Two-day meeting of the Members' Council, focusing on strategy and leading teams18 February 2020
A two-day meeting of the Members' Council took place for the third time on January 23 and 24. What was discussed and what were its conclusions?
During the two-day meeting, growers and management had the opportunity to talk to each other in a relaxed setting. For brand new Members' Council member Gerrit Vermöhlen, the two-day meeting was the first Members' Council meeting. "Close cooperation between growers and the company is necessary in order to remain the biggest in the world. These types of meetings are very important."
Members' Council member Peter Smak (photo above) is impressed by just how much knowledge the 42 Members' Council members possess. "We're a cross-section of our membership. That means we never all see things the same way. At the same time, you do see that we're working towards the same goal. That's highly instructive. And it's even more apparent during a two-day meeting," he says. "The management of Royal FloraHolland involves the Members' Council in important issues from an early stage. Members were somewhat hesitant in the past. Now everyone is beginning to feel more comfortable in their role. Which only improves the conversations and discussions."
One of the points of discussion was Royal FloraHolland's strategy. Gerrit: "The coming year, we're heading towards 100% Digital. This is crucial in order to maintain our market position. As far as I'm concerned, that's where many opportunities lie for us as growers. For example: smart processes that make our work easier, all products on a single online platform and the opportunity to reach more and new customers." Some colleagues, however, prefer keeping things as they are, understands Peter. While other growers think that digitisation is not going well. "If we of the Members' Council hear this, we're more than happy to enter into discussion with other members. The growers' collective makes the cooperative. Royal FloraHolland has both the ability and the infrastructure." He does see various areas of improvement w.r.t the digital platform. "We at the Members' Council are committed to it. It is a significant change. The platform must, therefore, fit in well with our daily operations. That's precisely why I like asking members for their opinion. And why I invite them to attend the member sessions around the country. That, in turn, helps us in our conversations with the management."
The second day of the meeting included an assessment of the leading teams. How are things going now, after the first year? "The leading teams are much needed to discuss specific topics such as sustainability and the new forms of membership. Decisions can be taken quicker in a small team than in a large group", says Gerrit (photo below).
Peter agrees. Cooperation between the leading teams and the Members' Council was also discussed. "Sometimes, things are still a little unclear. What do we need from each other? We've reached a few agreements in this respect. For example, ensuring that the Members' Council knows about the direction of thought of a leading team. The leading team in turn receives interim feedback from the Members' Council, which helps to clearly formulate advice given to the management. It also enables us to better explain things to members and management."
Gerrit Vermöhlen (Peonies Vermöhlen) grows peonies. He runs the family business in Germany with his father Gerd. Gerrit has been on the Members' Council since 1 January. Peter Smak's company (Smak Tulips) is located in the West Frisian village of Onderdijk. He grows tulips. Peter has been a member of the Members' Council from the very beginning.
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