Strategic choices for growth main theme at DFG Wholesale and Retail Plants Supplier conference
On 2 October 2013, the annual Supplier Conference of the Wholesale and Retail Plants division of the Dutch Flower Group (DFG) took place. The chosen venue this year was “Op Hodenpijl” in Schipluiden. The three specialised plant trading companies of DFG had invited more than 75 of its growers to this conference.
The main theme for this year was “strategic choices for growth”. The growers were invited to four presentations and encouraged to participate in a speed-dating exercise afterwards. How can growers focus even better on their market channels and engage even more intensively with DFG companies to entice the consumer with an improved product range?
Ivo Brautigam, former Managing Director of Bloemenbureau Holland, chaired the one-day conference and kicked off proceedings with the comment: “This conference is a unique opportunity for you, the growers, to see transparency at work. It really pays to listen today”. The floor was then handed over to the four speakers. Marco van Zijverden, CEO of DFG, devoted his presentation to the impact of market developments on our sector. He also discussed the key current developments in the economy and within the horticultural sector. “In view of the many untapped opportunities that exist for plants within our clients' portfolio of freshly sourced products, I believe that greater and more intense collaboration between traders and growers is essential.”
Erling Olstad, owner of the Norwegian chain Mester Grønn, explained the structure of his formula and his belief in the important role that plants play in people's lives. In particular, he urged attendees to ‘tell the story behind the plant’ and to work together to deliver more information and greater innovation to the consumer. “Let's work together to get back the impulse buying”, was his call. “The plant is queen, so let's treat her as such”. The next speaker was Stefan Gatz, Purchasing Manager at the DIY chain Globus-Hela. Echoing Erling Olstad's sentiments, Mr Gatz reflected on the missed opportunities within the supply chain in terms of communicating with the consumer on the importance and quality of plants.
The fourth and final speaker was Pedro Coelho, Perishable Sourcing Director of the Polish supermarket chain Biedronka, part of Jerónimo Martins. Mr Coelho explained in detail how Biedronka views and deals with the Plants and Flowers category within its perishables section and in particular within the store environment. Biedronka uses the potential of our fresh products, with their enticing colours and scents, to literally add colour to the entrances of their stores.
Afterwards, guests were given the opportunity to meet each other and to ask questions in an informal speed-dating exercise. The growers shared a table with the speakers, who were accompanied by the organisers of this day: OZ Planten, Hamiplant and Van Dijk Flora.
By the end of the day, everyone had reached the same conclusion: in order to make strategic choices for growth, transparency in the supply chain is essential. The first step is to nurture the relationship between the grower, trader and the retailer, and to exchange ideas. The 2013 DFG Supplier Conference was not only a means to that end, but effective proof that this strategy works.