Horticultural suppliers of every stripe are feeling the urge to globalize. Take for instance MPrise Indigo, a Dutch developer of software systems for plant nurseries that uses Microsoft Navision standards. MPrise Indigo’s CEO Joop de Jong tells their story.
The need for scale
“Our company has seven developers who are constantly working. There must be a return of investment for the money you spend to employ them. The product we deliver is only suitable for larger nurseries. This has forced us to expand outside the Netherlands and globalize. We operate in Belgium, Poland, Norway, the UK, Denmark, Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand, realizing 15% of our turnover abroad.
Our Dutch heritage is an advantage; Holland is known for its horticultural knowledge.”
The need for partners
“We recently strengthened our team for Dutch and global activities. We also invested in an international partner network. We find those partners within the Microsoft network and ask them if they are interested in selling and implementing our software programmes. Although not many partners in the Microsoft network are in horticulture we did find some. But we have to teach them to act in accordance with our standards since nursery software requires special know-how. You need to fully understand the processes. You also have to recognize that MPrise Indigo develops software with its clients for a long-term approach. It takes three or four years before a partner completely aligns with our philosophy.
On the other hand, our partners help us improve our software. Together with a partner we build software with which you can track individual plants at a nursery to give them what they specifically need. This software is the answer to questions asked by our foreign clients but it can be suitable for Europe too, thus helping growers to produce more sustainably with less waste.”
The need for good people
“Globalizing also means you have to send your people to faraway countries. Clients expect our know-how and high standard of performance, so they ask for senior employees. Not everyone is a senior and most seniors have families with children who don’t want their father or mother to be abroad continuously. Fortunately there’s video conferencing and Skyping to help us solve that problem.”
The exchange of ideas
“The attractive part of doing business abroad is the exchange of ideas. Take for instance the differences between Dutch and American plant growers. Due to the auctioning system, most Dutch growers have relatively simple sales administration and a strong focus on specialization and cost. American growers have no auction. They grow a wide assortment to be attractive to retailers so they need good administrative connections to their retail partners. We connect nurseries to retailers’ sales via scan systems since the retailer will only pay for products that have passed his cash-desk. In combining these types of knowledge we improve our product on a global scale.”