‘Planning is actually the core of the business’

    A new student has been working with us for several months now. She wants to go to university next year to work in healthcare. She grew up on a farm with her parents and grandparents. Her grandfather rents out the land and her parents have a job. She is 17 and is always amazed at what she can learn from us.

    The work she does is simple production work; sorting and cleaning of plants for delivery and sorting and cleaning of plants for potting. What she finds interesting is how the plants grow and how the planning works. During us working together it makes sense that I explain how plants grow. All cultivation measures are aimed at making it as easy as possible for the plants to grow.

    A mistake can have mayor consequences

    Yet there is much to be said about the consequences of measures. The same goes for planning. And when I started talking about it, I was even surprised for a moment. Planning is actually the core of the business. The timing of delivery determines when plants will be started, delivered, potted and treated. For Bromelias this is a process of almost 2 ½ years. For Hibiscus this is a 9-month process and 6 months for Ficus.

    The planning of materials is important to ensure that all steps take place on time. Our pots and soil come from the Netherlands and are on transport for about 2 months. It is therefore important that this is done correctly, because a mistake can have major consequences. Then the planning of the work is important; because Clen and I only work with students we need enough hands to do the job, but no more than we have work for.

    During the day there is also a planning of what needs to be done; We start the day with packing. The day before, the plants are collected and cleaned, boxes are taped, box stickers and invoices are made (there is no auction to take care of the finances). When the boxes go into the truck, even planning the sequence is an important step, because the companies are about 10 km apart. And when the truck has left around 10 a.m., there is time for work in the crop and preparations for delivery the next day.

    A bit ahead of schedule

    The run-up to Mother’s Day was marked this year by a shortage of product. The demand is greater than the supply. This year product is delivered quite green. Because of that pressure, we are a bit ahead of schedule. It has no major consequences for prices, because everything is mediated. Small price increases are taking place, but without major consequences for the annual sales. After all, the planning has already been set.

    The weekend of May 24 is an important weekend for sales. It’s a long weekend with a Monday off. The chance of night frost after May 24 is also very small. Traditionally, all gardens will be planted this weekend with bedding plants and hanging baskets.

    Here the lockdown has been extended to June 2. No restaurants and patios open yet. We did get our first shot ourselves. Because the agricultural sector is considered essential, anyone in the sector can make an appointment. We have now passed the peak of the third wave, but the fear for the Indian variant is holding back the opening for the time being.

    Our student is now planning her own trajectory. She finds it particularly difficult to make choices. Does she want too much? Is the choice too complex? Can she foresee the consequences? I’ll ask her next time we work together.

    Angelle van Kleef,

    Colourfull Gardens, Ontario, Canada

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