Green ambience for inside and outside
Austria’s “Green Number 1”, the garden centre chain bellaflora, is reorganising its logistics system. The company has developed a new centralised supply concept in close cooperation with Logwin. The logistics company Logwin has been doing a variety of tasks for bellaflora for 17 years now, ranging from procurement from the Far East via picking through to the disposal of packaging material.
Not everyone with a garden is blessed with a green thumb. However, with the right garden tools, even amateur gardeners can create a little paradise of their own. bellaflora, Austria’s largest specialised garden market chain, has all the right products for gardens. The company has been selling plants, gardening accessories and decorative items in Austria since 1978. Logwin transported the first containers for Austria’s “Green Number 1” back in 1994. Change is currently under way in the logistics for the garden centre. bellaflora is moving from a decentralised system to a new central system for supplying the branches, and Logwin’s new role will also be central.
bellaflora means ‘beautiful flower’. In order to live up to its name, bellaflora believes in short transport routes for live plants, which come from market gardens or nurseries in the vicinity of each centre. However, bellaflora imports gardening accessories and decorative items from all over the world.
- bellaflora was founded in 1978 and
was originally a regional nursery
business. 33 years later, the company
is still committed to a regional focus.
Today, bellaflora operates 24 garden
centres in seven Austrian provinces,
has approximately 500 employees and
about 1.7 million customers each year.
The range covers around 25,000
articles in the areas of garden,
decorative items and living ambience.
Environmental protection and sustain -
ability are important for the “Green
Logwin has been procuring some of this “hardware” from the Far East, primarily China, since the beginning of the collaboration. About 100 standard containers are transported by ship to the port of Hamburg each year, and the planters, basketry, decorative items or artificial plants then travel on to Linz by train. Up to now these products were brought together with other products sourced by bellaflora from Poland, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands or Germany, only when they arrived at the individual garden centres. Domestic and foreign suppliers delivered to the branches decentrally, with each supplier arriving at the garden markets in their delivery van to hand out rubber boots or watering cans. This is changing now, as the new logistics system will affect all the hardware. bellaflora’s managing director, Nikolaus Thaller M.A., says, “This concept will enable us to control our flow of goods more efficiently and thus to offer our customers even higher availability of goods”.
- Logwin has been doing a variety of tasks for
bellaflora for 17 years now, ranging from pro-
curement from the Far East via picking
48 hours in the transit warehouse
Since July 2011, Logwin has been the central hub for deliveries to the bellaflora stores, as Logwin now looks after the cross-docking for the hardware suppliers. The products arrive at the Logwin warehouse in Linz, and from there the logistics company takes over the bundled distribution. The changeover is taking place in steps and should be completed during the 2012 financial year. Then Logwin will use 900 square metres of its storage space in Linz for the bellaflora products. In this transit warehouse, the staff sort and pick and pack all incoming goods quickly and deliver them to the 24 garden centres via the Logwin retail network. This means the articles spend only an average of 48 hours in the warehouse. The reorganisation of the logistics system is also changing the delivery structure for Logwin. “Deliveries used to be sporadic and order-related”, explains Dr Michael Plakolb, Manager Sales and Key Account Management for Sales and Logistics Engineering at the Logwin business segment Solutions. While up to now goods for bellaflora have been arriving at the Logwin warehouse in Linz about once a week, Logwin expects one delivery per day in the future. This also means that goods will leave the warehouse more frequently too: “There will be regular deliveries to the stores too, once a week in the low season, and twice a week in the high season,” says Dr Michael Plakolb. He anticipates there will be 6,500 outgoing pallets per year and that around seven full-time workers will be working only for bellaflora. Furthermore, the introduction of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is planned for next year. Then the transport boxes can be “married” to the goods. The unambiguous assignment of each consignment to a load device or type of loading equipment means that bellaflora will know at any time which goods are located where.
- bellaflora was one of the first Austrian companies
to stock a wide range of organic products.
Once just useful, now also beautiful
Flowerpots and watering cans have always been useful everyday items. But in the 21st century they are decorative too. They can be trendy, elegant or colourful and fit perfectly into the interior design. bellaflora has developed this into a new business idea and has introduced the product world “ambiente” (ambience) with exclusive decorations and unusual gift ideas. This new sales model has led to a constant increase in incoming products for Logwin too. Dr Michael Plakolb estimates that Logwin is importing several thousand article groups for bellaflora. Beside the standard bellaflora products there is also room for other articles and items in the Logwin warehouse. “We occasionally need additional storage space, such as for new openings, renovations or advertising campaigns such as at Christmas,” says Nikolaus Thaller M.A.
However Logwin’s work does not end with handling goods. Artificial plants, for example, are shipped from abroad in individual parts. Logwin staff in Linz then put the individual components together and put the artificial plants into pots. Only then are they ready for display on the shelves. In addition, Logwin is responsible for the labelling and the disposal of the packaging material. Logwin has been processing around 500 bellaflora items per year up to now. “This number will multiply in the future too,” says Dr Michael Plakolb. With the support of its logistics service provider, bellaflora can continue to focus on its core competencies: making sure there are beautiful gardens and tasteful homes all over Austria for both professionals and amateurs.