Xpol supplies flowers to supermarkets. They’re a relatively small player within the market, which continues to be characterised by scaling-up, but Tom Vermeer and Hans van der Goes don’t see that as a threat. “Large market players can benefit from economies of scale, but it doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the lowest prices. At the end of the day, you need to make your process as compact as possible.” Xpol aims to realise this through heavy investments in technology.
Under normal circumstances, Tom Vermeer takes a plane to Kenya around six times per year. Business partner Hans van der Goes also travels frequently, to visit growers. The fact that this isn’t possible now, is something the two are struggling with more and more. “We’re really missing the personal interaction. Customer contact is different too. Most category managers are now working from home. You can sense that people are less involved with the business”, experiences Tom Vermeer of Xpol.
We’re meeting in Rijsenhout. Xpol celebrated its tenth anniversary this year. Vermeer isn’t keen on the term ‘trading company’; he argues that their working method differs from most other companies. “We don’t look at market prices or the auction clock. If the market is bad, we don’t buy extra to improve our margins. We make agreements with our customers and we find growers who can fulfil them. They receive a fixed price, regardless of what’s going on within the market. We stand for a high-quality, fresh product”, explains Vermeer.
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