There is so much going on in the world of growing plants these days! 

The Green Times is here to help you focus on some of the most important developments for your business. Take advantage of the first-hand information we gathered from experts in the field and improve your growing practices, to be ready for the future.

 

Plants

Developments

AND

Time Magazine called 2019 ‘the year of the climate crisis’. As plastics discussions rose, societal pressures led to sustainability measures that have not left the horticultural sector untouched. One example is the ban on carbon-containing (black) plastic pots by some major European retailers. There are two important solutions to this problem: carbon-free pot alternatives and a closed loop recycling system of plastic pots.

Looking to the societal pressures, plastic pot producers have developed carbon-free alternatives. Van Krimpen, for instance, have carbon-free plastic products available in 12 colors that already carry the cyclos-HTP official certificate for 100% recyclability. These pots are made of post-consumer recycled plastics, can be detected in recycling and will not cause disruptions in sorting systems. Ruud van Buggenum of Van Krimpen also points out that “carbon-free will be the way forward for now, but it is conceivable that we will move towards bio-plastics and compostable materials, ultimately.”

Manufacturers advocate a plastics industry for professional horticulture in which plastics are collected, shredded and reused as raw materials. Van Krimpen: “By collecting plastics from our clients and partners we keep this resource in our own production cycle. We collect their unused or rejected plastics and shred them. These are, for example, used pots, trays, orchids collars, plastic sticks and clips, but also residues of sleeves. We know what these products are made of, so we don’t need to go through an additional separation of different plastics. This collection is an efficient start of the recycling of plastics in our own closed loop.”

Carbon-free and recycled pots

Three to four years ago we decided this was not a sustainable way of working, and that led to the purchase of an automation system.” This integrated system handles all of the processes: production and propagation, sales, logistics and finance. “All departments are connected, and all colleagues have access to the information they need: numbers of varieties, orders, finances, and insights we need to be able to create an efficient planning.”

In addition to automation, Van Son & Koot implemented new ways of working and invests in its team of professionals. “We trained the team managers on management skills, communication and team management, and a Lean management approach to improve efficiency and quality. We also introduced a daily 5-minute stand-up meeting. It gives all employees a chance to share, they feel more involved, and their team leads have the opportunity to tackle practical day-to-day issues.” The latter even led to less time spent in lengthy management meetings! 

Using automation to optimize your processes helps growers work more efficiently and waste less. Add some lean and scrum tactics into the mix to further improve these processes and you will be amazed how much time you will save and how much more fun you will have!

The Green Times asked Jordy Gijsbrechts of acer growers Van Son & Koot in Kaatsheuvel (NL) how they keep their company working as efficiently as possible, so that you can learn from them too.

“We have experienced tremendous growth in only 20 years, working now with 50 full time employees and an extra 70 seasonal workers in 14 locations. Here too, at our Kaatsheuvel headquarters, we noticed that we had grown so quickly that our planning, which is the backbone of our internal processes, had become increasingly difficult. Before the automation, each department worked in their own Excel sheets. When the propagation team was busy planting cuttings, the sales department was not aware the cuttings were ready and so they didn’t know they were ready to be sold.

Optimizing and
automating
your processes

We collect their unused or rejected plastics and shred them’’

All departments are connected, and all colleagues have access to the information they need: numbers of varieties, orders, finances, and insights we need to be able to create an efficient planning.

Good employees are scarce, so really value the ones you have. Jordy points out: “Something as simple as the 5-minute meeting has helped to make everyone feel more involved in the daily processes. Team managers learned to proactively engage with and listen to team members. Additionally, we set up personal development evaluations. Twice a year we sit down with each employee and look at their personal and company goals, and what they need to maximize their skills. That could be enrolling in a course to update their knowledge on fertilizers or a management training, for instance. These are examples of measures we have taken that allow employees to grow with the company, ultimately positively influencing their motivation and involvement and keep them working productively for longer.“ Don’t we all want that?


