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IT in bloom

IDG News Service | Nov. 2, 2009
With a rosy cut flower business in the Philippines for more than 25 years now, Philippine Cut Flower Corporation (PCFC) assures that it's not only a green thumb and a love for flowers that keep their offerings in bloom.

It is why Island Rose made strategic and innovative investments in IT applications, which Andaya attributes to have given their business growth, competitiveness, operational efficiency, and increased profits. "Through strategic investments in IT applications, we were able to inexpensively automate our sales process, accounting, and most specially our farm maintenance. This translates to hundreds or even thousands of man-hours saved in running our operations... cheaper costs for us and affordability for our customers."


Being an e-commerce retailer, it also corresponds to online payment, which in turn pops up questions about the security of customer data. Andaya guaranteed clients need not worry as they have PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance or Payment Card Industry security standard accreditation. "This assures us that our clients' payment information is kept secure even from our own company."

Elaborating on Island Rose's highly secure payment facilities, he commented how they "never see or keep sensitive credit card data. When you buy from Island Rose, the credit card data you input goes straight to the payment gateway without passing human hands. The only item we see is an approval code that says whether the payment is good or not," he says.

Andaya justifies this as a clever move than the previous method of manually swiping the card. With the former, a dastardly retailer can copy the card data when the customer isn't looking. Fraud can also occur when agents ask for credit card details over the phone or through email.

He also adds that security integrity of the website can be attributed to their utilization of Network Solutions SSL and Sure Seal Business and Privacy Policy verification standards.

Software also abounds in this business. They keep track of the status of customer orders from the moment it was placed until it reaches in the recipient with order processing and customer management system software. Customers who want to update their orders can simply call in and find out the details they want to know.

Even their greenhouse facilities have state-of-the art and IT-enabled written all over it. The Island Rose website explains that the company employs the most advanced greenhouse structures to guarantee that customers get the best flowers -- the very business that they take pride of.

"Our greenhouses' climate and feeding controls are automated," explains Andaya. Computers gather data from inside and outside the facility, determining the optimal inputs to make flowers grow with the best quality and highest productivity. Their computers achieve this, he continued, by mixing activities such as controlling vents, shading, cooling systems, plant food and irrigation. Their people of course control the settings but it is the computers that take over the repetitive tasks such as those ones mentioned beforehand. Thanks to the latter, their manpower can focus on essential activities such as nurturing for the flowers and harvesting them.


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