Outlook 2014: Wholesale Florists Delivering Results
By Tom Figueroa, Nordlie, Inc., WF&FSA President
The following appeared on page 57 in The Produce News, January 2014.
Who are we? Where do we fit in? What can we do for you?
The last few years, members of WF&FSA have been asking and answering the first two questions. Who are we? We are floral distributors bringing product from farm and supplier to retailers in the floral industry. Our challenge was to keep costs down by generating efficiencies so that we could be relevant in the floral distribution chain.
The wholesale members of WF&FSA have embraced technology to become better partners with their customers. The online presence of our members has brought more value to our customers. We have become conduits for information between our suppliers and trade.
The complete change in WF&FSA, its management and conference, has inspired its members to not just think outside the box but throw the box away and look at every part of our businesses.
Where do we fit in? Our members have streamlined our business to keep costs down and have used our logistics capabilities to bring value to our customers. WF&FSA members are helping our customer keep leaner inventories and solving logistics for our customers by bringing suppliers products direct to their door.
Wholesalers today realize that their customer is much different today than ever, whether it’s a retail florist with a strong internet presence or a market that serves as a complete floral resource or an event person who rents industrial space and works outside of the norm. The challenge then for wholesalers going forward is to market themselves to these different sectors and decide if they can service all markets or if they should become specialists in one sector of the market.
The final question, what can we do for you? I see 2014 as the year many wholesalers take a hard look at their business model and focus their business to specific market segments.
We have the logistic capabilities to help all market segments we just need to communicate that message more effectively to our customers. Lean inventories and just in time deliveries are value wholesalers and suppliers can bring to the table.
WF&FSA has restructured their committees to better meet the needs of their members. The education committee has already restructured the annual Distribution conference to make it a relevant can’t miss event, stocked with not only networking opportunities but a resource for relevant educational seminars. The Marketing committee is putting together a marketing package for our members and other member focused communications. The “Young Execs” committee has taken on some new life because we realize bringing in new and motivated employees is essential to our long term success.
The three committees mentioned will be vital in bringing change for our members but in addition to these we will also have strategic committees formed short term to handle specific short term issues.
WF&FSA members in 2014 will get behind the customers veil and deliver results based on our experience in floral distribution and a more focused business model.