The California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) recently hired Tom French of Supply Chain Coach to lead in the development of a transportation system that will enable flower growers to more efficiently distribute their product in and out of the state. With guidance from French, the California cut flower industry hopes to decrease overall truck traffic, reduce its carbon footprint, improve product quality control and secure more competitive shipping rates.
French will work with CCFC’s New Model Development Task Force Committee made up of nine growers from throughout the state. Chaired by Oxnard grower Anthony Vollering of Sunshine Floral, the committee has been working during the past year collecting the industry’s historical shipping information, outlining goals and objectives and identifying possible solutions.
“California’s cut flower industry has an annual impact of nearly $10.3 billion on the state’s economy,” Vollering says. “This critical effort will further help our industry thrive while also contributing significantly to the state’s overall economy.”
French’s hire is the first phase in a three-prong approach in applying the recently awarded California Department of Food and Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant. Next steps will include creating and implementing a plan for the new transportation model and then sustaining the effort over the long term. The commission plans to have a “new model” recommendation to the industry by the end of 2009.
“Judiciously managing transportation costs in today’s extremely competitive environment is necessary no matter what business you are in,” says Kasey Cronquist, executive director of the CCFC. “Addressing the specific transportation challenges our growers are facing from a statewide perspective is long overdue.”