Our client on this assignment was a leading cut flower exporter with over 175 hectares of greenhouse cut flower plantations in East Africa. At the time, 80% of the cut flower produce from these farms is sold through the world’s leading floral auction in Aalsmere in the Netherlands, and remaining 20% sold directly to consumers in Europe.
The client had just come to the end of their previous five-year planning period, in the course of which various assumptions on which their concluding business plan was based had changed, putting the client under pressure from competing cut flower growers and exporters from South Africa, South America, and parts of Asia.
The client needed to review its performance through the concluding five-year planning period, and establish a new strategic direction, specifically focused on meeting shifting consumer demands in the global cut flower market. The client also needed to develop a a reliable process by which the strategy would be rolled out across its farms located in different locations to ensure seamless, end-to-end management of quality, demand and various important elements of compliance.
We started this assignment with a detailed engagement with the CEO to obtain understanding of the business, and its key strategic concerns.
We also engaged with management to evaluate performance over the concluding period, to isolate areas that the business did not perform well in and to determine reasons for such performance.
Our consultants on the assignment also spent considerable time studying the industry, evaluating global trends and performance as well as determining vital relationships and performance indicators that the client would need to keep a tab on to enhance their competitiveness.
At a joint planning meeting, we laid our the business’ planning framework, identified specific areas of focus and the means by which performance in these areas would be measured, and evaluated over the planning period. Special attention was paid to the business' need to increase its cut flower varieties, comply with Fairtrade requirements, as well as how the production process would be optimised to minimise losses accruing from underproduction and overproduction of flower stems within the determined product mix for different markets.
The balance of the time on the assignment was spent supporting management to develop function-specific strategies and action plans, by which the business units were going to collectively meet key targets set in the strategic plan.
The client obtained a sound strategic plan, that specifically drove product and market diversification, which saw the client go into new markets in Eastern Europe and in Asia, from which they were able to obtain far greater margins than it was possible in the European market.
The client was also able to significantly grow its direct sales business, which also not only yielded bigger margins, but also helped the client to build its own independent brand
Through our People Performance Division, we ran team building programmes through which the client's strategy was communicated to the rest of the staff, and through which staff got opportunity to interrogate the strategy, internalize it, and build motivation to achieve its set goals.
This client has continued to consolidate its leadership in the global cut-flower trade, as well as to deliver good returns on investment, which the shareholders are happy about.