Report: ICT in horticulture

Horticultural companies not getting enough out of ICT

The larger the Dutch horticultural companies are, the more ICT they use and the higher economic returns they have. Even so, it seems that the average greenhouse company in practice only makes limited use of business management systems. In addition, many companies don’t seem to operate very systematically. This is shown by research conducted by Wageningen Economic Research for Tuinbouw Digitaal.

The study looked at greenhouse companies in three sectors: greenhouse vegetables, cut flowers and pot and bedding plants. The investigated companies are highly mechanized but are lacking in the application of business management systems. The surveyed horticultural entrepreneurs cite additional operational insight and easier administration as the most important advantages of ICT, hereby mainly using general software like Excel spreadsheets.

Tuinbouw Digitaal sees ICT as an important tool to maintain and improve competitiveness; entrepreneurs save time and costs, reduce administrative burdens, better meet customer demand and accelerate logistics. The study shows that ICT helps horticultural entrepreneurs to maintain sufficient insight into increasingly complex business operations.

Larger companies require more ICT support
To achieve better economic results company growth and use of ICT go hand in hand. As horticultural companies continue to increase in size, the researchers expect an increase in the use of ICT in the coming years. More ICT use doesn’t necessarily guarantee better economic results. There are many factors involved and ICT is just one of them. In addition, it often takes time for an ICT investment to have an operational and economical impact. 

Larger companies with a more extensive and more complex business operation often have more ICT support with regard to procurement, stock management, order processing, labor registration and energy management. Companies with more ICT support in procurement and labor registration are more profitable. Since these companies are larger, the higher profitability can probably partly be explained by the company size, and the use of ICT has a supporting function.

Most profitable companies mainly invest in cost control
The most profitable horticultural companies investing in ICT in the coming years are expected to prioritize investments in relation to cost calculation, labor registration and energy management.

Read the full publication in an interactive PDF: The benefit of ICT use for horticultural entrepreneurs

Source: Tuinbouw Digitaal

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