Dijk van Dijk Hydrangea and garden plant nursery recently invested in a SmartFlo and delivery system for transporting, cleaning, sorting and delivering hydrangeas. Robin van Dijk worked with WPS to create an effective system with the aim of optimising operations in the nursery and achieving cost and management efficiencies.
Dijk van Dijk and Robin van Dijk
The Dijk van Dijk nursery in De Lier in the Netherlands specialises in producing hydrangeas for indoor, balcony and patio use. Its collection consists of 17 different varieties in a range of sortings. The entire hydrangea cultivation process takes place at the nursery. Besides hydrangeas, Dijk van Dijk also supplies garden plants such as lavender, carnations and snapdragons.
Robin van Dijk has been co-owner of the Dijk van Dijk Hydrangea and garden plant nursery since 2001.
What prompted the need for a new system?
Dijk van Dijk first got together with WPS to look at the options four years ago. What Robin van Dijk had in mind at the time did not yet exist. Innovative developments at WPS have since opened up new opportunities for the delivery process, and in 2016 WPS was able to offer a system that exactly met the nursery’s potential and requirements.
The need for a new system mainly came about for logistics reasons. The delivery process for Dijk van Dijk’s hydrangeas is very fragmented and small-scale. More than fifty percent of the nursery’s labour costs come from logistics and order picking. To fulfil an order in several colours, staff used to walk from one bay to the next, collecting the different hydrangea varieties as they went. ‘This meant a lot of walking and shifting stock around because the plants had to be collected from so many different places. What’s more, orders are getting smaller but have to be delivered at a faster rate. Demand for custom stickers, sleeves and labels is also on the rise. This has made our production process less efficient and pushed up our labour costs, which are also rising year on year. It has also been getting harder to manage the organisation,’ Robin van Dijk explains. Last year the nursery operated on the basis of ten teams of three people each, all manoeuvring in between and past each other, and this method had reached the point where it was becoming unsustainable. Robin realised that there were opportunities for improvements and cost-cutting.
What will the SmartFlo and delivery system look like?
There will be a buffer with three hours’ worth of stock, consisting of 48 conveyor belts. This can take 48 sortings, but several conveyor belts can also be used for one sorting. The order will be sent from the buffer system to the packing stations. This will enable the packer to keep packing orders on an ongoing basis, and orders can be fulfilled in one go. In the greenhouse, three team members will make sure that the orders go into the delivery buffers and that the delivery buffers are continuously replenished with hydrangeas. It will be a continuous process in which three greenhouse employees will ensure a constant supply of plants in flower and sortings in the buffers that serve the packing stations.
What makes the system special?
‘What makes the system so special is that we will be able to send any combination of plants to the packing stations. In doing so we will have eliminated all the logistical operations involved in moving plants from one location to another and we will be able to focus efficiently on the operations themselves,’ Robin van Dijk explains.
How will this investment pay for itself?
The investment will pay for itself because the nursery will be working much more efficiently. With improved logistics operations and a new delivery system, the Dijk van Dijk nursery will be able to process more orders. The buffers will be replenished more easily and faster than before, so the packing stations will have a constant supply of plants for fulfilling orders ready for dispatch.
Why choose WPS?
Robin van Dijk: ‘The WPS system is a thoroughly tried and tested system, and WPS is a household name as far as I’m concerned. I have seen the SmartFlo system and various other WPS products in action at other nurseries. The WPS order system is a proven system; it will just be used in a slightly different way. We are convinced it will work!’
Do you have any questions about our cultivation solutions? Or would you like to brainstorm about the different ways to improve your business? We would like to think with you about your business and the future improvements you could make. Please contact us for an enlightening logistics advise!