Servaas van der Ven in GROW:

"Growth is not a choice but a necessity"

“We must remain the largest marketplace because the sector benefits from that situation.” Servaas van der Ven, CCO of Royal FloraHolland, is talking in the newest GROW about the theme of growth of the cooperative and our marketplace. How does the cooperative want to grow, and where do the challenges lie? “In the digital world buyers are gone in just two clicks. We therefore need to keep adding value for a large target group.”

Servaas pointed out the two biggest changes. "They are globalisation and digitisation. Other rules apply there." He continued, using an example from the history of Royal FloraHolland. "We started with many different auctions in the Netherlands. It was a big step for a buyer to change marketplace. Longer journey, another auction room with a completely different way of working.

After the fusion of Royal FloraHolland in 2008, there was just one system left with which you could choose how you wanted to buy." In an entirely virtual marketplace, other rules apply, explained Servaas. "In the digital world buyers are gone in just two clicks and on their way to your competitor. You must therefore strive to be the most accessible marketplace with the widest assortment. Once you are that, new buyers come to you in two clicks."

Step out of your comfort zone
What do we need to do to keep facilitating the work of growers and buyers as a marketplace? "We must keep adding value for a large target group with globalisation and digitisation. Globalisation is welcomed by our growers and buyers. But with digitisation, anxiety is more likely to surface. It demands a complete alteration of your business model. This is mainly an emotional step. It shakes your world, so it takes time. Stepping out of your comfort zone is always worrying. It is our challenge as Royal FloraHolland to take the lead."

The strongest marketplace in the world
What does this all mean for our buyers and growers? "We need to understand that we are a service provider that must provide services with added value for growers and buyers. We must provide excellent services, no more and no less. Our service provision must ensure that we are the most easily accessible marketplace with the widest assortment. Then growth will naturally follow." Servaas emphasised that it benefits suppliers at Royal FloraHolland to be a member of the strongest global marketplace. "So we have to want to remain the strongest. And keep our affairs in order."

Wider perspective
How would Servaas like to grow personally? "I have experienced through my work at Royal FloraHolland that it is important to widen your perspective. I come from a family of growers in Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht. 'Just get on with it' was part of my DNA. In the past few years I have left my comfort zone to become both digital and global. I learn through experience; so it is important to look for the experience because seeing is believing. Sometimes it can be confrontational. But that gives you the drive to take action."

Source: Royal FloraHolland

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