The informal meeting of the Members’ Council was held on Thursday 30 June in Aalsmeer. The Members' Council spoke with the Management Board and Supervisory Board about current developments. They considered the situation of their own companies, current events in the world, energy, freight costs and market prices. All subjects in which the current situation is completely different from that of a year ago. There are certainly serious challenges in the second half of the year for the Management Board, the Supervisory Board and the Council of Members.
Update from the Supervisory Board
From the beginning, the Supervisory Board has been involved in an advisory capacity in the development of order picking as part of the logistics services. With regard to the recent performance backlog, the Supervisory Board has kept its finger on the pulse and regularly questioned management about developments.
Supervisory Board member Kees Pingen introduced himself to the Council of Members and outlined the background to his career. He has held various positions with KLM Technical Services, the Flower Auction in Aalsmeer, an ICT company, Heemskerk Vegetable Processing and Smit Nurseries; a green plant nursery in Groningen. Kees started in the Supervisory Board four years ago and sees that there are certainly still many challenges, in which good cooperation between the Supervisory Board and Council of Members is of great importance.
Update Board of Directors on current topics
Steven and David confirm that the main cause of the poor performance is the higher clock supply and the staff shortage. This applies to all export locations. The labour market is overheated, with the start time being perceived as a disadvantage. A major recruitment campaign was launched in April. Office staff are also deployed for support. The choice to work via order picking was made a number of years ago. This was started in Naaldwijk because of the lack of support for the obsolete system. A deliberate decision was made not to start everywhere at once. Solutions to questions that are still open are being looked into. The national auctioning of plants will be postponed until a time to be determined.
The clock prices are lower, with the trade doing well and plants being hit harder. There are fewer direct sales because of the decline in retail sales. The doubling of energy costs makes a higher price necessary. It is also noticeable that in Kenya more products are grown besides roses and summer flowers. The developments surrounding Floriday are as expected, with more buyers joining after the summer. The company also sees a consolidation of buyers, which will certainly have an effect. The company is certainly paying attention to this and is considering how to deal with it. The budget aimed for at the beginning of the year is no longer realistic in view of the high energy costs. The developments surrounding Floriway were also discussed. Despite the difficulties in maintaining transport performance, the mutual cooperation is good. The financial integration of the three merged companies is proceeding somewhat slower than planned. And finally, the company indicated that it has regular discussions with OFA.
Steven van Schilfgaarde, together with Maarten Banki (manager sustainable development and quality), gives an update on the state of affairs regarding sustainability at Royal FloraHolland and within the sector. In the past three years, more than 500 growers have started with certification. Recently, a programme was started for small growers and certification is visualized on the clock. Royal FloraHolland is a member of Plastic Pact and works together with 5 FPCs on multi-use packaging and sustainable product packaging. They are also working on a roadmap for the future transition to sustainability for the company and growers. Next autumn, the Council of Members will issue a recommendation on the progress of certification.
BVO / Membership
Eelco Lulofs, Marketing & proposition manager at Royal FloraHolland, together with Claudia Hölzel, CGO, explained the developments surrounding the situation of BVO and the still unanswered questions. How BVO relates to the membership is part of the agenda item that the Council of Members is examining this year, "together in our cooperative". Further attention will be paid to this later in the year.
Together in our cooperative
Finally, André Zuidgeest, chairman of the Strategy Committee of the Council of Members, gave an update on the process surrounding the theme "Together in our cooperative". A lot of information was collected during the member sessions, good discussions were held and many dilemmas were discussed within the Council of Members, but also with the company and the Supervisory Board. After the summer, the Council of Members will continue to address important dilemmas, which will be discussed and then consulted with our members later in the year.
Constructive and valuable consultations
We look back on a constructive and valuable meeting, in which many topics were discussed, such as property development, results of order picking, update of the Supervisory Board with introduction of Kees Pingen, update of the Management Board about the problems of logistics services in particular, the challenging year and possible consequences for the budget, the coming advice about sustainability and the questions about the cooperative and principles.
The notes were correct and complete, making the meeting well prepared and efficient. It also kept up a good pace. It is pleasant when it is clear to all those present what stage a subject has reached, whether it be forming an opinion, making a judgement or taking a decision. In addition, it is pleasing to note that questions that are still open are addressed, for example, because of the investigation of information. This makes the Council of Members feel heard and once the open issues have been dealt with, you can move on. This way of working means that you can go to the next step in a very decisive manner in order to arrive at a common view. And that is very valuable!