Rising labor costs and the move to greater automation remain driving forces in the horticulture industry, even amid the Covid-19 crisis. A recent industry survey highlighted these issues according to Javo USA, Inc. General Manager Michiel Vanderwaal.
“The situation at the beginning of the year was very uncertain,“ Vanderwaal said. “But at this point, we can conclude that most growers had a very good 2020. Still, they continue to report difficulties finding quality labor. This is why automation makes sense for more growers than ever before.”
He noted that by offering a full line-up of products – from substrate handling, potting machines, full traylines and robotics – Javo provides one-stop shopping for both sales and service no matter what is grown.
“Whether it's tropicals or orchids, annuals, perennials, succulents, or 20-gallon pots, we can fill the niche for our growers and that is critical,” Vanderwaal said. “With our machines, we can handle anything, whether it’s high cell count-trays or 50 gallon pots.
“Unlike in Europe, most of our growers grow multiple plant types in many different pot sizes. By working closely with them, we provide full-on, integrated solutions and not just a piecemeal approach to automation.”
This also holds true when it comes to service, Vanderwaal said.
“It is easier for our growers when it comes to service as well,” he said. “They make one call to our office in Atlanta and they get technicians who are Javo-trained. These technicians can often diagnose issues on the phone, ship parts from our warehouse overnight if necessary and get our clients back up and in production with almost no down time. That is vital in meeting production schedules; down time is lost money for our growers.”