BLUCom: "Our growers and buyers have gained an extra element in the trading process through this link".
In addition to Dutch software suppliers, international companies are also working on the link with Floriday. The German software company edv-ring GmbH, which has developed the BLUCom software package, is one such company. In an interview with Olaf Spicker, the company's director, we reflect on how they have been able to establish the link with Floriday in such a short space of time.
BLUCom developed by edv-ring GmbH
edv-ring is originally a German consulting firm set up by a governmental trade association. It was founded in 2000 by, among others, this trade association and a number of market organisations, including Landgard. In the past, edv-ring has mainly acted as an advisor to growers in the field of digitisation and electronic data traffic. To this day, edv-ring still gives advice to growers, but these days they are focusing on developing and supplying stable and comprehensive software packages, such as BLUCom. The company is active in the "green sector" (vegetables, house and garden plants, tree nurseries), and is market leader among German plant growers. In addition, edv-ring develops software for commercial companies and end sellers such as garden centres.
Market demand to get started with Floriday
German customers first indicated to edv-ring that they wished to trade through Dutch auctions. Based on this market demand, edv-ring, wishing to be prepared for the future, started linking BLUCom to Floriday.
In the past, BLUCom has established API links with the full range of Landgard sales channels, as well as other German commercial companies. Floriday is in fact an addition to the sales channels already connected. edv-ring didn't have to change its own system and methodology in order to build the Floriday developments and modules.
At an earlier date, incidentally, edv-ring had been asked to create a link with FloraXchange. At the time, Mr Spicker estimated that the market wasn't quite big enough yet, and that too few customers would make use of it. "With Floriday, it's different," he points out. "In addition to customers knocking on edv-ring's door, Landgard and Veiling Rhein-Maas also recognise that Floriday is essential for sales through Veiling Rhein-Maas. Accordingly, edv-ring has responded to this demand and created various links that can be used by a defined group of users for sales through Royal FloraHolland and Veiling Rhein-Maas.
"It has become a comprehensive ERP package,"says Mr Spicker.
Direct sales and clock sales from BLUCom
This year, edv-ring has linked its BLUCom software package to Floriday's direct sales module. This allows growers to send offers to customers from within BLUCom. Growers eventually receive orders back through Floriday in their BLUCom software. Currently, edv-ring is developing the EAB module, partly as a response to the disappearance of packages such as AntEater. The company is testing this module with a number of growers, and expects to be able to roll it out to its customers soon.
"Comprehensive ERP package"
The added value of BLUCom and the link to Floriday is that a grower can now use the BLUCom software package for his or her entire work process. "It has become a comprehensive ERP package," says Mr Spicker. "Our growers and buyers have gained an additional element in the trading process with these links, thanks to the extra sales channels and possibilities they provide. This is the great benefit of BLUCom and the link with Floriday: everything can be arranged in BLUCom. From labels, to operating the auction clock, to receiving EKTs (Electronic Clock Transactions) ".
Challenges in digitisation
edv-ring is a company with a great deal of practical experience: thinking in terms of processes that affect growers and buyers and translating these into practical software solutions is simply what they do. "Digitisation is not new and what is currently happening is certainly not new to edv-ring," Olaf Spicker points out. "However, advancing technology, the fact that we are going to be working in a browser environment and further developing functionality in this environment are all novel," he says. Indeed, edv-ring is encountering a number of issues in this development, particularly in relation to infrastructure back home in Germany. The available bandwidth in Germany, especially in rural areas, poses an additional challenge. edv-ring's software package must be built in such a way that it is available to growers at all times, even if they are unable to work in the browser environment. By introducing intermediate steps, edv-ring is now working in combinations: with a local database and a browser database. This move will ensure that the process in the company continues to work properly, and that the correct data exchange takes place, including with Floriday.