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August 20, 2021

Logistics Business Magazine: Flower Power

A Dutch-based global flower supplier has a shoe sorter at the trusted centre of a fully automated handling system.

“The sortation and conveying equipment from MHS (formerly known as VanRiet), orchestrated by the powerful WMS/WCS, delivered and integrated by Actemium, provides real-time insight into the processing of all orders in order to deliver the right flowers, plants and accessories to our customers on time,” says Ruben Hoek, export director of Hoek Flowers B.V. "Thanks to a doubling of efficiency, we can now process many more orders and adjust our capacity more flexibly to customer demand."

Strong ambitions

Rijnsburg-based Hoek Group is a family business that, after opening a flower shop in Katwijk in 1979, has grown into a group of internationally operating trading companies in flowers, plants and accessories. “We have invested in a new sustainable building with modern technology to continuously realise our growth ambitions,” says Hoek. “This new building houses all activities that were previously carried out at five separate locations by the hands of 200 employees. This ensures a more efficient integration. In order to increase both the efficiency and flexibility of our logistics, we have deliberately opted for a mix of mechanised, robotised and partly manual order processing. ”

For the Hoek Group, the lead time from receipt from auction to order processing is essential. “We supply flowers and plants to florists, wedding and event planners in 53 countries,” says IT Manager Marcel van Egmond. “For example, customers from the United Kingdom who order until four in the afternoon will already have fresh flowers and plants in their shop the next morning. Based on smart algorithms, orders are scheduled, all ordered products are picked in the storage area and placed on the conveyor system.”

“After order picking, buckets of flowers are transported to the packing area, or directly to the build-up area for the orders,” continues van Egmond. “In the packing area, the buckets are sorted and buffered by order and some of the flowers are packed. Then they are transported back to the construction area. As a final process, all boxes and buckets in the build-up area are sorted to the correct set-up location and placed (set up) on carts in preparation for shipment.”

Winning together

MHS, part of a broader project consortium with Actemium, Denc and Van Rijn, designed, created and installed - together with Hoek Group - this state of the art integrated conveying and sorting solution for flower buckets and boxes of a wide variety. The heart of this mechanised operation is the WMS/WCS, designed and delivered by Actemium. It is the driving force behind the complete integrated picking and packing process

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