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How Royal FloraHolland made the transformation to Floriday possible

Royal FloraHolland is a leading company of the international horticulture trade and plays a predominant role in the further digitisation of the sector. Thanks to the roll out of its new, independent online platform Floriday and the implementation of SAP BRIM, the organisation successfully handles tens of thousands of transactions every day.

Royal FloraHolland is a cooperative organisation that has brought growers and buyers together for over 100 years. It has since grown to become a B2B platform for international horticulture.

One of Royal FloraHolland’s strategic objectives is to further digitise the sector—for which the organisation is taking the lead itself. Where the traditional auction clock made way for the digital clock and direct trade, Royal FloraHolland has digitised the trade itself. One of the most important steps in this was the launch of Floriday, a digital platform for the centralised trade of flowers and plants.

Royal FloraHolland sought out a partner that could support it in this process, and landed on Blueberry ICT. Tom van der Zee, business technology manager of business support at Royal FloraHolland, explains how he and Blueberry ICT jointly ensured that Floriday, and the further digitisation of the organisation, came to fruition.

Blueberry ICT and BRIM

For years, the digital environments used by Royal FloraHolland were based on custom solutions to a large extent and, according to Van der Zee, were not future proof. “The custom solutions had been developed by people who were reaching retirement age. The knowledge that had been gained would be lost. In addition, various processes overlapped, which resulted in inefficiency and a higher risk of error.”

Eventually, Royal FloraHolland chose to replace a number of these custom solutions with SAP BRIM. In 2011, the organisation started looking for a suitable partner to implement this system. “As a cooperative, we were looking for a partner who suited us well and who had the same mindset. Blueberry ICT satisfied these wishes and has grown with us over the past years.”

The implementation of SAP BRIM followed quickly on the heels of the roll out of SAP within Royal FloraHolland. This was the first time it had been implemented in a Dutch company. Blueberry ICT subsequently became the strategic partner and preferred supplier of Royal FloraHolland, to help with the transition and further phasing out of the custom solutions.

Floriday as a trading platform

One of the most important developments for Royal FloraHolland in terms of digitisation was the launch of Floriday, its digital platform. Every week, 5,000 growers and buyers spanning 45 countries are active on Floriday and 180,000 transactions are made.

A characteristic element in this is that the organisation faces high peak and processing moments. Particularly around public holidays, hundreds of transactions are made within the span of a few hours, which must then also be invoiced and paid out in a number of hours. What makes Royal FloraHolland unique in this process is that it never owns the flowers and plants itself, but holds these in its inventory.

One of the most important challenges was to arrange the most optimal performance possible of SAP BRIM in order to ensure that continuity was guaranteed during peak moments and that agreements made with clients could be met.

In addition, a number of matters had to be taken into account:

  • International regulations and legislation
  • International VAT processing
  • Specific settlements for certain clients

To allow the process to run as smoothly as possible, a phased approach was chosen. In this way, manual procedures like processing invoices and checking delivered Excel sheets could be standardised.

Through a real-time connection with SAP, online calculations can now be made for order amounts and for client’s shopping carts. As soon as an order is placed, it is charged to both the buyer and seller through SAP.

This process takes into account the differing fees and VAT regulations that apply to clients across the world. As this has now all been united into one system, certain processes have become standardised, meaning that Royal FloraHolland is less dependent on manual procedures. This reduces the margin of error and also ensures that audits run more smoothly.

Excelling digitally

What strikes Van der Zee most about the collaboration with Blueberry ICT is the pragmatic approach and clear communication. “That makes Blueberry ICT a real niche company with the right expertise on SAP BRIM. It enables them to provide us with the right advice and to really unburden us.”

Thanks to the successful implementation of SAP BRIM within Floriday, Royal FloraHolland wants to roll it out further within the organisation. Royal FloraHolland will therefore continue working with Blueberry ICT in the coming years to further digitise its organisation. “Among other activities, we are going to jointly set out scenarios to embed SAP BRIM in S4/HANA, which we expect to take place at the end of 2023 or start of 2024. In this way, we hope to stay at the digital forefront in the sector and to help it further develop online.”

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