Members' Council Column: Confidence in the future and in Floriday06 May 2021
Together we are building a new digital cooperative with Floriday. The introduction was recently postponed. A step-by-step plan has been drawn up and an interactive roadmap. The Members' Council of Royal FloraHolland has been closely involved with this, because it is of great importance that everyone is able to work with it soon. Floriday belongs to all of us and is for all of us.
Making our sales cooperative future-proof is more relevant than ever. And Floriday has a major role to play in that. That also applies to my company. In 2005, we started a rose nursery in Ethiopia, in addition to our rose nursery in Rijsenhout. In the meantime, the company of our family (my parents, my brother Wim and I) has 40 hectares in Ethiopia. Unfortunately, we had to close our Dutch nursery, where we have grown hydrangeas for the past 10 years, last winter. We exclusively work with Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and have been able to develop the cultivation in such a way that we largely do our plant protection, for example, with organic agents.
Our roses are traded under the brand name Rose Plaza. Royal FloraHolland is extremely important in that respect. Not only are our flowers available there, but also those of other growers. And there isn't a single flower trader who only wants roses from one grower, or just one type of flower or plant.
A flower trader actually wants to be able to buy an entire assortment in one place. The strength of Royal FloraHolland is therefore the complete assortment. It is essential for both growers and buyers that we maintain this.
You could even say that we are too late with Floriday
However, Royal FloraHolland must also digitise, as the entire global trade is changing and digitising. I therefore 100% support the arrival of Floriday. That platform will be essential to the entire Dutch floriculture industry. By that, I mean both growers and buyers: smaller growers will be given more opportunities to sell products, larger companies will be given the opportunity to organise sales more efficiently, and buyers can organise their purchasing process better thanks to Floriday. A 'win-win-win' situation.
You could even say that we are too late with Floriday In recent years, a proliferation of links between growers and buyers has arisen and all kinds of payment systems have been developed. This leads to much confusion and inefficiency. That is why I understand that the Management Board wanted to introduce it on 1 January. However, we must also be honest enough to say that the system was not yet ready: during the development it appears that a number of unfortunate choices were made. The result was that the design turned out be unworkable for many people within the dynamics of the floriculture trade.
Members' Council closely involved
It was therefore unavoidable and sensible that the introduction was postponed. A roadmap has now been drawn up with 16 excellent points for a proper, step-by-step introduction. If necessary, the roadmap will be expanded in the future. Growers and buyers can influence that via the interactive roadmap. In addition, audits are already being, and have already been, conducted by specialised companies. As Members' Council, we are closely involved. For example, there is a Floriday committee that is informing the other members of the Members' Council. We are on top of it therefore. In fact, we sounded the alarm with the Royal FloraHolland Management Board well before Florinee. And believe you me, the IT team of Royal FloraHolland is working extremely hard on Floriday behind the scenes.
Our new normal is digital
However, sometimes the impression is created that any old thing is being done; that the IT strategy is nothing more than loose sand; that nothing has gone well. That may be down to the coronavirus: there is less cohesion and more negativity. In the past year, everyone seems to be doing his or her thing from his or her island. That is also the case at Royal FloraHolland. This has definitely not helped the process in the past year. However, together we can and must ensure that Floriday is a success.
That is the reason, therefore, for my appeal to other members: give feedback, come up with good ideas. And above all: have confidence in the Members' Council as a body that represents the interests of the members. As I mentioned already: the Members' Council is on top of it. We are critical, but based on a positive outlook. Have confidence in Royal FloraHolland too: IT experts are hard at work on the best digital solution for our marketplace. Together we are facing an enormous challenge in the coming months and years. We must ensure together that digital becomes our new normal, because in that way we will make our sales future-proof!
Frank Ammerlaan, co-owner of AQ Roses and member of the Members' Council of Royal FloraHolland