STUDENT ASSIGNMENT: REVERSING THE PRODUCTION AND LOGISTICS CHAIN USING DATA AND ACHIEVING HIGHER RATES OF SUSTAINABILITY
- Graduation Assignment
- Graduation Assignment
- Required language
- Dutch, English
A new concept with reversed and shorted logistics chain in high quality horticultural flower production and sales, both of bunches of flowers as well as bespoke bouquets to optimize and create a sustainable flexible system: from growing – auctioning - repacking -- transport – retail sales to retail requests – packing - growing.
Priva, a high-tech company in the climate control field, specializing in smart building automation, greenhouse technology & indoor farming, De Bloemistenkwekerij, a breeder in high tech cut flowers, TU Delft AgTech institute and InHolland reach out to TU Delft and InHolland students to contribute to the concept of ’The Bloemistenkwekerij’ (direct translation The Florist Nursery). Due to the reversal, more data about customer preferences in style and color e.g. is collected, what otherwise would be lost between the sales/logistics partners. This data can be used for optimization of growth, size and assortment of the cut flowers. More importantly however: shortening the logistics chain and plugging in customer behavior and preferences, will accomplish a lot of sustainability. Growing what will be sold reduces waste, together with all the resources that went into growing the flowers such as water, fertilizer, electricity and energy. Thus a better more sustainable flower will be the result.
Current Cut flower production: high-quality horticulture flowers
The current production and trade of cut flowers is a one way street in revenue and data. A grower harvests the flowers, brings them to a flower auction. A trader buys them, changes sometimes packaging and makes mixes in order to sell them to the retail stores. This trade in fresh flowers is not confined to the Netherlands, but reaches deep into Europe and through Schiphol airport influx and outflux of flowers from and to further away distances are common daily practice.
The vision behind The Bloemistenkwekerij is multifold
- Reversing the chain: growing on site, packing on site, all in answer to demand from local flower shops. Therefore minimizing waste and optimizing logistics. Nowadays, growers grow and packers pack, with barely interaction on the demand side, just quality issues are communicated.
- Due to this model, customer data and trends flow upstream to the production facility, making it possible to adapt the assortment and optimizing on logistics and options for scaling up in larger greenhouse facilities.
- New varieties can easier be tested linked to customer demand and behavior
- Ownership of the whole chain instead of being just a part of a value chain, gaining insight and control, leaving more revenue at the grower.
- Due to this model, more revenue and more money becomes available for innovation in integrated pest management, water and energy saving.
A central packaging- and growing technology hub, surrounded by greenhouses that are divided into sections of approximately 1 hectare (2.5 acres) is foreseen. Due to the smaller scale production, mixtures of flowers can be made. And it offers the growers the opportunity to grow a new variety on a real life but not full operation (1 ha) footprint, testing the market reception and pricing opportunities, both as a mono bunch as well as in bouquets. Full operation footprint would be several hectares, enlarging the risk.
The business partners like Priva and BOM group can make an estimate of the technology costs for this initiative, when necessary for different sizes and layouts. But the logistical implications are much bigger:
- Costs saving by producing local for local
- Data optimization
- Options for circularity in the enterprise
Questions that the partners would like to work on with students can be:
- Modelling the short ‘value’ chain compared to the normal way of working: bottle necks and what are the (expected) saving by going local 4 local, if any?
- What volumes of flowers in numbers, growing surface and value are necessary?
- What are the implications such as shorter chains, faster testing of varieties of this multi actor system, with much more options then in 2008 due to better software, better internet everywhere.
- What number of shops and what sizes would make this model work?
- Due to the general character of the Bloemistenkwekerij, international copies of this concept within a 200 km driving range of customers will be an option as well, especially in an international context.
Although the use case here is ‘high quality horticultural flower production’ in different customer offers, this type of reversing the chain could work for other perishable consumables as well. Therefore the impact of lessons learned in this case goes beyond the Bloemistenkwekerij and flowers.
- Priva Jan Westra Strategic Business Developer
- TU Delft AgTech Institute Liselotte de Vries Business Developer
- InHolland Gerry Kouwenhoven Associate Lector
- De Bloemistenkwekerij Ton Kester Breeder
Jan Westra firstname.lastname@example.org