The ‘double spike’ of Bank Holiday’s next year presents a great opportunity for the garden industry. With personal budgets still tight and public sector spending cuts still to take their toll it is likely that many families will continue to ‘holiday at home’ next year. If the weather is good over the lengthened Bank Holiday period, which links Easter with the Early May Bank Holiday and the additional Royal Wedding Bank Holiday, then hopefully the public will be encouraged to spend more time in their gardens and at their local garden centres.
If this is the case then it will be vital for the plant supply chain to be in full working order with a smooth transition of plant supplies between growers and retailers. With this in mind the group heard from Phil Squance, Managing Director of Container Centralen (CC) who spoke about ‘Operation Chip It’ and the implementation of the RFID tagging system which goes live across Europe, including the UK, in January 2011. Growers expressed concern over the lack of engagement between CC and its customers ahead of the initiative and urged CC to take a more proactive approach to addressing this.
Geoff Caesar, Chair of the HTA Ornamentals Committee said, “We need to ensure that our peak trading season runs smoothly and now with an extra Bank holiday in the mix it is imperative if the industry wishes to capitalise on the opportunity ahead. The whole supply chain needs to be geared up for this, particularly in the light of ‘Operation Chip It’. As an industry we simply can’t afford to risk having bottlenecks during the peak season and I encourage all those who use CC trolleys to sign up now.”
The latest list of growers and retailers signed up to Operation Chip It and a Q and A information sheet can be viewed at http://www.the-hta.org.uk/page.php?pageid=494