I recently spent a few days back in the Netherlands. Our three children are all studying in the Netherlands now and my mother turned 80 – it was great to be able to celebrate her birthday together! I also managed to fit in a few business meetings and some of those touched on the general feelings around Royal FloraHolland’s plans to digitalise the auctioning of all plants.
With my background of four years as ‘Head Plant Auctioning’ in Aalsmeer, I’m following these plans with a particular interest from a distance. The television footage featuring Paul Barendse (Dutch grower of pot plants) and Jan de Boer (director of flower exporting company Barendse) was shared here, among growers in Brazil, as well.
When it comes to physical auctioning, things are calmer here in Holambra. The auction clocks are still very popular. Even if 65% of our turnover comes from intermediary services these days. Our position is strong, because there aren’t any alternative auction clocks in all of Latin America!
Still, we’ve got plenty of challenges to work on and discuss with our members. Complacency is lurking, but when things don’t move along fast enough, the criticism isn’t mild here either. Something we hear quite often is that we should get members more involved. Maybe by creating small sub groups. Okay, but the members should also attend the meetings and read the invitations and other information. Are you familiar with these discussions?
Take for example our digital platform. Our cooperative’s web shop functions properly. We update and improve it on a regular basis. And still, some growers aren’t really using it. It’s not unusual to see absolutely no roses in our web shop during the weekend! “But André, you’ve got to do more to explain the importance of digital trading!”
The situation around our auction presale is similar. No more than approximately thirty growers make use of it every week. What do people say: “There’s hardly any sales through auction presale.” A classic chicken-and-egg dilemma. People say that you’ve got to wait for the right time. What about the financial crisis? And many growers and wholesalers are complaining about the increasing costs.
Our information evenings and general members meeting are scheduled for the coming weeks. I’m looking forward to the discussions and we’d be more than happy to meet people in smaller groups. Please share your opinions. There’s still plenty to improve!
André van Kruijssen,
Director Veiling Holambra