Unsurprisingly, Valentine’s Day is the number one holiday for florists. For this special day, consumers spend around $2 billion on flowers. As a consumer, flower shopping for your loved ones is made easy. These days, you can even place an online order.
For suppliers and florists, it’s not so simple. With almost 257 million roses grown for the holiday and many last-minute orders, forecasting is vital. Not to mention that many flowers travel from South America, Africa, and Europe. They must endure the long trip and arrive on time for the holiday. Here’s how suppliers and florists handle these logistical issues:
The Crucial Cold Chain
Since these flowers often travel long distances, the cold chain is vital. This method means that the supply chain is temperature-controlled. For flowers, it is best to keep them at a constant temperature for the entire trip. From harvesting to distribution, refrigerated flowers have a longer lifespan. In the US, most of the flower imports come in through Miami. For this reason, UPS has a 27,000 sq ft refrigerated warehouse in Miami.
If there is a lapse in cold chain, this can reduce the vase life of flowers by 30-40%. Also, research has shown that the most important aspect in the handling of cut flowers is temperature. For these reasons, cold chain plays a crucial role in ensuring your flowers arrive in pristine condition.
Forecast or Flop
Especially with the ease of online ordering, this holiday brings in many last-minute orders. But, suppliers can’t just grow and transport flowers last-minute. The process from picking the flowers to delivery to customer takes about 10-12 days. As a result, forecasting is of utmost importance. Often, suppliers and florists start planning for this holiday a year in advance.
Using data from past years gives some idea of what to expect. Interestingly, the day of the week also plays a part in forecasting. When the holiday falls on a weekend, demand for flowers falls about 20%. Likely, this is due to more couples doing other activities.
As the most popular flower, red roses make up 63% of orders. Unlike other holidays, most flower orders for Valentine’s Day are red, pink, or white. But, this lack of variety gives suppliers and florists an advantage. They can avoid overstocking on what won’t sell and not stocking enough on what will. Without forecasting, they run the risk of missing out on profit.
Although you can easily purchase gifts with just the click of a button, there is extensive behind-the-scenes effort. Cold chain and forecasting are two ways that suppliers ensure a successful holiday and relieve consumers of stress. With all this planning, it is clear that the real Cupid behind Valentine’s Day is logistics.