The main drive for Hoogendoorn to open a training centre in Mexico, is the increasing demand for knowledge on greenhouse growing in general. According to Helmich, many greenhouses are nowadays operated by Mexicans that are eager to learn more in order to achieve better results. “In the past, the first greenhouses at the Agropark were often operated by experienced Dutch growers. As the acreage and the level of Mexican horticulture increases, local staff is becoming more important at the greenhouses. Our training centre is here to help Mexican growers. We can teach them to get the most out of their greenhouse and technology: whether they are using Hoogendoorn automation solutions, or systems from our competitors. We will improve their crop knowledge and increase their success in managing a greenhouse operation.”
The team of Hoogendoorn at the 2014 Expo AgroAlimentaria in Irapuato last month
According to Helmich, growers will be able to gather extensive knowledge on greenhouse growing due to Hoogendoorn’s dedication to the local market. “Mexico is an important market for us with a lot of opportunities. A lot of new projects that we are doing here, are operated by Mexican growers. That is why our systems are available in the Mexican language”.
But Hoogendoorn knew that they needed to go beyond that: having a Mexican software interface available was just not enough. Growers needed training from experienced professionals that are aware of the Mexican climate, specific situations and habits. “We needed to invest in this market by bringing up the level of knowledge since it makes no sense to install high end technology if staff does not know how to use these.
Th Hoogendoorn training centre at the Agropark in Queretaro, Mexico.
Helmich: “With the opening of our training centre and office we show that Mexico is an important country for us and that we are here to stay. It’s not only a one day operation. It’s possible to just start a project, install the computer and then leave. We consider it very important to have satisfied customers. So we help them to get everything possible out of the system and teach them how to maintain it. With our training courses we offer the growers the complete package. In fact, it’s the same as what we do in the Netherlands. Mexico is promising, and one of the most important growth markets for Hoogendoorn.”
Real time data from Sunny FieldsThe new training centre of Hoogendoorn is located at the Agropark. What’s so unique about the centre is the cooperation between Hoogendoorn Mexico and the nearby operations of Sunny Fields, the greenhouse of grower Jacques Jajati. “In our training centre we have all the data available from Sunny Fields,” says Helmich. “We have an agreement that we can provide all our students a guided tour. Sunny Fields has all the Hoogendoorn equipment that’s necessary to control the climate in a modern greenhouse, as well as a labour and production registration system. This management system realizes savings of 15% on labour and is becoming very popular in Mexico. ”
Hoogendoorn's platform is suitable for climate control for all types of cultivation and can be easily adapted to local settings and configurations.
The big advantage of the cooperation with Sunny Fields is that the data is based on real life scenarios’. “We can show the students actual data and provide them insight in what is happening right at that moment,” explains Juan Gonzalez (Export Manager), who joins the conversation at the Hoogendoorn booth at the Expo AgroAlimentaria. “We can show them how to respond to the climate and to situations that are occuring at that very moment.”
User training and crop management coursesHoogendoorn organizes training courses for their customers and partners, as well as for growers that aren’t using Hoogendoorn’s equipment. “In December we have a user-training Masterclass Climate Management that focusses on learning how to make optimum use of Hoogendoorn systems” says Helmich. “Yet we also provide general courses, for example about crop management, which anybody can attend. Also, in January, together with other leading Dutch suppliers, we’re planning to organize an event on important aspects of the construction of a new greenhouse. We will provide lectures on the benefits of high end technologies and explain the differences in hydroponics, screens, heating, etcetera. During this event, in which growers can attend for free, participants learn about advanced technology and what the Dutch industry can offer to the thriving and challenging Mexican market.”
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