We love getting flowers; they are a symbol of celebration. When you have achieved something, when you are turning 21, when you are in love, when you have graduated… Flowers are big business in Holland. The ‘Verenigde Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer’ translates to the United Flower Auction in Aalsmeer. Most of the flowers purchased in the world are auctioned on a daily basis at the Aalsmeer facilities. This happens by bringing supply and demand together by means of the auction clock, a fascinating process during which large and small batches of flowers are sold within fractions of seconds. In five auction halls, over a thousand wholesalers bid on trainloads of flowers as they cruise slowly by. The flower auction in Aalsmeer is the largest trading center for plants and flowers in the world. Around 21 million flowers are sold daily with a 15% increase around occasions like Valentine’s Day and Mothers’ day. The building of the flower auction is only a stone’s throw from Schiphol airport and one of the largest buildings by floor space in the world, it boasts an area of more than 630,000 square meters – bigger than 120 football fields.
The five operations performance objectives
Performance objectives are the generic set of performance indicators that can be used to set the objectives or judge the performance of any type of the operation, although there are alternative lists proposed by different authorities, the five performance objectives as used in the book of Slack et al. (2010: 40) are quality, speed, dependability, flexibility and cost. These performance objectives are the specific aspects of performance on which an operation is judged. What does the customer think is important? In the case of VBA, the operations performance objectives that are the most important to build into the design process are speed, quality and dependability (reliability). Speed: According to Slack et al. (2010: 42), ‘speed’ is the...