"The Greenery has found the way up again"

Hiding the fact that it hasn't been easy in recent years, that's not what the three sourcing managers of The Greenery are doing. Because of the reorganization, many colleagues lost their jobs, and the introduction of the SAP system also caused quite a bit of trouble. But Gerard van Loon (top fruit and soft fruit), Léon Duijvesteijn (fruit vegetables) and Nanne van Baar (open-field and mushrooms) are now seeing that the chosen path has been the right one. "The faith is back. There's only one way, and that's up."

"The introduction of the SAP system did have a big impact. We - and our clients - really had to get to grips with the system. Now we've been working with it for 1.5 years, and are reaping the benefits. We notice we have much more control over the process. When we say a shipment is at the dock at 2 pm, clients know it's guaranteed to be there. Some clients now buy from us because they know for sure the product is there at the agreed time," Gerard says.


Nanne van Baar, Gerard van Loon and Léon Duijvesteijn

"The system has become less non-committal, but a certain degree of pragmatism is good. Of course many things have to be improved, but we're working hard on that. We now see exactly where the costs in the chain are, and we can manage on that," Nanne confirms. "And the growers now enter their prognosis, actual supply and transport into one system. And of course they would also like to see us save costs." In loading off-garden, The Greenery has also taken steps. "In addition to loading off-garden, we're auctioning off-garden as well now. With eggplants, that caused an increase from 7 to 50% of auction sales, and with bell peppers from 7 to 35%. Ten years ago, we thought we couldn't do without our warehouses. Now we only let shipments come to the DCs that need to be cross-docked. And it doesn't cost anything more to sell a full truck than just a pallet," Léon says.

Necessary operation
"No matter how painful the reorganization was, we were all convinced it was a necessary operation. Something like that needs time to settle, but the current team has an immense team spirit to do something great. Young colleagues are now being hired too, giving a new impulse to the organization. The Greenery is also working on construction, which also gives a boost. We can start building something again," Léon says. Gerard adds that the horizontal organizational structure also has advantages. "The day-to-day management is now handled by men like Wim van der Wiel and Steven Martina, who both have practical experience. That definitely speeds up the decision-making process."

Léon expects a light increase in greenhouse vegetables. For the mushrooms and open-field vegetables, Nanne expects a stable acreage in the coming year. In soft fruit, an increase is expected anyway, and in top fruit, they're working on retaining the current volume. A new trend is to combine the produce from smaller growers. "We've been doing this for years already with asparagus, but we've also taken to clustering with ten smaller top fruit growers from Zeeland, who will bundle the product at FPZ. That way, under direction of Daaf Bakker, we can combine the supplies into a big batch to service retail clients as well," Gerard says.

Many more acquisition talks
"I am now in many more acquisition talks with potential growers than in recent years. Sometimes they come to us themselves. That wasn't the case in the past two years. Whether that will actually lead to them switching is another thing, but the interest is there," Léon says. "Ultimately our goal as team manager sourcing is to grow in terms of growers and clients. We need to have a certain volume behind us, otherwise it will be difficult. But the organization has gained new momentum. The Greenery remains a fantastic company, and we've found the way up again. After all the negativity in the past years, that's something we are allowed to say as well!"

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