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Van der Salm made a clear choice on digitalisation

December 6, 2022

Wietse Bakhuijzen Van der Salm
Efficiency and sustainability are clearly important to Van der Salm. But automation and digitalisation are also in the company's genes. Read in the interview how Van der Salm is moving its buyers along in digital ordering in Floriday.

With much enthusiasm, Wietse Bakhuijzen, who is responsible for sales, presents the activity taking place at Van der Salm Nursery. With the smell of lavender and pine needles in the air, we walk past a huge range of Christmas products, and water circulation systems and also climb onto the roof where there are rows of plants growing.

With more than ten locations in the Netherlands and in Portugal, Van der Salm supplies its customers all year round with (flowering) Lavandula st. Anouk and ang. Felice, Ilex crenata Jenny, Buxus sempervirens and in autumn Pinus pinea Silver Crest, Picea December, Gaultheria Big Berry and Deco fruit. They sell millions of plants every year and the company continues to grow. The latest development is their collaboration with nursery Van Haaster under the name Fleuriche BV with the growth and sale of potted flower bulbs.

Van der Salm currently averages 200 employees year-round in the Netherlands and Portugal and has also owned a breeding and testing site since 2012. "Through breeding, we try to introduce new varieties and provide the customer with the strongest possible plant", explains Wietse.

Automation is second nature

"Responsible growing is important to us, as such we hold various certifications and make organic choices whenever possible," continues Wietse. "In addition, there is a lot of focus within the company on recycling, both in materials and water." Automation also plays a big role in the company. Not surprising considering that the Van der Salm brothers were already experimenting with breeding robots and planting robots in the late 1980s. They are now using cutting robots in both the Netherlands and Portugal. "From cutting to finished product: everything is handled entirely in-house and is thus produced with the minimum of errors," says Wietse.
Gaultheria Vd Salm
Gaultheria by Van der Salm.
Van der Salm
A section of the greenhouse.

The only way

Van der Salm sells as much as 75% through contract trading and 25% through day trading. Of that 25%, part of it goes through the clock and part of it goes through direct sales in Floriday. Wietse: "Years ago, we worked with FloraXchange, at that time we received most orders through Florecom (Florecom is an older way of providing notifications that will eventually be phased out). At a certain point, we switched to a new ERP system: a customised package by software supplier Aerport. They then linked us to Floriday, enabling us to move away from FloraXchange completely in 2021. Since then, we do all order processing through Floriday. It is the only way for us."

It has not always been without problems, says Wietse. "Not everything in Floriday was working smoothly in the beginning, the platform was not that advanced, and neither were many growers and exporters. We sometimes helped the buyer out by, for example, creating a buying tip or offer for them, which is how we managed to get an order in. And if more help was needed we engaged Floriday's support department, and they then assisted the buyer further. Or they would come back to us, and we would put our heads together again. A solution was always found."

"Floriday provides an overview"

Van der Salm likes working with Floriday. "It's less error-prone and that gives peace of mind. And it saves manpower. We could not enter orders manually now; we simply don't have the people for that. In Floriday you immediately see what is happening, you get an overview of all your orders at a glance," says Wietse. Van der Salm uses various functionalities within Floriday: "Direct sales, contracts, but we also recently deployed Direct Bidding."

Wondering how Van der Salm lowers the threshold for its buyers to order on Floriday?