"It is important that everyone can make the transition to Floriday.”14 April 2021
A new approach for Floriday was announced at the end of March. In close cooperation with growers, buyers, software suppliers and agents, the platform will be improved in the upcoming period. The approach focuses on better and more intensive cooperation, broader trading possibilities, working with ease, and increasing predictability. We discussed what the approach means for growers and buyers with André van der Linden, CIO of Royal FloraHolland.
How do you reflect on the past period from your position?
"It was a turbulent time. We are in a period of great change and this is generating resistance. The amount of resistance and the accompanying emotions were especially frustrating for all those who had done their very best to make Floriday a success. Essentially, we underestimated the impact of the implementation on growers and buyers. Last year, the market worked extremely hard to meet the deadline of 31 December, 2020. While a deadline does provide focus for all involved, it can also result in tunnel vision. As a result of this focus , we paid too little attention to the signals we received from the market. Digitising not only means working with a new system, but also implementing an entirely new working method. When we started a broad roll-out at the end of 2020, the impact of the change only became apparent in practice."
What feedback was received from the market?
"In the past few months, we have engaged in intensive discussions with various groups to carefully map out the concerns and the improvements needed to get started with Floriday. We received some solid feedback. There is support for digitalisation, and almost everyone wants to work with us to create something beautiful for the industry. However, for a significant group, the change and its impact are too much. The sessions also only underscored the diversity of our industry. This resulted in some great conversations between growers. Some of the users are satisfied and want to work with digital supply on Floriday. Another segment of growers and buyers want a closer fit with the current way of working. In short, for some growers the change is greater than for others. It is important that everyone is able to make the transition, so we should make it easier. I am very happy with all the feedback. We now know where the shoe pinches. It is precisely this feedback that will help us improve and come out stronger. It is also why we will continue to have structural dialogue with the market."
How do you currently feel about the Floriday platform?
"With Floriday, we as a platform are creating a flexible and future-proof foundation for floriculture. Based on this foundation, we can improve and develop functionalities that make the chain work more efficiently. We see that good use is already being made of the trading opportunities currently offered by the platform. Currently, 30% of direct flows goes through Floriday. The growers and buyers who have been using Floriday, in some cases for a long time, will not be left out in the cold in the meantime. We will continue to develop Floriday to offer them even more user-friendliness and efficiency. In the development of Floriday, we have always been in dialogue with users and software suppliers and we will do so even more. We are finding out from the workshops that we have overlooked some groups. We now want to ensure that we systematically address all relevant signals. The interactive roadmap that we provide for Floriday is an important tool in this. This immediately ensures transparency and predictability of the development of functionalities. Ultimately, the continued growth of the platform is key, given that it will lead to more supply and more demand. Everyone in the industry will reap the benefits of that."
How will Floriday's approach look in the near future?
"The approach is aimed at improving cooperation, greater trading opportunities and easier operations, predictability and improvement of functionalities. Examples of frequently mentioned functionalities include the purchase tip, contracts, scaled prices and auction functionalities. We will work with users to map out what improvements are desired and implement them for each component. Scaled prices, for example, are being used for various reasons. We need to understand these properly in order to decide which solution in Floriday best suits the task. We will look for the right solution together with relevant groups. To this end, we are organising so-called ideation and validation sessions. There will always be proponents and opponents. Which is also something we noticed in conversations during the workshops. This also means that, in the end, we have to make choices that not everyone will agree with."
Why was this approach chosen?
"Ultimately, we want to connect growers and buyers so that together they can make the most of the market. Our goal is optimum pricing at the lowest possible cost. That mission remains unchanged. Digitalisation offers many benefits and makes the industry and all parties working in it future-proof and more adaptable to changing market conditions. We are working on our digital ambition and will continue to develop Floriday to offer more user-friendliness and efficiency. We are currently experiencing the pain of change, but the goal is for everyone to, at some point, see those benefits too. After all, digitisation is not just the digital reproduction of something that already exists. We want to contribute to making the chain more efficient. In practice, it is impossible to provide tailor-made solutions for everyone, but we can make the transition easier for everyone. We have done this by letting go of the deadline for the time being and now bringing growers, buyers and software suppliers along in the change step by step. The workshops showed that there is a widely supported need for a new deadline in order to get moving as an industry, but on the condition that it is actually feasible. The rollout will take place in phases. We will determine the deadlines based on the plans we are currently devising together with the market ."
Where do you hope to be at the end of the year with Floriday?
"Thanks to the intensive cooperation with the market, I think we can improve Floriday and make it more accessible to everyone. By working more intensively with the market and making Floriday a better fit, I hope that people will genuinely see that we are doing things differently now than before. It is now up to us to prove that our working methods have changed and that we are able to turn Floriday into a useful system for everyone. I would be delighted if our critics would think along with us by participating in ideation sessions. I cordially invite them to do so."