Need to create three hectares of free space on a congested industrial site? At Boer & Croon, we have no problem with that. And while we are at it, it is a small effort to immediately provide insights via a dashboard so that storage can take place more efficiently in the future. How do we achieve this? Simply through our external perspective, focus on results and intensive collaboration with our client.
Royal Flora Holland is a cooperative of and for growers in the floriculture sector. In the Netherlands, it is known for its auction locations in Aalsmeer, Naaldwijk and Rijnsburg. In recent years there has been an increasing shortage of space for the storage of logistical resources - including the plastic deposit buckets in which cut flowers are distributed through the international chain, and the carts used to move these buckets. Space that can also be used for more lucrative purposes, as customers are eager to move into the RFH locations. Guus Nering Bögel of Boer & Croon was asked to create 30,000 m2 of free space within six months.
'When I came in I immediately started an inventory of the possibilities. There were quite a few possible solutions. You could discuss whether the number of buckets in circulation was too high, whether you could perhaps store them in another location and look at the efficiency of the way everything was stored. Because I had to show results within six months, we chose solutions that could be implemented quickly. For example, the option of storing more at other chain players is why we didn't work out. You just can't get that done in that time.'
'The momentum created by these big steps also re-energized the search for other solutions.
'The solution we came up with had to do with the way fire safety was arranged. Because all those plastic buckets are on pallets, two pallets stacked on top of each other, the fire department had determined that firebreaks 10 meters wide had to be kept clear to prevent any fire from spreading to the rest. At other places where fire safety is an important issue, such as companies that recycle car tires, I had seen concrete walls used for this purpose. When it turned out that these could also be placed at Flora Holland, this more than achieved the intended space saving. We also examined the strength of the buckets and determined new stacking heights for each type of bucket. This allowed us to stack considerably higher than was thought possible.'
'With a few very concrete and tangible solutions, we not only achieved the objective, but also provided a stepping stone to the next improvement step. We mapped all the spaces used for storage and included them in a dashboard. By connecting information, you can instantly see to what extent and with what a storage area is filled. This allows you to use it more efficiently and dynamically. The same goes for the carts that are in storage. Because we can now make data-driven predictions about the need for them in the coming weeks, we can ready them and stack the rest by six to create space.'
'By engaging with everyone you get the commitment to take such a step.'
'This assignment was exemplary of how Boer & Croon works. Almost immediately after coming in, I formed a team from all layers and disciplines relevant to the project. In the beginning, I spent a lot of time at the storage sites with the people working there, as well as with management. Once we designed a solution, we weighed opportunities and risks. Because of the huge savings, we quickly decided to invest in a pilot plant in Aalsmeer. By talking to everyone you get the commitment to take such a step.'
'Our target was to realize €900,000 in savings, half of which by the end of the contract and the other half in 2023. In the end, we achieved annual recurring savings of €600,000 even during the assignment, and the forecast is for this to increase to €1.4 million.'