Richard Smit (45 years old) is Anthura's Senior Account Manager for the Dutch pot plant market and for years he was also responsible for the product category.

Richard explains with enthusiasm his daily challenges. As a product manager, he visits the main customers around the world to map their needs for the longer term. During his trips, market visits offer insight into the field of tension between local needs and the market offer.

“We like to have a complete image of which types, colours and internal plant characteristics are required. This information is of great importance for our breeding department, it helps to determine what they are aiming for and where the gaps are in our assortment.”

The demands that Anthura imposes on its varieties are high and new entrants really have to be better than the existing varieties. In the transition from a test to a commercial variety, many factors play a role. It is not only about colour, plant structure, uniformity of plant material or appearance, but also about internal characteristics such as cold tolerance, growth rate and consumer shelf life.

Flowering wall and air purification
It is generally known that plants are beneficial for the work environment. They reduce stress and improve productivity and atmosphere. A flowering wall is an innovative use of plants in the workplace.

A colourful Anthurium wall not only has an anaesthetic function, it is also good for the acoustics. Furthermore, the wall makes a positive contribution to air quality. Anthurium plants can break down volatile organic substances from the air within 72 hours.

Richard says: "The use of pot Anthurium in flowering walls not only improves the work- and living environment, it also offers new opportunities. And we can supply new markets together with growers. With our wide assortment in pot Anthurium, the possibilities for a flowering wall are endless and can be tailored completely to any specific wishes."

Small is the next big thing
The greatest opportunities for pot Anthurium lie in the smallest pot sizes such as 7 and 9 cm. This segment mainly serves other markets and needs. When the market is sometimes slightly saturated and the competition with other products is tough, the smaller pot sizes offer new opportunities and other application possibilities.

“We are still looking to improve our efficiency to cope even better with the competition of other products in this small pot size market. As a relative newcomer, the 9 cm pot Anthurium still has to gain a lot of ground.”

“In spite of my personal fascination for pot Anthuriums, my affinity with relationship management and sales is higher. In my role as senior account manager, I would like to increase my contribution to the success of our relationships.”

With the present opportunities and the growth scenario of Anthura and its customers, the need for solid product management is only increasing. The function of production manager, which Richard used to fulfil, can no longer be combined with sales.

There is a need for the necessary focus and more attention for the product group. The further expansion of the commercial team with Stefan de Hoog as fulltime product manager for the entire Anthurium product group, both pot and cut, is the next logical step.

Richard Smit: “In this way, there is more space for intensive support for key accounts and we can get even closer to the market. I make a point of taking a long-term view and expect even more added value for all our customers.”

Source: Anthura Unlimited