Valentine's Day is almost a month away, but the rush is in full swing with its
fast pace and frenetic demands. It’s time to sharpen our problem-solving
skills so we can service our customers throughout the floral supply chain.
Valentine’s Day is the biggest floral sales event of the year. It puts a strain on
the entire system, but supermarket floral departments can capitalize on this
seasonal windfall by detailed planning and accurate forecasting. In other
words, solve small problems before they turn into big ones.
As John Foster Dulles, U.S. secretary of state during the Eisenhower
administration, put it, "The measure of success is not whether you have a
tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last
Maybe a good way to look at this Feb. 14 holiday surge is to think of it like
planning for a vacation. You decide where and when you want to go, how you
want to get there and how much you will spend. You arrive at the airport or
cruise ship terminal with confidence and high expectations. This should be
the way we approach Valentine’s Day.
You should have already reviewed last year’s sales figures, factored in current
sales indicators, and come up with a forecast for your Valentine’s Day orders.
How will you get them to your store?
Remember, it’s one of the busiest times of the year, so cargo planes, trains
and trucks will be at a premium. Failing to lock in your transport now is like
missing your plane at the airport: Your schedule is thrown off and rebooking
your flight will probably cost you more.
If you allot time to review your Valentine’s Day forecasting model with your
farms, your suppliers and your logistics group, you’ll be like the vacationer
who can check on the Internet to see if his or her plane is delayed and still
have time to make other arrangements.
When it comes to both vacations and for Valentine’s Day:
• Plan ahead.
• Avoid late arrivals.
• Control expenses.
• Give yourself time.
If you take care of the little problems, you will avoid the big ones.
Now that you’ve got Valentine’s Day covered, go ahead and plan that spring
vacation in March. Do it quickly, though, because Easter and Mother’s Day are
right around the corner.
James H. Holloway is transportation manager for C.H. Robinson Worldwide
Inc. and heads its Floral Solutions operations. He can be reached at 800/999-
3740 or firstname.lastname@example.org.