A more sustainable solution for Hilltop Fresh Flowers: Moving from cardboard cartons to CHEP’s Foldable bins

Floral company benefits from reusable packaging, delivers flowers in foldable bulk bins from CHEP

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Family owned and operated local South Australian business, Hilltop Fresh Flowers specialises in both the wholesale and retail of fresh cut flowers. Since its inception in 2012, the company has developed a reputation for high-quality fresh flowers, delivered direct to customers, over ninety supermarkets and another ten fruit shops, located across metropolitan and regional areas of South Australia.

With a passionate team of florists that have a combined total of 45 years’ experience, the company has thrived in a competitive market by providing customers with the best possible quality and personalised service. The company provides floral arrangements for weddings, birthdays, engagements, funerals, anniversaries, social events and corporate functions.

Image 1The key to Hilltop Fresh Flowers current success and future growth is maintaining an efficient and sustainable supply chain, which connects growers, retailers and customers.

As customer demand for fresh flowers continues to expand, the timeline between picking and delivery to their final destination has shortened, requiring Hilltop Fresh Flowers to establish a highly efficient supply chain.

Speaking about Hilltop Fresh Flowers operations, Director, Ross Trimboli said, “Our sustainable supply chain is crucial to consistently meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations, through the delivery of the best quality fresh flowers to the market.

“We source our flowers from our own farm located in Kersbrook, and from a variety of other local growers. In addition, via our agent at Footscray, we have access to hundreds of hectares of open flowers for our customers.”

Once the flowers are sourced from Footscray, they are then placed into CHEP’s Foldable Bins for transport across to the Hilltop Fresh Flowers Kersbrook site. The flowers are then picked and arranged, ready for distribution to retailers and other final customers.

The whole process from picking through to final delivery is completed within forty eight hours. Temperature control along with keeping the flowers moist (i.e. in water at five degrees) is paramount to ensuring they maintain freshness throughout the supply chain. As the foldable bins in this system are manufactured from food grade plastic, they are impervious to moisture and can be flat packed for easy storage. The bins assist with product storage, temperature control, handling flowers and avoiding the issues typically associated with wet cardboard.

Image 2Hilltop Fresh Flowers decided to transition from cardboard cartons to foldable bins over 12 months ago. Talking about this transition, Mr Trimboli said, “This has been one of the best decisions we’ve made. By using the foldable bins from CHEP, we’ve received several major benefits relating to supply chain efficiencies, sustainability, quality control and reducing costs.

“Previously, we would spend up to five dollars per carton and would only get a quarter of the flowers that we can now fit into the bins from the cartons. It would also take our staff up to four times longer to pack the flowers into cartons compared to what we can do now with the bins.”

The cardboard cartons also caused Hilltop Fresh Flowers a range of problems including an inability to cope with wet produce, becoming brittle in cool rooms and easily damaged by forklifts. Moving from cartons to bins, Mr Trimboli explained that they have reduced damages by 80% and therefore minimised wastage. Utilising these bins have also been beneficial for the company’s sustainability efforts, as they are able to reuse these, as opposed to the cartons which required disposal after use.

The foldable bins also assist Hilltop Fresh Flowers with storage and transportation, as the bins can be stacked three high, which maximises pallet spaces available on trucks.

The foldable bins are easily assembled for product loading and when empty, fold down to reduce space for storage and transportation. Its three-into-one fold down ratio provides Hilltop Fresh Flowers with savings in freight relocation costs. In addition, these bins assist Mr Trimboli and his team with segregating flower varieties within the warehouse.

Mr Trimboli said, “We engage in regular discussions with CHEP to ensure we are continuously improving and meeting our customer’s demand. CHEP works with our team on forecasting and with their strong network have consistently delivered reliable bins for our flowers. Our collaboration has been fundamental to our business achieving operational efficiencies in the movement of fresh flowers from farm to stores.”

If you’d like more information about growing your business with efficient and sustainable supply chain solutions from CHEP, please speak to your Account Manager or contact CHEP customer service team on 13 CHEP (13 2437).

Source: CHEP