Resilience In Bloom - United Flower Growers

2020 has been the year of innovation, business development and striving for new business solutions within the unpredictable COVID-19 landscape.

This year United Flower Growers faced a big challenge - how do they support the industry in amongst the chaos of a global pandemic and continue to provide a platform in which it can both grow and flourish?

United Flower Growers (Auctions) started in the 1980s after a group of NZ growers wanted to provide a fairer platform for flower auctioning using the Dutch Clock system. Over the years this has morphed and developed into both an innovative online 'cloud' auction system that compliments their traditional 'in-house' Dutch clock auction. The online 'cloud' auction enables buyers to log in remotely and purchase their product online. Through this modern system United Flowers Growers was able to continue to supply all of their buyers with fresh cut flowers and foliage from the comfort and safety of their homes during NZ's alert Level-3 'contactless' trading periods.

The outbreak of COVID-19 stimulated the UFG teams to come together and create new 'pandemic specific' action plans and solutions for the industry to benefit from. Some of these included new health and safety protocols, remote working for their senior teams, and the hygienic management of the fresh product supply chain. Ensuring that the online 'cloud' auction ready for all buyers nationally to access meant that UFG needed to invest further into their remote auction technology. This was the first time in UFG's history that every single buyer would be using their online platform to purchase on auction, a massive pressure test for the system to undergo.

With certain floral lines taking years to grow and develop, UFG felt a duty to growers to be able to provide them with information and guidance when the country went into it's full Level-4 lockdown earlier this year. Many growers were uncertain on what they could or could not do in order to protect their crops from failing while all NZ businesses deemed 'non-essential' were told to stop operating. Reaching out to government agricultural heads for specific 'floriculture' protocols allowed clarity so that growers were able to continue caring for their crops safely.

Go 'behind-the-scenes' with us at United Flowers Growers and learn about how they remained resilient in 2020 by adapting their business through changes to auctioning product, investment into technology and providing a platform for the NZ floriculture industry.