Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day so it seems appropriate to think about what it takes to bring roses and such to the American romantic. According to SmartMoney.com (Valentine’s Day War of the Roses, Feb 1), florists get 40% of their annual revenue from the holiday, so getting the right blooms to the right locations is paramount. Enter UPS and FedEx with dueling press releases on steps they are taking to make sure we are not left empty-handed and red-faced without the proper token of our affection. According to UPS (Love Is in the Air, via UPS, Feb 12), without Miami there would be no Valentine’s Day since that is where 80% of fresh-cut flowers for holiday enter the US. UPS expects to handle over 30 million flowers and that, obviously, takes a lot of work:
The logistics of transporting flowers is not an easy task and requires a lot of coordination, planning and expertise to ensure that the integrity of the flowers is preserved. In preparation for this year’s Valentine’s Day, UPS teams in Miami and in Latin America are strategically organizing the various elements involved in cold-chain logistics — the transportation of temperature sensitive goods. This includes humidity-controlled shipping containers and refrigerated cooling facilities on the airport premises. This perfectly orchestrated process minimizes delays, which can impact the life and freshness of the flowers.
“The increased demand for flowers during this time of year generates a 75% increase in total UPS imports from leading flower producers like Ecuador and Colombia,” says Tom O’Malley, vice president of cargo for UPS Americas. “To satisfy the demand for flowers this Valentine’s Day, UPS has added 16 flights and upgraded four aircraft to a larger capacity, accommodating additional cargo coming into Miami.”
FedEx faces similar challenges as the Boys in Brown (FedEx Couriers Play Cupid This Valentine’s Day, Feb 11):
Valentine’s Day is already one of the busiest periods of the year for FedEx. The week of Valentine’s Day, FedEx expects to make hundreds of thousands of deliveries on top of its average daily volume of 7.5 million shipments. In addition to the deliveries that FedEx Express will be making for ProFlowers on Sunday, February 14, FedEx will deliver millions of pounds of flowers, chocolates, teddy bears and other gifts in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day.
To handle the influx of shipments throughout the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, FedEx and its network of dedicated team members will add extra flights and refrigerated trucks to its normal operations. Additionally, FedEx Express hubs and facilities in Miami, Memphis, Los Angeles, Oakland and Indianapolis will be hosting additional, longer and dedicated flower sorts throughout the week to accommodate the incremental volume of Valentine’s Day flowers and gifts.
There is an added challenge this year with February 14th falling on a Sunday. Hence FedEx is working with a client (on-line florist ProFlowers) to provide special Sunday deliveries. This is supposedly the first time that FedEx has offered Sunday delivery for Valentine’s Day as well as the first time they have offered Sunday delivery just one client.
A final note, pizzerias don’t use demand management for the Super Bowl, but florists do for Valentine’s. According to the SmartMoney article:
Prices can easily top $60 for a bouquet of a dozen long-stemmed roses, with fancier arrangements well above $100. But wait much beyond the start of February to order, and you can expect to pay a premium. Many florists and other companies that sell flowers use complex algorithms based on their supply and demand gauged from early orders to set pricing, says Jon Strom, the vice president of floral and lifestyle merchandising of the Price Chopper Supermarket chain based in Schenectady, N.Y., who has also worked on the wholesale and online sides of the floral industry. As the holiday approaches, they may offer sales on arrangements that haven’t sold well, and pump up prices on those popular bouquets with dwindling supply.