain would be managed in a way which allows the flowers to remain in this cool and moist environment for the entire storage and transportation process without interruption, but this ideal isn't always reality. Often delays at customs, shortage of distribution vehicles, or reefer unit failures during distribution can cause unplanned temperature warming which can impact the quality of the flowers.
To mitigate the risks associated with unplanned warming events, the fresh-cut flower supply chain focuses on efficiency and speed. Even when perfectly maintained, cut flowers have a narrow time-frame in which they remain fresh, but when cooling fails this time frame narrows significantly. For this reason, all steps in flower supply chains work to reduce unnecessary waiting time, to ensure better quality flowers reach their destination and can be sold before wilting.
Another challenge associated with flower supply chains is the prevalence of mixed-flower bouquets. In a bouquet of all roses, for example, each flower will be relatively similar in required temperature, moisture level needs, and in freshness time-frames. However, the same cannot be said for mixed bouquets where each species of flower will have different requirements. Distributors and retailers must consider the differences between the flowers they are carrying to ensure that each flower is properly maintained.
Customers are picky about flower quality, especially since they are often purchased as a gift for special occasions. Since flowers are delicate, great care must be taken during their transport to ensure the preservation of their beautiful petals and leaves. Retailers must also take care to ensure the flowers are well maintained so that customers have the best possible flowers available for their Mother's Day gifts. After all, doesn't mom deserve the best?
Routeique can help companies to overcome these and a variety of other supply chain and logistical challenges. Check out our solutions pages to see how we can help manufacturers, distributors, importers, retailers, consumers, and field service providers.