Trade Groups Urge Floral Industry to Set Global Standards

NEWARK, Del. -- An industry-wide initiative to create product identification standards for the global floral supply chain is being led by key trade associations, including the Produce Marketing Association, based here. The partners are urging floral industry growers, importers, wholesalers, supermarkets, mass markets, and transporters to collaborate on June 5-6, 2007 in Miami.

In addition to PMA, other organizers include Floral Logistics Coalition, Wholesale Florist and Florist Supplier Association (WFFSA), Association of Floral Importers of Florida, California Association of Flower Growers and Shippers, California Cut Flower Commission, ASOCOLFLORES, and the international standards organization, GS1.

Representatives from both the supermarket and wholesale markets will address the industry's immediate need for creating product identification standards for bouquets, cut flowers, and greens. The standards will directly affect how floral products are ordered, invoiced, tracked, and categorized.

Jim Wanko, e.v.p./WFFSA, said he is pumped about the progress being made toward creating global standards for the floral sector. "I have never before seen this level of excitement and desire from all segments of the supply chain and the involvement of key personnel to get this work completed."

By first adopting uniform product identification standards, floral supply chain members can now embrace the technologies that will dramatically improve the supply chain. "The floral industry will need to transform itself from a manually-intensive, proprietary, fragmented supply chain to one that takes advantage of efficiencies and technologies," said Clay Sieck, chairman of the Floral Logistics Coalition.

Utilizing such technologies as RFID, barcodes, and electronic commerce will increase collaboration with trading partners, automate manual activities, increase visibility throughout the supply chain, cut costs, provide better control and quality of product, and greater profitability for supply chain members.

Wal-Mart is also on board. "We strongly endorse the direction of this initiative to bring the floral industry into a more efficient world so it can utilize data standards and technologies," said Ron McCormick, v.p./produce and floral, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. "We have seen the benefits of using these standards and technologies in other areas of our store and are eager to do so with floral."

The results of the June meeting will form the basis of a pilot program to study the implementation of the product identification standards using Global Trade Identification Numbers (GTINs) on orders, invoices, and boxes of floral products. The pilot is expected to commence later this summer and will take place over a six-month period.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg," said Sieck. "We can save tens of millions of dollars using these supply chain technologies. We know that an investment will be required, but we have the benefit of other industries using these technologies to know how they work and where the return on investment will be."

For more information about the June meeting, contact Christine Boldt at [email protected].
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