Innovation is continuous improvement

The Netherlands is often found somewhere in the top of the international innovation ranking lists. When people look at those lists, they usually think of technological breakthroughs. A well-known Dutch example is the CD. All of a sudden, listening to music interrupted by surface noise and clicking sounds became a thing of the past. Nowadays, this is true for the CD itself, as we have moved on to music streaming. Companies have less and less time to recoup their investments. This applies to process innovations as well as products. And that’s why incremental improvements can be more sensible than trying to launch a breakthrough.

At Royal FloraHolland, we’re always looking for the right balance between the two approaches. It’s business as usual for us during a renovation. A good example of one of our in-house innovations is the new fc588 container. At first sight, you’d say it’s exactly like its predecessor, but this new model is much easier to handle, and we can fit more on one trolley. That saves on costs. The new bucket washer in Aalsmeer is another great example. It’s much more economical in terms of water and energy usage, while offering better cleaning results.

Our growers have an innate desire to improve. They need to cultivate prettier and stronger crops all the time. Standstill is like moving backwards. When I visit growers or buyers, I often come across impressive innovative solutions. With regards to climate control and energy saving for example; our sector is working hard to stay on track for the energy transition.

Innovation often starts with research and development. That’s why I’m very excited about the new ‘Kennis In Je Kas’ (Knowledge in your greenhouse) programme. Thanks to contributions of all growers, supplemented with a contribution of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, a substantial amount of money will be invested in the structural strengthening of our floricultural sector. And that’s exactly what’s needed, if we want to ensure that the Netherlands continues to be the number-one hub of the floricultural sector. We’ll have to be more efficient and more effective, faster than ever before. And this applies to all the links in the chain. Let’s all work on it together!

Steven van Schilfgaarde,

CEO Royal FloraHolland

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