Arcadia about 100% Digital: ‘Software is never fully developed, and we have to be aware of this’21 July 2020
Many growers have been preparing for some time for 100% Digital. Arcadia Chrysanten is working hard as well to meet the requirements of 100% Digital by the end of 2020. In this interview, Arcadia Chrysanten discusses the process, the challenges, benefits and their experience of course!
Can you tell us a little more about your company?
"Arcadia specialises in the cultivation and marketing of Overlay Chrysanthemums. 50 million high-quality branches are produced each year. The assortment is broad with new varieties, matching the season. We are constantly looking for innovative shapes and colours. We conduct this search in cooperation with breeding companies. Arcadia has five growing locations with a total surface of 26 hectares. There are four branches in the Westland region. The fifth branch is located in De Kwakel, just south of Aalsmeer. This means that our locations are close to Royal FloraHolland's two largest distribution centres. This way, we can deliver orders to customers in a short period of time."
Arcadia delivers products to all Royal FloraHolland branches. In addition to Aalsmeer and Naaldwijk, also to Rijnsburg, Venlo and Eelde. The chrysanthemums are also transported to Flower Auction Plantion in Ede and Veiling Rhein-Maas in Straelen (Germany). Together with other Decorum growers, Arcadia has a hub at the Naaldwijk auction for quick order picking and deliveries.
"We regularly speak to the customers to hear about their wishes and needs. Close contact allows us to operate in a customer-oriented manner and unburden the customer. As for sales, we are mostly focused on deliveries to other countries. The flowers are transported to countries in both Eastern and Western Europe. We work with importers and exporters whenever we can when selling to other countries. We trade about 65% via the clock and clock presales, 35% via direct sales, of which 15% goes to retailers and 20% is directly delivered to wholesalers. All wholesale goes through Floriday, but this is not yet the case for retail."
Are you currently doing business using Floriday?
"Yes, we are doing business using Floriday. We enter clock presales and our daily supply from the webshop has been on Floriday's direct sales for a few weeks now. It is going quite well! We were a little nervous about it and it took a while before we were truly able to switch. Due to customer-specific offers and our wish regarding packaging options, not everything was ready yet. This has since been completed, so we can truly get started. We think that Floriday is a good, big next step. It is clearer, there are more possibilities for manual orders, you can see the real-time supply, it is efficient, modernised and therefore more user-friendly.
Two years ago we started with a collection box from the auction for which we work with Florisoft. This allows us to see the supply and its location at a glance. We are in the group with buyers and growers because this system must be linked to Floriday. I think we will be able to achieve this before the end of the year! If something is wrong or not working well, Floriday contributes ideas. We had the issue that exporters had an outdated link and were unable to see our supply. This was fixed with a new link and Floriday convinced the exporters to take this step too. They can now see the full supply. It is good to see that we are receiving more and more connection visits from other exporters and buyers who also want to take this step."
What kind of functionalities would you like to see in Floriday in the future?
"When a good solution for forward supply is implemented, we would like to work with that as well. This functionality is currently being developed, and once it is live, we definitely want to do tests with it to see how it works. Arcadia is a member of Decorumflowers and we have our own webshop here. We need to think about what we are going to do with Floriday in the future and what we will be processing via this webshop in the future. The supply will always be placed in Floriday. In the meantime, we have been following the Floriday developments closely. We truly want to learn more about the platform, but also about the HortiHeat app, for example. I am a firm believer in the digital trade of flowers, which is why we want to seize every opportunity."
What do you think are the benefits of 100% Digital?/What benefits do you experience from 100% Digital?
"In the end, I hope that it will truly become a user-friendly platform for the digitally challenged people among us on the buyers' side. It should not become an obstacle to trading. I am curious to see how Floriday is going to structure this, and how it will take shape. Much is still done over the phone. However, I also hear positive feedback about 100% Digital from the buyers' side. We see that this continues to expand and we can have more and more active buyers landing on the webshop."
Which things do you have yet to change to comply with 100% Digital?
"There is not much left to do on our side. When I say to buyers that they can only get it when they click on the webshop and order, they will have to face it! We still receive many Excel lists from retailers, they send their orders via Excel, after which we create a Connect EAB and settle it like that. Soon this will need to be confirmed digitally, which is not happening yet. In the end, the link with Florisoft also has to be established, so we have everything in place. Right now we have to reduce the stock manually in Floriday. This link has not been established yet, which is time-consuming and prone to error. Once this link has been established, it will save us a lot of time, which we can then use to focus on other matters, such as acquisition.
Software is never fully developed, and we have to be aware of this. Such a large part of it is customised; it cannot be delivered as a finished product. On the other hand, we also receive questions about things we cannot always provide. You can ask for crazy things, but if it is impossible, it is impossible. Continuing to nag does not achieve anything, and we have to look at the possibilities and functionalities that we have now."
What are your expectations for the future?
"I have positive expectations and I think the entire flower industry will benefit from this. The auction clock is still very important to us, and we want to continue supplying it well. Supply has to be correctly present, because we want to continue to use the clocks well. With Floriday, we want to make sure that we'll be ready when the switch comes. There is a real chance that the clock flow will decline in the future, and then you will need other channels to process your trade. That is why we want to make the most of it and are right on the ball. You always have to be ready for change and making a switch."
As far as digitisation is concerned, what would you like to share with your fellow growers?
"I think the functionalities and webinars make everything very clear. At the office, I said to my employees: "Go and see what the Internet and YouTube say about working with Floriday first." This makes things a lot clearer, and I would absolutely recommend this to other growers. We are not there yet with 100% Digital, but we are definitely headed in the right direction. Together, we are going for it!"
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