FloraHolland, the word’s largest flower trading company, will use two Netezza Performance Server systems to provide business intelligence to deal with increasing demands for management information.
The firm houses flowers from 7,000 growers in a huge warehouse and shifts 100,000 trolley-loads a day to meet demand from 4,000 dealers and exporters who trade through 26 online auction ‘clocks’ or via FloraHolland’s direct sales force.
In October, FloraHolland began piloting radio frequency identification (RFID) system from GlobeRanger and Atos Origin to track batches of flowers.
Now the firm is installing the Netezza’s data warehouse appliances to replace its existing SQL Server system, which is struggling to handle a rapidly growing volume of logistical and transactional data and increasing numbers of users.
Hans Uithol, chief information officer at FloraHolland, said the RFID project – which is likely to generate large volumes of data as flower trolleys are transferred from place to place - had added to demands on the company’s IT system.
“Our technology challenge was already significant. We faced an escalating number of concurrent users wanting to perform more ad hoc and complex BI queries. We also wanted to introduce RFID technology that had the potential to grind our existing infrastructure to a halt.
“This was further exacerbated a few months ago with the proposed merger with the flower auction company Aalsmeer, which will potentially double the size of our operation.”
The new system would allow FloraHolland to analyse data relating to transport and logistics as well as commercial transactions more effectively and speedily.
Uithol said: “Staying well-informed helps us to better manage our relationships with growers and buyers as well as to define product strategy and pricing. BI is also core to our ability to monitor service level compliance and employee efficiency – as well as to measure and control error margins.”
FloraHolland and systems integrator Inergy have now finished proof of concept testing for the two new Netezza systems, using five years of historical company data – over 500 million records. The new system is able to return queries around 30 times faster than the existing software.