Unsurprisingly, distributors who supply major retailers such as supermarkets and other chain stores with flowers and plants, want to do so as efficiently as possible. Venlo-based Flower Power is one such distributor. The company looks after the in-store presentation, layout and the supply of self-service displays in no fewer than 150 German supermarkets. The aim was to do away with much of the repetitive manual labour and mounds of paperwork involved in the process.
Flower Power was won over by the latest mobile solution offered by Alfa Pro-IT. A few weeks ago, handwritten notebooks and paper invoices became a thing of the past. "We have issued all our drivers with tablets on which they can now register everything,’ explains managing director Wim Linssen. ‘This can normally done online, so the details can be processed immediately via our admin software. With digital invoices now being sent at the touch of a key, physical handling of the paperwork has been consigned to history."
That must save a great deal of time and reduce costs? "You’re not joking!", Wim reacts. "Not to mention no longer having to register unsold products which are returned. The driver simply enters the information on the tablet there and then. Previously all that would have all been done manually. Back in the office, admin would have had to sort out all the paperwork and that would take a great deal of time. Not only that, the system was more susceptible to errors, so we no longer have that problem."
Of course, it requires investment. But Flower Power is confident that the costs of the exercise will be quickly recouped. "And that’s not just because of more efficient working practices," explains Wim. "It also fits in well with our plan to present Flower Power as an all-round digital concept. A platform on which consumers can also find additional information and inspiration via the QR codes on our products, for example. It’s simple and interactive. What’s more, the system also allows us to extract ‘big data’ which will help us to fine tune our own purchasing methods. Needless to say, it’s led to huge savings in costs."
When we spoke to them, the Alfa Pro-IT mobile solution had been up and running at Flower Power for just 3 weeks. "Of course, everyone has to get used to the new way of working," Wim explains. "In that respect we’re delighted the system is so easy to use. Various functionalities have been specially developed for our own organisation. In the beginning, we might come up against something that doesn’t quite work in practice. We feed that information back and it gets adapted. So in next to no time, you have a system that meets all your needs!"