Flamingo Flowers Ltd, a division of Flamingo Horticulture, is one of the largest global suppliers of fresh cut flowers. Flamingo source and process a total of c.780m stems per annum primarily for the UK and continental European markets, of which c280m stems are grown on Flamingo’s own farms in Africa.
Flamingo Flowers is a core supplier to the leading UK multiple retailers in the Horticulture and Gifting category, based on deep and longstanding strategic partnerships and operating a high-volume business based on a perishable product. With Cedar Bay, Flamingo has the ability to understand and work in this environment.
Flamingo has been an IFS UK customer for 17 years. The company started out on version 2003 of IFS Applications and upgrading to Applications 7 in 2008. In 2011, it invested in using the Cedar Bay Data Capture solution to manage their in-bound quality process.
Due to the success of these projects, Cedar Bay was asked to work with Flamingo Flowers on the development of a budget for the upgrade or re-implementation to take the company to IFS Applications 9. Having run technical upgrade processes since the original implementation in the early 2000s, there was a focus on the project needing to be more than this and to be a catalyst in ensuring that IFS is more widely used across the business. A number of third party products had also been incorporated; whereas in the past IFS could not support the whole process, and a key objective was to bring the sub-systems onto IFS to provide better supportability and visibility of the processes. As Flamingo operates on a number of sites, another key objective was to determine standard best-practise ways of working across the sites and implement these as part of the project.
Given the backdrop of the objectives, the management team decided it was time to re-implement the IFS solution to enable them to review their processes and their overall solution, and at the same time restructure and clean their data.
Once Cedar Bay had been appointed as the partner to carry out this project, the planning phase started using the Cedar Bay five-step model. The initial creation of the project charter is a key step in this process, which sets out some of the key elements of the project such as:
- Business objectives, deliverables, ownership, budgets and constraints
- Steering committee, with their roles and responsibilities
- Project team members, responsibilities and availability
- Communications, change management and escalation processes
Once these elements had been identified, the detailed project plan
Cedar Bay provided project management and consulting services, supporting the Flamingo Flowers’ team throughout the project. Alongside the consultants providing the vital functional knowledge, there were technical consultants to support and train the Flamingo technical team. From a project governance and a project management viewpoint, a Cedar Bay Project Manager worked alongside the Flamingo Project Manager, who worked with senior members of the Cedar bay team on the steering committee when applicable. Projects of this nature are not without challenges throughout but the team tackled them as and when they became known.
Resourcing was a key issue and significant work was put in to ensure the resources were available as planned. Flamingo Flowers operate in a highly- seasonal market sector with huge peaks in demand around key dates such as Valentine’s Day. The implementation plan set out to work around these peaks and ensure that the project did not disrupt the business. The steering committee recognised the commitment that was required to deliver the project and was instrumental in making sure that resources were available and committed to the project, and this was monitored at all monthly steering committee meetings.
One of the reasons behind the successes was that the project charter maintained focus of the project on the 13 key deliverables. These were reviewed at each of the steering meetings to ensure that the focus was maintained.
The timescales were challenging and Flamingo decided to delay the initial go-live by two months to provide more time for training on the system and data migration that Flamingo was responsible for.
The Cedar Bay team worked diligently with the Flamingo team to streamline their business processes and create standard- operating models across their facilities which was a key deliverable. This was all achieved against the original budgets set out for Cedar Bay. A second key objective was to remove third-party process solutions and replace with integrated solutions. Through the use of standard IFS processes in Applications 9 and Cedar Bay scanning applications, all modifications have been removed and three of their third party applications were brought into IFS as part of the process.
- The shipping functionality is now running with integrated scanning using Cedar Bay Apps with all data processed through IFS Applications.
- Re-useable flower transit units are tracked end to end across the business using Cedar Apps and IFS Applications.
- The product data creation routines and estimating functions are all in standard IFS Applications.
The implementation puts Flamingo Flowers on a standard supportable release with a well-trained internal team supporting the 200+ users. The company now plans to rollout this implementation into a number of other sites.