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Kopers-en-Kwekers Blog

Hoek Group: "This purchasing method saves us 16 hours of selling time"

4 minuten leestijd
Gepost op 07-07-2022
door Laura Nowee

We spoke to Casper van Iterson, flower buyer at Hoek Group, about digitising and automation within the company. How Casper uses Floriday and how this method of buying not only saves him a lot of time but also provides Hoek with extra sales on a daily basis.

"I have been working in the flower industry since I was 16 years old. I started at the bottom delivering orders and selling flowers and for the last 25 years as a flower buyer. In doing so, I mastered all product groups and I still consider it a wonderful profession. Stock relationship management, for example, is an important part of this: maintaining good relations with the grower in order to be able to source interesting stock. I have been doing this work at Hoek for about 5 years now, and I am enjoying it".

Exports all over the world

"Hoek is a family business that originated from Dingeman Hoek and is mainly focused on export. The company was started in 1979 as a small business by Peter Hoek, exporting flowers to France by truck. In the meantime, the Hoek Group has grown into a large and well-known company employing some 200 people. We deliver flowers to wholesalers and florists all over the world, from countries in Europe including Ireland, England and Germany to countries in Asia, America and the Middle East. All in all, to customers in around 40 to 50 countries. We work on stock, and we want to offer the widest possible range of products. We buy by far the largest share from Dutch growers. We also import from other countries, but under a different branch within the Hoek Group, such as the import of carnations and hydrangeas from Colombia and Ecuador. At Hoek, we use a unique distribution system within our company involving 28 robots that take a lot of work off our hands. Thanks to the robots, we can work much faster, and because the product is only being handled once in the workplace, it is much less prone to damage. Also, you can't really make mistakes; the system will tell you if you scan the wrong barcode. Another good thing is that we no longer have to lug carts around all day because the robot does most of the physical work for us.

Significantly more possibilities through digitisation

The purchasing profession has of course changed over the years through digitisation and offers additional possibilities, both in terms of purchasing via auction and direct trade. I used to be a buyer at one of the auction sites, but now I buy through remote purchasing (KOA) at three auction sites simultaneously. In addition, more and more growers are getting 'online' by placing their direct supply for the next day on a platform like Floriday. And that ties in well with the way we work because we always work a day ahead. When I place an order on this supply, I generally get the EKT data within half an hour. And because you can be sure that the fresh flowers will be with you before 5 or 6 o'clock the next morning, I can then immediately put the product through for sale. This actually saves us 16 hours of sales time: sometimes I come in the morning and many batches have already been bought by foreign customers that have yet to come in. I consider that to be a really great benefit.

Speed of buying and correcting

"What I use a lot are correction requests. So for example if a grower reports that a delivery is not quite ready or perhaps that he is able to deliver a certain range after all. The growers will then adjust it for me or put the order in for me. I only have to press the approval button and everything is sorted out instantly and the administration is accurate too. Working with Floriday just saves me a lot of time. I buy lilies alone from about five growers, but in addition, I have seven other product groups. If I had to call or phone all growers every day, it would take me forever. A platform like Floriday is a great tool for me to quickly put together an offer for my customers from multiple growers".

Active management of a complete and customer-oriented supply

"We actively approach growers to configure Floriday properly if details in the supply are not correct or are missing, such as country codes for example. In this way, the EKT is complete and can move smoothly through the systems. In addition, we sometimes actively ask growers to offer their products differently in Floriday, such as in smaller quantities per bunch. This allows us to respond to the needs of our florists.

Digitisation, robotisation and changing purchasing methods, therefore, enable us at Hoek to work more efficiently and better respond to our customers' requirements. Personal contact in the procurement process may be different from what it used to be, however, there is still plenty of opportunity to talk to each other. The relationship therefore remains very important. There are always questions on both sides, you see and speak to each other at fairs and because everything at Hoek runs quite smoothly, you also have time to visit growers. So there really is still personal contact. And the beauty of the purchasing profession continues to be that it is a pleasure to see a nice batch that you have purchased sold on to a satisfied customer. Then everyone is happy, right?

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