Agent IQ Flowers conducts all sales via Floriday: “We simulate reality digitally”30 June 2020
Yunus and Yakup Ozdemir run IQ Flowers (located in Honselersdijk). IQ Flowers was founded in 2011 to support flower growers from Europe, Africa, Asia and South America in particular in their supply to the Netherlands and the UK. As an agent, they bridge the gap between growers and the Dutch and English markets. In addition, IQ Flowers offers flowers directly from the grower for delivery to customers all over the world. In this interview we ask Yakup a number of questions.
Can you tell us a little more about your role as an agent?
We are an agent for 6 growers from Kenya. This means that we receive products, conduct quality control, put the flowers in water and prepare them for sale. We are responsible for the auction supply as a whole: creating the delivery form, taking pictures and transport within the auction. We do everything that has to be done in the Netherlands for these growers, even when a correction needs to be made or there is a problem with the product. We talk to customers about the price, the differences in numbers and quality every day.
Many growers in other countries are not sure how they should supply to Royal FloraHolland's marketplace. They are looking for security in terms of the market and see it as an opportunity. We give them advice; we look at the varieties, numbers, lengths, etc. When both parties believe in it, we prepare a booking at the airline and arrange transport and sale.
We also work with summer flowers in Turkey. We sell seeds and bulbs and give advice to nurseries that want to join the flower business or want to expand. We advise on the best varieties to grow and in which quantities. IQ Flowers buys the bulbs or seeds for the grower and helps the grower with cultivation and sale, and also with harvesting, packing, preparing and sending.
How does Floriday support you in this process?
We used to work with Excel a lot, but we have now completely switched to Floriday for sending EAB forms to the auction, for the clock and direct sales. Two months ago, we had problems with the software package we were using then. We started using Floriday out of necessity. One Sunday evening we set up the catalogue and sent the delivery forms to the auction. Because we wanted to start working with Floriday at the end of the year anyways, we thought 'better too early than too late'. Since then, we have been using Floriday to keep track of stock, send clock deliveries, offer for clock presales, direct sales and repackaging from box to water via Floriday.
Were you able to immediately get started via Floriday?
So far it has worked well and has been useful. We have not had any technical difficulties yet. Loading speed could be improved, in our opinion, but this may have something to do with our own internet connection. I also have some additional wishes that I would like to see, such as the ability to enter multiple forms at the same time or to offer multiple lots of the same product at the same auction. I am in close contact with a Floriday employee in order to communicate these matters.
Geert Jan van der Kooij, Floriday expert, often speaks with IQ Flowers. Geert Jan: "We can identify the wishes and take care of them. These wishes can be taken into consideration quickly, depending on what we are developing. Other matters will take a little longer to be dealt with. The platform is never finished, we are always developing. We would be happy to receive feedback from our users, so that we can create a platform that is easy for them to use."
Why is Floriday suitable for your role as an agent?
Floriday gives us insight in order to repack shipments from other countries. As soon as we receive the products, we enter the packing list into Floriday. The flowers are delivered in boxes and we repack them in water, in auction buckets. After repacking them, we know exactly what we can offer for sale. We register the new numbers in Floriday and then we divide them across direct sales, clock deliveries and clock presales via Floriday. Many of the products leave the same day; we are left with a small percentage for the next day. We always have something in stock, always fresh.
How do you feel about digitisation?
The digitisation of our company was already pretty advanced. Maybe this has something to do with my age, but I already did a large part of my work digitally. The work that we do has to be performed physically. Everything around it is digital. This year our administration was fully digitalised too. We no longer have papers on our desks. We feel that we are leading the way within the auction. We want to do everything 100% digitally as quickly as possible.
For our sales we only work with Floriday and we use the app Insights for all information. We also plan to set up a webshop for our customers. The intention is to create a link between Floriday and our webshop, so that we do not have to enter double information. We are still unsure whether we need a webshop, because Floriday is quite handy. In Floriday you can use HortiHeat and offer on FloraXchange and FloraMondo.
We also made arrangements with a number of growers to offer their products via Floriday. Buyers can find these products on FloraMondo and FloraXchange. As soon as we sell something, they take care of handling it and we send the invoice back and forth.
And how are you preparing for 100% Digital for direct trade?
A few weeks ago we created direct orders via Floriday for the first time. We still receive many phone calls from buyers when they want to place an order. I currently still create the orders myself in Floriday. By the end of this year, buyers will have to accept the order themselves via Floriday. This is better, because the old method could lead to many and quick errors. When buyers start using Floriday too, we will refer them all to Floriday in the end.
What are the issues that your international growers are facing when it comes to digitisation?
The growers who we work for as an agent used to work with Excel a lot. They used it to keep track of their packing lists and amounts. That is, if they have a computer, of course. Since we have switched to Floriday, we want them to create the packing list and to enter it into Floriday as well at their own stock location in Kenya. As soon as the shipment arrives here, we remove it from their stock location to ours. When you think about it, we simulate reality digitally. You can see how transport went in the logistic logbook. This shows us and the grower what happened. We repack the final shipment and enter the adjusted numbers in Floriday.
In practice, we see that international growers still need to get used to entering information in Floriday themselves. We have created instructions in which we explained how they can enter their own stock. We have not been very successful in this regard so far, but we have to encourage it a bit more. This is the future and we have to rouse people's interest in it.
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