Management Board column: "What we are building together is unique"08 July 2021
We are entering the summer! Normally we are happy about that, but with the phasing out of the corona measures we are looking forward to it even more. I'm sure everyone feels that way. In business terms, it was a good first half-year for our members and their customers.
Within our cooperative, of course, this first half-year has been a success as well as quite a bit of discussion. And that is a good thing. There is no shine without friction and it only makes our growers' cooperative stronger. Critical noises from our growers, but also from the buyers, have caused us to take stock of the situation and rearrange certain aspects. The process is not yet complete, but we have already made good progress. We realise that as RFH we are there to facilitate our growers and their buyers where we can. We are an extension of their business and thus provide a service. We listen and respond to the concerns and objections that exist.
We are pleased and consider it very important that the members' council and many others have explicitly expressed their support for RFH's strategy. For we are convinced that this is the right objective to enable the cooperative to continue to work successfully for members and buyers in the future. What we are now building together, with Floriday as the digital heart, is unique. It is unique that we are determining our future together as a sector and are not waiting for others outside the sector to take the initiative. The route to our goal is obviously not fixed. We learn by doing. Together with our growers and their buyers we discover what works best and which path to take.
Floriday is the B2B platform that we are building on behalf of the growers, but we want it to work for all market parties. That is why we involve everyone as much as possible in its construction and roll-out. And fortunately those consultations are also very much appreciated. What applies to all (digital) marketplaces also applies to us: the more growers do business with their buyers through Floriday, the stronger this marketplace becomes. We have a unique opportunity here to give our growers' cooperative a new impulse. Floriday joins forces and ensures that we can make the cake grow even bigger together with our trading partners. That is a good lesson that other sectors have taught us: the introduction of a digital platform generally results in a growing market size. It becomes easier and more efficient for parties to do business. That is good for everyone, including our buyers.
This is quite a change, of course. It will not happen without a struggle, that much is clear. That's only logical: the daily activities of our members and their buyers will be different, and that requires adjustment. And yes, we wanted to move too fast and did not apply enough customisation due to our drive and due to developments in the market that were accelerated by corona. We discovered this along the way and we do things differently now. The interactive roadmap of Floriday shows us the first results of this.
The member council also plays an important role in this, certainly as regards giving signals, input and advice from the grass roots. The members' council has unanimously ended the FloriNee petition with a well-considered advice and concrete actions for the future. We will not forget this FloriNee initiative lightly, it was also quite intense for us. Businesslike, but also personal. Sometimes, emotions ran high. We are glad that we still talked to each other. It will never be one hundred percent faultless, however much we strive for that. It is about work for and by people - and we people are not infallible. Let us continue to look for each other to make this journey together.
We have much to gain together for this wonderful sector. After the summer, we will be fully committed again. We wish everyone a very happy summer and a beautiful holiday season!
Steven van Schilfgaarde en David van Mechelen