Supply chain insights from Laurie Nesbitt, Florists Supply President
2021 is proving to be a tough year for the floral industry supply chain. At the start of the pandemic in 2020, we had a sizable amount of Supply inventory, growers had their normal crop planning in place, and flower demand was low.
Flower Channel Challenges
Later in the year and into 2021, industry demands have increased significantly while fresh flower vendors are struggling to keep up. Labour and material shortages, and low numbers for crop forecasting (using low demand numbers at the start of the pandemic to make 2021 predications), are elements causing low product availability. Production yields are also very low due to poor climate conditions in South America. Production has been brought to a halt in these growing regions due to two months of continuous rainy days with cooler temperatures overnight. Weather is hoping to improve, but the impacts will last the rest of the year. The lack of product from South America has put a strain on other growing regions, limiting availability everywhere while driving prices up.
Supply Channel Challenges
Overseas Supplies shipping is delayed, in many cases one to two months. Factories also are dealing with labour shortages and high demand. Those that are able to produce products on-time must then wait to find an open container booking to ship. Ocean freight rates this year are approximately 600% higher than rates paid in 2019, and port congestion slows the usual shipping timeline. This shipping situation has caused the majority of our overseas Supply products ordered for the second half of 2021 to arrive in September/October versus the usual July/August. The good news is the product has been produced and we should have most of the items available for you this month.
Florists Supply Customer Service Representatives, in both cut flowers and supplies, are doing their upmost best to fill orders when possible and suggest substitutions. We have also sourced other Cut Flower and Supply vendors where possible to find replacement products. Unfortunately, there are some things that are out of our control such as late deliveries and vendor product outages without alternatives. Your patience and understanding is appreciated in these situations from all of us.
Thank you for your ongoing support during this robust and rollercoaster kind of year with increased Supply Chain disruptions.