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Wim Zandwijk, Muller Seeds
Standing out in the seed business
Every trade has its own dynamics and processes. Take the trade in flower seeds, for example. On the one hand, there are the products, on the other, there are the growers, and in between parties who are able to link them together. One such company is Muller Bloemzaden, and according to owner Wim Zandwijk, his task is quite simple: "Make sure all suppliers make use of our services."
Just over a year ago, Wim took over the company from Jacques de Vroomen, and since then, there have been the necessary changes. "It is a dynamic market, a big market too, and there is a need for good quality seeds. Furthermore, a lot is happening in the field of acquisitions, mergers, etc. It is therefore important to be visible, to show your face at trade fairs and to meet your suppliers and customers."
Wim Zandwijk and Wiebe Knook, a few weeks back at the IFTF in Vijfhuizen
The market is changing rapidly, which ultimately is thanks to the consumer. Bouquets are simply a lot more varied than a few years ago, Wim says, and that is why the assortment continues to expand. Muller benefits from that, because with more than 3,000 varieties, they are a great company for many customers to do business with. "Our customers are growers and rarely do they order just one type of seed. Even small growers, with relatively small quantities, often will take ten, fifteen, twenty or even more different types of seeds. With this large assortment we distinguish ourselves from the competition - another company can never replace us just like that - and we remain appealing for new and existing customers."
But nothing comes easy, in order to hold that position Muller really has to work hard. First of all batches must be what they say they are: high quality, properly coated, all exactly the desired color, with the highest germination power and inspected in the field. They also need to be provided with professional information regarding the best sowing time, germination, etc. "Moreover, as a company you always must desire to grow," says Wim, "because every market moves. When you have 100 customers now and are satisfied with this, then in 10 years time you will have just 60 left. In every sector companies will disappear, and that is no different in the agricultural sector."
You need to go after it and also be able to continue to supplement the assortment with specialties and remain distinctive in the market. "You have to stay sharp, offer a good service, thinking along with the customer if something is not available, etc. We regularly check in with our suppliers on the test fields to scout and increase our own knowledge. The majority of the seeds are sourced in the Netherlands, the rest really comes from everywhere. We outsource the coating, that is a special profession, and only in a very few cases, if there is demand and nobody can deliver it, we will go for in-house production."
The more proactive style seems to be paying off. The seeds are distributed over the whole of Europe, for a small part even beyond, and Muller sees the business grow in practically every country. Also in living plant material, which comes from cutting companies and growers from Europe and Israel and which is traded under a second company, growth can be observed, according to Muller. "We have also recently upgraded the website and webshop, since November there have been 10 professionals at the office and we have invested in automation. Whoever sows will harvest, they say, and that's the way it really is."
For more information:
Muller Bloemzaden BV
Meer & Duin 216
NL-2163 HD Lisse
M +31 (6) 53644594
Publication date: 12/7/2017
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