How RFID works at FloraHolland

By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
January 27, 2011 - MMH Editorial

This story first appeared in the February 2007 issue of Modern Materials Handling

FloraHolland, Naaldwijk, Netherlands

Employees: 1,700 total employees
Annual Sales: $2 billion euros
Size: 1 million sq ft
Products: Fresh cut flowers
Throughput: 10,000 trolleys per day

The evening before delivery, buckets of fresh flowers are loaded onto trolleys at grower locations near the distribution center. Each trolley is uniquely identified with a permanent RFID tag. Once the trolleys are loaded on a truck, the grower sends an advance ship notification via EDI to FloraHolland. That information is also used to create a license plate bar code that identifies the flowers on the trolley.

Only the bar code is scanned at the receiving dock to check in the load. Using a touch screen computer, FloraHolland’s receivers grade the flowers based on freshness and quality. They also manually enter the trolley’s ID number from the RFID tag into the system. The trolley information and bar code information are now linked in FloraHolland’s database.

Once received and graded, the flowers are delivered by a tugger to cooling areas, where they are stored until the daily auction begins. RFID reader antennas mounted at strategic locations in the floor track where the trolley is located and the length of time it takes to deliver a trolley from the dock to the cooling area.

Trolleys are pulled through the auction area by a chain conveyor. An RFID reader scans the RFID tag on the trolley. Based on that scan, information about the flowers on the trolley is retrieved from a database and displayed for buyers on an LED readout.

Once the flowers have been purchased, trolleys are delivered to a distribution area, where they are stored until the buyer takes ownership and arranges for delivery.

RFID blooms in Holland for FloraHolland
At FloraHolland, RFID technology moves flowers from the receiving docks to storage areas.

About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Executive Editor

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. More recently, Trebilcock became editorial director of Supply Chain Management Review. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.

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