Why Temperature-Controlled Supply Chains are Critical for Mother's Day

Americans are estimated to spend $3.2 billion on flowers for Mother’s Day this year introducing a beautiful and sweet-smelling challenge for supply chains. How do you tackle a truckload surge this big and during such a condensed time period?

70% of florals move within the 3-month period between Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. At times, this can lead to a jump in truckload demand for florals as big as 3200% when compared to the off-peak season.

C.H. Robinson, as a leading global logistics provider, is one of the largest movers of florals into and across the U.S. The team knows firsthand that there is more to floral logistics than simply transporting flowers from one location to another. With 7-10 million boxes of flowers moved annually, clients leverage C.H Robinson’s vast temperature-controlled network, team of experts, data, and scale to successfully navigate changes in consumer needs and to help absorb dramatic demand fluctuations, particularly around holidays.

Whether you send or receive flowers on Mother’s Day, or any holiday year-round, here’s what you need to know about how a tight cold-supply chain and a team of logistics experts work behind the scenes to ensure moms get their flowers on time:

  1. The key to success is the “cold chain” refrigerated process. This process spans continents and requires speed, logistics, and refrigeration. The process can be quite complex. Starting at warehouses in South America, flowers are then transported onto planes, moved to warehouses in Miami, transported to temperature-controlled trucks and finally stores across the nation. At every stop during this journey the flowers need to be kept at about 34 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure that they remain beautiful and fresh.
    Flowers are similar to other perishable items; if they aren’t maintained at the correct temperature, they will start to wilt before they arrive at their final destination. Because of this, it’s important that the correct temperature is not only set at the start of the floral journey but maintained throughout the full supply chain process.
  2. Warehouse location is essential for risk mitigation. As mentioned above, the majority of flowers are imported from South America, with 90% of all floral imports passing through Miami. Proximity to strategically located warehouse space can minimize the risks of damage and simplify the back-end logistics during drastic demand shifts. C.H Robinson’s 50,000 square foot facility at Miami International Airport helps facilitate this movement in the most effective way. With its central location on the tarmac, which is rare, this proximity helps keep costs down and quality up due to access to swift transportation – an essential component when shelf-life and freshness is critical.
  3. Speed and agility are critical. With a product that starts dying the minute you begin transporting, the stakes are high. Shipping flowers is a lot like shipping produce—a process involving refrigeration, speed, and expertise. Disruptions can happen at any point, which is why C.H Robinson’s value proposition is so beneficial. With our global footprint, massive temp-controlled network, nation-wide warehouses and distribution centers, the company is able to help mitigate risk and help solve last-minute disruptions that arise. As truckload demand can increase nearly 3200% during peak floral season, access to a large and agile temperature controlled network is crucial.
  4. Routes can be volatile. For fresh product, such as your Mother’s Day florals, routes are unpredictable in terms of order volume and demand because of their seasonality. Given the lanes are not as dense, they are generally supported by smaller carriers. Technology is critical to connect these smaller carriers to retailers and help make these supply chains as efficient as possible. C.H. Robinson helps provide the platform that enables these smaller carriers to have access to floral freight from large retailers. A win-win for both.

C.H. Robinson provides access to the largest temperature controlled network in North America, with 21,000+ temp-controlled carriers in our network. Get in touch today to streamline your floral and fresh product supply chain.

Mark Petersen
Vice President Refrigerated Services | NAST
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