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OM in the News: The Logistics of Valentine’s Day Roses

February 15, 2014

Valentine_RoseU.S. consumers buy the most flowers on Valentine’s and Mother’s Days–and getting fresh roses to market takes speed, the right temperature, and skill. Like all perishable products, flowers require specific temperatures to maintain freshness, without which they will lose their bloom.

Complicating this need for the ideal temperature, flowers travel a long way from field to store reports Supply Chain 24/7 (Feb. 13, 2014). Eighty percent of all flowers sold for Valentine’s Day are shipped from Latin America, with 12% coming from domestic production and 8% arriving from other locations. In 2013, there were over 231,000  bushels of roses imported into the U.S. from Latin America. Most of these came from Colombia (142,000) and Ecuador (79,000).

Shipping starts weeks before the holiday and the best flowers arrive early. The graphic shows the 2-week path of a rose, from the fields of Latin America to the hands of its recipient.

Classroom discussion questions:

1. What are the risks to this supply chain (see Chapter 11)?

2. How does the supply chain for flowers differ from that of clothes made in Asia?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2014 12:25 am

    This is a well-illustrated example of a supply chain that my students can relate to. Thanks for providing us with such valuable and timely classroom material.

  2. February 17, 2014 10:40 am

    Recently, a study was published on the Kenyan-Dutch Supply Chain for Roses. That chain appears more efficient/faster than the South America-USA chain, but they also still have some major challenges to overcome.

    You can download the study here:

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