The opportunities and possibilities of a single packaging unit sticker

In the floriculture chain, placing stickers on orders is essential for processing the products further down the chain. Many different types of stickers are used for this. 'Not ideal' according to many growers. That is why Floriday is looking into introducing a single 'sector sticker' that growers, buyers, and their customers can use to organize processes more efficiently. Which possibilities does this provide for growers and buyers? They spoke about this with Danny van Bergen-Henegouwen, Purchasing Director of FM Group.

The flower branch of FM Group purchases around 13,000 trade items annually from 125 growers with whom they have a long-standing relationship. More than two-thirds are purchased directly and one-third via the auction. At FM Group, 78% of what comes in leaves the same day, 15% the following day, and only 4% the day after. What sets FM Group apart is that they can make large volumes small for their long-standing customers and process them at a rapid pace. At the location in Aalsmeer, approximately 4,000 to 4,500 packaging units are processed per hour. Theoretically speaking, a lorry could be fully loaded every twelve minutes. This happens a few times a year, on public holidays and Mother's Day. The conveyor belt is 125 meters long and has 25 side lanes with spots for customers (large and small).

Sticker process
The lots that arrive at FM Group often already contain a barcode of the supplier, usually at lot level. FM Group places a sticker – at packaging unit level – over this. The conveyor belt then reads which customer this is for and pushes it out at the right spot for the right customer. 

The possibilities of a single sector sticker
"We currently attach a customer sticker for each bucket, often over the grower's sticker. Our ambition is for it to no longer be necessary to attach extra stickers. You could also say that you have one sticker for the entire process. In that way, we would truly make an efficiency improvement as a sector. That also means that we will have to adapt our software and solutions to the conveyor belt. The current set-up at our company is still very visual, but soon if employees scan a sticker, they will immediately be able to see where the trolley has to go. We are not set up for that yet. That can be achieved if we work in a uniform way, and an extra sticker may still ultimately be needed for the internal distribution at the buyer," Danny said.

Specifying the contents and order of the trolley in advance
Stef Visser, developer at Floriday, states that it should be possible for the grower to specify the contents and the order of the trolley via Floriday. "A grower doesn't have to know precisely which sticker will be placed on which packaging unit. It is primarily a verification system. This is something we want to implement with Floriday."

In the future, Floriday will offer the possibility to provide an Advance Shipping Notice (ASN) with the transaction. This means that a prior notice of shipment will be sent to the buyer, including information about the composition of the trolleys.

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