Goos Hofland: "Input by members is incredibly important"09 December 2019
Goos Hofland of Hofland Flowering Plants and member of the Members' Council, is truly happy about the strong interest shown in the member sessions last November.
Standing outside under the carport at his nursery on a lovely cold and fresh Wednesday morning, he recaps on the member sessions. They drew no less than 730 members. "It's good that members are making their voices heard. We can incorporate what they say into the advice we give to the management team."
Watch below the film capturing the atmosphere of the member sessions:
A missed opportunity
"I think members who don't attend the member sessions are missing an opportunity," says Goos Hofland. Together with André Zuidgeest, he moderated the session in 's Gravenzande and was also present in Germany. "This is the time to talk to each other about the things that concern us. That's why I was glad that there were so many applications this time. Input from members is incredibly important. If you are on the Members' Council, you want to receive both support and feedback from the members. What do they think? Of course, you have your own opinion. But you simply must have as much information as possible from members in order to continue to properly carry out your role in the Members' Council."
The emphasis during the member sessions was on the subject of 100% Digital. What feedback was received? "Much depends on Floriday, we have to realise that. This system will determine the future of Royal FloraHolland. It'll be good if it's a success. If it's not, we'll have a huge problem. You get that sense from members as well. It creates uncertainty. Those who do a lot of direct trading are also facing big changes. Can buyers still call in orders or submit them via Whatsapp? You have to be a bit flexible about that. Or at least come up with a temporary solutions."
Large and small
"What also makes it difficult is that there's a third party involved: our software suppliers have to provide software that works well with Floriday. The auction has to help them develop the right solutions; we can't do that on our own. And perhaps most important of all: buyers have to be ready. And I'm not talking about DFG, but the smaller buyers. I think that's where the biggest difficulty lies, with road carriers who call in all their orders every week. The past has shown that much has to change for these small buyers, which, of course, costs a lot of money and is therefore something of a bump in the road. Also, we're actually really happy with those small buyers."
This difference between small and large is noticeable with the growers, too. "Some members were also afraid that the costs would increase. We had just heard that the cost of Insights, the replacement of FloraneXt, is 20 euros higher per month. For which no adequate explanation was given. After all, if you have to pay more, you expect to get more out of it. Small members are quick to say 'it costs too much'. But it does truly affect them, of course. We experienced the same thing with environmental certification. If you have to pay 1,000 euros for a certificate and don't see any money in return, that's not something you want as a small grower. We spent at least three afternoons discussing that in the Members' Council."
Not dependent on Amazon
The same applies to one clock and digitisation, on which members are divided. Goos: "There are those who have been saying for three or four years: 'We have to move to one clock and everything should be digital'. They're angry that too little is happening. Things can't move quickly enough for the forerunners, while things can't move slowly enough for those who don't want change. That's the tricky part. You can never please everyone. But we do have to keep moving, that's the thing. I sometimes worry about whether everyone understands how important it is to keep a good sales cooperative going. I don't want to be dependent on bol.com or Amazon. I want to be independent, to maintain control. I think that's possible with the cooperative, but a lot depends on how fast we can change with Floriday."
"Furthermore, it is clear that everyone is convinced of the importance of the company running well, of the results being good and, of course, of costs not increasing too much. And you do notice that people realise that the cooperative is important, including young people. But you do see that they're less worried about change; they just do what has to be done. I'm sure that has something to do with age, too."
Partly on the basis of all the feedback received, the Members' Council will discuss with the management team how Royal FloraHolland will ensure that all transactions are processed digitally by the end of 2020.
About Goos Hofland
Goos Hofland is a member of the Members' Council and the Members Engagement Committee. His family business, Hofland Flowering Plants, is a 3.5 hectare glasshouse horticultural business in Westland, where various flowering plants are cultivated. The fifth Hofland generation is now at the helm, but in the background, brothers Goos and Peter are present to pass on their years of knowledge and experience to the younger generation.
New member sessions: spring 2020
Unable to attend this time? In spring, the Members' Council will organise a new series of member sessions. We would love to see you there!
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