The colours of collaboration
To maintain a strong, sustainable supply chain, it is crucial that all participants work towards a common goal. Exchanging information and striving for high quality products creates a situation where growers and consumers alike know that their products are processed in the best possible way. Today, Mark Schellevis of the growers’ association Colours of Nature explains the benefit of suppliers’ collaboration within one product group.
The origins of this organization go back more than 17 years. Since then, the composition of the organization has developed into a total of 11 nurseries divided among 8 members, who are collectively committed to the cultivation of (mini)gerberas.
Sharing knowledge lays at the foundation of this cooperation. The association members are given the opportunity to discuss their observations and experiences during weekly meetings. The conversations touch upon a wide variety of topics: sustainability, consumption of raw materials and their costs, but also advice on cultivation and crops. Mark indicates that as the growers of Colours of Nature focus on a single flower variety, the know-how within the organization is extensive. Thanks to these meetings, any potential problems can be tackled together, making the association stronger. This partnership between growers also has other tangible benefits: When growers buy their supplies collectively, they can profit from wholesale transactions.
In addition to mutual support, Colours of Nature uses various systems to compensate growers accordingly to the quality and quantity of their delivered products. The flowers are examined by the quality manager according to a set schedule, whose feedback is shared with the members on a weekly basis. This way, all growers know whether their products excel at certain criteria or if there are potential improvements which can be applied. Thanks to this shared effort, the products supplied by Colours of Nature consistently meet the set requirements. Thus, the association works together through all ups and downs, offering continuous and transparent assistance to its members.
The knowledge and high degree of cooperation are made possible by the professionalism and commitment of the members. Colours of Nature has a great regard for sustainability and obligates their growers to, among others, obtain the MPS-ABC, MPS-SQ and MPS-GAP. certificates. The company manages these certificates for their growers via the Certifeye application, allowing all parties to streamline a large part of the required certificate management. Mark summarizes his experience with Certifeye: “The process is automated to such a degree that we hardly think about it anymore. We receive almost no certification related emails anymore, because everyone is subscribed to the right certificates and immediately receives renewed documents as they appear.”
When asked about the future of the association, Mark answers with specific developments within Colours of Nature. With the arrival of EveryD Flowers Hoge Geest in January, the assortment of Colours of Nature has been expanded to include large-flowered gerberas. Is this the beginning of an expansion strategy for the organization? “The plan is to keep growing in a healthy and continuous way”, concludes Mark.