The improvement of the logistics performance of Royal FloraHolland, which has been visible at all locations since the end of June, is continuing step by step. The delivery of products is increasingly taking place as scheduled, but we still haven’t reached the level we are aiming for. Higher inflow of new employees, a decrease in the growth of the supply and fewer disruptions are contributing to this, as are the measures taken and process improvements. Royal FloraHolland will continue to focus on improving performance.
Due to the shortage of employees and high level of supply, the pressure on logistics was very high at all locations recently, with unpleasant consequences for buyers and growers. It’s going better and better now, but we’re not there yet. Unfortunately, products are still delivered later on busy days or lead times are longer than buyers are accustomed to. The increase in the supply at auction has declined in recent weeks, but the number of jobs available at each location is still high. In combination with the shortage of employees, this is still therefore presenting challenges. We will continue working on improvements in order to prevent problems and inconvenience for buyers and growers, devoting specific attention to the Naaldwijk location where we order-pick all flowers. The end times there are at the same level as the other locations, but buyers are experiencing other bottlenecks, because they are used to the former process. This is understandable and we are solving the bottlenecks through dialogue with those buyers.

High inflow and cooperative office staff

We are successfully working on getting the staffing in order, in spite of the tight labour market. That is resulting in a considerable inflow of new employees. The recruitment campaign via social media, the training of Ukrainian refugees and the collaboration with employment agencies, among other things, are bearing fruit. Our office colleagues are also helping with operations during this period, which is great given the holiday period and the outflow we are experiencing.

Feedback leads to improvement

In addition to the staffing, Royal FloraHolland is implementing process optimisations. In Naaldwijk, where order picking is live, that is happening on the basis of feedback from buyers. A second auction session took place for them last week. Chief Operations Officer (COO) Leendert-Jan Plaisier gave an update on performance and the improvements implemented. There was also plenty of room for questions and feedback, for example about the prioritisation of delivery. The promised end times are being achieved increasingly often, but buyers sometimes have to wait for their product(s) longer than they are accustomed to because the delivery priority is different. The priority rules in the new system are currently being adjusted, where a better balance is being sought between lead times and the delivery of full trolleys. In addition, the focus is on reducing mistakes. In recent weeks, a sharp drop has been achieved and there is still room for improvement. There are opportunities to further reduce mistakes, among other ways by processing multi-batch trolleys better and clarifying work instructions. Attention is also being devoted to optimising the processes in the case of Searching and Correction.

Trial with inspections

We know that buyers find it a challenge to inspect the order picking arrangement. A pilot is currently being conducted at the Hortensia product group in order to place the products in the cold store in a clearer way. The first feedback has been collected and there are suggestions for improvements. In the coming period, the pilot will be expanded with the other products.

Conclusion

Organising the logistics differently is particularly important in order to solve the performance problems. It makes staggered delivery possible, as a result of which we can deploy our employees better and more efficiently, and offer longer contracts. The first buyers in Naaldwijk are making use of the early delivery of auction presales satisfactorily. That is a great first step, even though there is also an awareness that many buyers are still not benefiting directly from the new way of working. We therefore remain fully committed to providing the existing services satisfactorily, with Royal FloraHolland doing its best to achieve the end times and striving for optimal prioritisation of delivery.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact us via the Customer Contact Centre. We will be happy to help. Your input helps us to improve.

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