So here's news hot of the Cultivate show. Dutch ISO Group will open a new office in America on September 1st, located in Richmond, Virginia. The American branch of the supplier of high-tech industrial machines for the covered horticulture industry, ISO Group USA, Inc., will be responsible for sales and service for new and existing customers in North America.
"Currently, about 30% of our machines go to America and Canada. North America is a strong growth market for ISO Group's automation solutions. The country faces the same challenges as Northern Europe in terms of the availability of labor and ever-increasing wages," said Wim van der Meijden, CEO of ISO Group BV.
Revealing the plans of the new facility during the Cultivate
Only 7 years ago, ISO Group's first machines gradually headed for North America. At the time, North America was not yet a serious sales market for ISO Group. This has changed significantly in recent years, and the focus within ISO Group has increasingly shifted to America. Customers were actively visited more often, and trade fairs and conferences were also visited.
ISO Group has always chosen to keep the sales and service of the machines in-house. "We wanted to get to know the market and know who was who in North American horticulture. We got to know our customers, what they expect from us and how to respond to that, and we can now build on that knowledge," says Raymond van den Berg, responsible for sales in North America. "But the next step is to have our own office, in the same time zone, to be able to respond to new and existing customers in the region and to offer a higher level of service."
The focus of ISO Group USA will be on service and sales in America. Initially, Dutch specialists will be deployed locally, supported by a local team. The production and development of the machines will initially still mainly take place in the Netherlands. "The knowledge and possibilities we have in Gameren cannot be easily copied to North America. We also see that the requests for new machines and innovative solutions still mainly come from the Netherlands. However, we do not exclude that production will also take place in America in the future," says Van der Meijden.
"The choice for Richmond in Virginia is not accidental," says Van den Berg. "Several cities and regions were visited, but the concentration of horticulture on the East Coast of North America, the conveniently located international airport in Richmond, and nearby Washington make it the ideal base for ISO Group. Also, the nearby port for importing machines from the Netherlands gives ISO Group the ability to prepare the machines for the customer from Richmond."
Local service point
"Most important for ISO Group is that service can be arranged locally. Due to the growth of the number of customers and machines in recent years, it has become increasingly difficult to provide service at the right time to customers from the Netherlands. The COVID-19 pandemic did not help either. However, due to the commitment and flexibility of our customers and the efforts of all service employees within ISO Group, all machines in America have been serviced, and all projects in recent years have been installed and commissioned by ISO Group engineers. However, this was not easy, and therefore a branch office is a good next step to keep our service to customers as optimal as possible," says Van der Meijden.