Leo Olsthoorn: “Things are now being set in motion that were neglected for too long”02 February 2021
During the leniency period, many software suppliers are preparing the link with Floriday for roll-out to their customers. Olsthoorn Automatisering is using this period to tie up loose ends. “There is a lot of energy and motivation in the market to digitise quickly.”
Digitisation has been topical for some time already in the floriculture industry. Leo Olsthoorn, owner of Olsthoorn Automatisering, agrees with that: "Although this isn't just something from recent years, we are now giving it the final push, as a result of which we are ensuring all Connect orders are processed digitally. Without the pressure that is being created by the PSD2 legislation and the associated 100% Digital programme, we would never succeed in transforming the entire sector."
The software supplier from Honselersdijk has been helping growers to think about solutions since 1998. "We try to stand out with personal attention, service and customised services. That is even more important now during a period in which we are switching entirely to digital trading with the entire floriculture industry. We are facilitating this process for customers and they are giving us that trust."
100% Digital helps to comply with the tightened European financial legislation and regulations (PSD2). However, there are some dangers involved with the scale and speed according to Leo: "The impact is great and also, therefore, the risk. You might question whether it is necessary to overhaul almost all aspects of direct trade simultaneously. On the other hand, things are now being set in motion that were neglected for too long."
Leo is positive about the leniency period. The link with Floriday has already been created for the majority of Olsthoorn Automatisering's customers. The leniency period also provides the latter group with the opportunity to guarantee a proper conversion: "Our main priority was the strictly necessary modifications in order to comply with 100% Digital. The real work could only begin when the API link became stable enough. In October, we were ready for the major roll-out, but that was preceded by an entire process of analysing, implementing and testing. Now we have slightly more space to implement improvements and to get everything in order on time for the rest, without being constantly confronted with that fast-approaching deadline."
Which is not to say that Olsthoorn Automatisering would have failed otherwise. "There was always the commitment to transfer all Connect trade to Floriday by 1 January 2021, and we would have succeeded in doing that with one special exception. We are happy, however, that there is no longer any threat of sector-wide chaos and that the greatest pressure has been removed by the leniency period."
Intensive collaboration with customers
Software suppliers work closely with growers and buyers on a structural basis and that is no different with 100% Digital. "By definition, you collaborate with your customers", says Leo. "The first customers received comprehensive support from us with the link. In July, the first grower was connected, after which more and more growers gradually followed in August and September. Since then, we have ensured linking is reliable and user-friendly enough, so that users can now carry it out themselves."
Nevertheless, there is still a lot of interaction with growers who need customised services or use slightly more extensive functionalities. "Certain things are solved differently in Floriday or are no longer possible, and in that case you discuss how to handle that with the grower. We identified and listed the various practical situations in advance and in the case of special details, we discussed the necessary steps", says Leo. "Customers are still putting forward points to consider. They know that we are open to that; it is always taken seriously and resolved. In some cases, we need to refer them to Floriday. In any case, they can always call the help desk for support and additional explanation."
Olsthoorn is also in contact with some buyers from connected
growers about specific subjects: "Examples include the barcode that
is required on the packaging sticker, or how the prepared label
notifications are now linked to a Floriday order. In addition, I
always advise my customers to encourage their buyers to start
ordering via Floriday now."
There is, of course, a lot of cooperation between the software suppliers and Floriday: "The communication is running smoothly during the implementation phase. For example, there is close consultation on the platform Slack, a kind of chat room, where technical questions or any problems are quickly answered."
Opportunities and challenges
"The best thing about working completely digitally is that everything is now received automatically. A buyer must pass on each order digitally. Unless a Purchasing tip is requested, nothing has to be entered manually anymore, as a result of which there is also less chance of errors. That gives growers peace of mind. It is important, however, that they organise the catalogue properly and keep the supply up to date." Digitisation is having an impact on the entire floriculture sector and each change poses challenges. That is why Leo has a piece of advice for all parties in the sector: "Changes are successful if there is sufficient consultation with and agreement from all players involved."
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