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Plants

Develop-ments

AND

There is so much going on in the world of growing plants these days! 

The Green Times is here to help you focus on some of the most important developments for your business. Take advantage of the first-hand information we gathered from experts in the field and improve your growing practices, to be ready for the future.

 

Time Magazine called 2019 ‘the year of the climate crisis’. As plastics discussions rose, societal pressures led to sustainability measures that have not left the horticultural sector untouched. One example is the ban on carbon-containing (black) plastic pots by some major European retailers. There are two important solutions to this problem: carbon-free pot alternatives and a closed loop recycling system of plastic pots.

Looking to the societal pressures, plastic pot producers have developed carbon-free alternatives. Van Krimpen, for instance, have carbon-free plastic products available in 12 colors that already carry the cyclos-HTP official certificate for 100% recyclability. These pots are made of post-consumer recycled plastics, can be detected in recycling and will not cause disruptions in sorting systems. Ruud van Buggenum of Van Krimpen also points out that “carbon-free will be the way forward for now, but it is conceivable that we will move towards bio-plastics and compostable materials, ultimately.”

Manufacturers advocate a plastics industry for professional horticulture in which plastics are collected, shredded and reused as raw materials. Van Krimpen: “By collecting plastics from our clients and partners we keep this resource in our own production cycle. We collect their unused or rejected plastics and shred them. These are, for example, used pots, trays, orchids collars, plastic sticks and clips, but also residues of sleeves. We know what these products are made of, so we don’t need to go through an additional separation of different plastics. This collection is an efficient start of the recycling of plastics in our own closed loop.”

Carbon-free and recycled pots

We collect their unused or rejected plastics and shred them’’

Optimizing and
automating
your processes

Using automation to optimize your processes helps growers work more efficiently and waste less. Add some lean and scrum tactics into the mix to further improve these processes and you will be amazed how much time you will save and how much more fun you will have!

The Green Times asked Jordy Gijsbrechts of acer growers Van Son & Koot in Kaatsheuvel (NL) how they keep their company working as efficiently as possible, so that you can learn from them too.

“We have experienced tremendous growth in only 20 years, working now with 50 full time employees and an extra 70 seasonal workers in 14 locations. Here too, at our Kaatsheuvel headquarters, we noticed that we had grown so quickly that our planning, which is the backbone of our internal processes, had become increasingly difficult. Before the automation, each department worked in their own Excel sheets. When the propagation team was busy planting cuttings, the sales department was not aware the cuttings were ready and so they didn’t know they were ready to be sold.

All departments are connected, and all colleagues have access to the information they need: numbers of varieties, orders, finances, and insights we need to be able to create an efficient planning.

Three to four years ago we decided this was not a sustainable way of working, and that led to the purchase of an automation system.” This integrated system handles all of the processes: production and propagation, sales, logistics and finance. “All departments are connected, and all colleagues have access to the information they need: numbers of varieties, orders, finances, and insights we need to be able to create an efficient planning.”

In addition to automation, Van Son & Koot implemented new ways of working and invests in its team of professionals. “We trained the team managers on management skills, communication and team management, and a Lean management approach to improve efficiency and quality. We also introduced a daily 5-minute stand-up meeting. It gives all employees a chance to share, they feel more involved, and their team leads have the opportunity to tackle practical day-to-day issues.” The latter even led to less time spent in lengthy management meetings! 

Good employees are scarce, so really value the ones you have. Jordy points out: “Something as simple as the 5-minute meeting has helped to make everyone feel more involved in the daily processes. Team managers learned to proactively engage with and listen to team members. Additionally, we set up personal development evaluations. Twice a year we sit down with each employee and look at their personal and company goals, and what they need to maximize their skills. That could be enrolling in a course to update their knowledge on fertilizers or a management training, for instance. These are examples of measures we have taken that allow employees to grow with the company, ultimately positively influencing their motivation and involvement and keep them working productively for longer.“ Don’t we all want that?

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