Paloma Dias-Barcelo Romero: Analysis and Evolution of the Global Market of Flowers

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The flower market is large, and one with great potential and in which great changes are expected. A significant quantity of the fresh flowers that are imported by the United States enter through Miami, where the largest U.S. wholesalers are located. The local production of flowers is increasing, however, with much of the U.S. production being conducted in 15 states including California, Florida, and Michigan.

As an evolving market, platforms are still being developed to facilitate the flower business and its distribution. Technology advancements are key to its future, which is something that Industrial Technology and Management (INTM) graduate student Paloma Dias-Barcelo Romero (MITO ’19) discovered as she began to study the industry.

To get an in-depth look at how the flower industry functions, Romero studied a flower wholesaler that distributes flowers, plants, and supplies across 16 locations in the U.S. Romero was assisted by INTM Adjunct Professor Herb Shields.

Romero's research allowed her to determine that the wholesaler had some inefficiencies, so she performed an analysis to identify the origin of various issues. She also studied the activities of three company plants utilizing process mapping, in addition to looking at metrics that determine if each of the routes utilized for product distribution were efficient.

After studying the company and its procedures, Romero determined that a mobile application could be created, allowing for a greater control of information and an automated process to manage activities. Additionally, she determined that customer purchases could also be simplified, including selecting the products directly from the application.