As the Holland Flower Alliance team returns from their ‘product journey’ to Kenya, our new project manager, Eline van den Berg of Royal FloraHolland, tells us what they saw, what they learned, and the Alliance’s plans for the future!
I’m currently working at Royal FloraHolland as a senior supply chain consultant and will become the new Holland Flower Alliance (HFA) project manager on the 1st of September.
When I was asked to join the HFA it didn’t take me long to decide to participate in this unique alliance. In my current job I already work on improving the supply chain of flowers and I therefore share many common goals with the HFA.
I am convinced that ‘taking the best care of flowers throughout the supply chain’ can only be achieved by working together with supply chain partners from a joint perspective, and that is exactly what the HFA strives for.
In July, with a team of colleagues from KLM, Schiphol Cargo, and Royal FloraHolland, we embarked on a ‘product journey’ by following the flower box from the farm in Kenya up until arrival at Royal FloraHolland. The details are also shared in this newsletter in previous article.
During the journey we visited and spoke to several supply chain partners – farmers, freight forwarders, handlers, and packaging companies. It was a fantastic opportunity for me to learn more about the HFA and expand my knowledge about the current supply chain, just as I am taking over the role of project manager HFA from Hedwig Sietsma, KLM.
A particular focus of the product journey was placed on the cool chain and packaging. We witnessed the high levels of care that the flowers are treated with among the supply chain – there really is a lot of awareness for cool chain management.
When it comes to packaging the Kenyan flower industry still has a challenge. As opposed to South America, there is no standardised packaging, meaning that currently, a lot of different types and sizes of boxes are used next to each other. We observed the condition of the boxes at different stages of the chain and saw the efforts being made by the industry to meet these challenges with reference to quality of the box, packing, and handling.
The third day of the journey was spent at a packaging workshop at the Dutch Embassy, to which we invited a broad selection of stakeholders. This meeting made me fully aware of the improvements that can and should be made, and that there is a willingness in the sector to work on that.
Because each partner in the supply chain is facing its own challenges I see it as a chance for HFA to facilitate in the process for developing a standard together with all the parties involved.
So, looking ahead! In Q4 our packaging working group will begin small experiments into alternative flower boxes, which will give us more insight into the requirements of a good flower box, and current packing and handling procedures.
The HFA team will be at the Flower Logistics Africa 2017 in Nairobi on November 22nd! Come to visit us, say hello, and learn more about HFA. And of course, you can always contact me for further information!
Eline van den Berg
Senior Consultant Supply Chain Innovation, CSCP