Have you also noticed this the last two months? No, I’m not referring to all of Trump’s tweets about steel, North Korea, NAFTA, or the Mexican wall. What I’ve noticed, is the recent media silence on the biggest flower auction in the world: Royal FloraHolland.
We’re no longer presented with huge ambitions like ‘flowering the world’, increasing plant and flower usage by 10%, developing new markets, and the auction as the centre of the world trade. Instead, we’re getting to see a realistic, somewhat concerned, look on FloraHolland’s future value proposition, a service-oriented approach towards members and customers, close to home, and an awareness of how vulnerable the position of the auction is going to be the coming decade.
The auction’s ecosystem, together with professional, innovative growers and dynamic trading companies, is still an important competitive attribute for the Netherlands in the international floricultural industry. It’s an ecosystem that is worth defending and strengthening.
A few years ago, I argued in favour of administrative innovation regarding a service platform for members and customers. The idea was based on close collaboration between growers and traders and on keeping FloraHolland as administrator of this international platform offering product, quality, sustainability, marketing, digital, sales and logistics services. A multi-stakeholder platform/cooperative, controlled by production and trade.
Unfortunately, these so-called Santpoort meetings were put to a halt because the new management felt they wanted to go into a different strategic direction. A direction which, in my opinion, wouldn’t contribute to maintaining the ecosystem’s strong position.
I get the impression that the newly appointed CEO and the cooperative’s chairman are more focused on getting back to reality, a service-oriented approach towards members and customers, less talk, more action, increasing the quality of their services, reducing costs and on how to manage their vulnerable position without letting go of the digital and logistic ambitions.
Perhaps this is a good moment to reconsider the Santpoort meetings; before they were ceased the last time, it didn’t take long for some prominent members and customers to agree on a new, collaborative model aiming to maintain the auction’s highly competitive ecosystem.
Herman de Boon,