A flourishing collaboration
Glamox provided the first luminaires to Royal Flora-Holland in Naaldwijk 35 years ago. Some of them are still there, bearing witness of high product quality and a successful partnership. Over the years more than 80.000 luminaires have been supplied to what is now the world’s largest flower auction company.
Entering the flower auction buildings in Naaldwijk, one of four locations for the Dutch company Royal FloraHolland, is a mind-blowing experience. First – it’s the proportions. The airy distribution halls with their fragrant smell of flowers are the size of 11 football fields. Then it’s the logistics. For the 4-5 hours in which the auctions take place, an average of 46.000 pots or buckets of plants and flowers change hands. All these flowers are stored in Naaldwijk from the night before. As the auctions start the flowers are transported to the distribution hall in automotive carts. When the content of the carts has been sold, it is redistributed and taken to the customer’s area on fast-going vehicles. Literally kilometers of flowers pass through the distribution center every day. To the uninitiated eye it appears chaotic, but in reality, it is an extremely efficient system perfectioned over many years.
The auctions themselves are also an intriguing experience. There’s no auctioneer at the site, instead, fourteen “auction clocks” are used. The auction clocks are represented by large screens in the different bidding halls. Some of the bidders are physically present in the halls but an increasing number participate online. Thus, a bundle of flowers can as easily be won by a buyer in Russia as by a local trader. Either way the bidding is done from computers in a system that grants the buyers full anonymity. The benefit of turning up in person is the opportunity to inspect the plants and flowers. The online bidders rely on pictures, quality assessments and judgment sampling.
But the distribution hall is only a part of the Royal Flora Holland complex in Naaldwijk. All in all, the company disposes more than 900 000 square metres here, almost half the size of Monaco. Glamox has supplied lighting for the distribution halls, cooling halls, flower inspection area, offices and more. In addition, we are supplying a lot of the lighting for the Aalsmeer site. Adding up it has probably been more than 80.000 luminaires over the years. The history of the collaborations with the project department in Naaldwijk goes back more than three decades, to a time when both companies were smaller and had different names.
“The history stretches back to 1981 when I had just started working here. Glamox supplied the lighting to the first cooling hall, Aircofleur 1,” says Project Manager and head of the Project department Marcel Toussaint. Toussaint is among other things in charge of the areas that are rented out to customers. The areas comprise halls and office space and are the subject to continuous change as customers grow out of one location and is relocated to another. “The service we get from Glamox is quick and good”, Toussaint says.
Even though the flowers themselves are more sensitive to temperature and humidity changes than to different lighting, finding the right lighting products and solutions for a place like the Naaldwijk complex isn’t straight forward.
“In general, we want products that have a high quality and that require little maintenance. A lot of dust is created in the areas where the flowers and plants are stored. Hence, we need dustproof luminaires. We also need products with good colour rendering so that our customers can assess the quality of the flowers properly, project manager Dennis Harteveld explains.
New times, new lighting
Harteveld’s colleague Frans Tulling, has been with the company since 2002. He has a background in architectural design, but enjoys the opportunity Royal FloraHolland gives him to work with a wide variety of projects. When it comes to lighting, he has seen a gradual development towards more user oriented solutions. Among other things, this has resulted in the implementation of lighting that can be tuned up to 4000 Kelvin.
“Recent research shows that a more complete spectrum is healthier for people. It took some persuasion, but now it seems like people are happy with the results”, Tulling explains.
Although very favorable electricity prices make the economic incentive for replacing conventional light sources small, the company is now opting for a greener alternative by gradually phasing in LED products.
“We work very closely with Glamox to get the right input. Our company is not like any other and it takes time to understand how we work and what we need. That’s why we choose to work very closely with our suppliers. I also appreciate to have someone with the professional authority on lighting behind me when we make decisions about lighting,” Tulling says.
In the Royal FloraHolland maintenance department teamleader Peter Voogt and technician Sedat Sari also have long experience with Glamox products. “We are very satisfied about the way Glamox handle things.
“To us, Glamox stand for quality”, Sari says.
| Royal FloraHolland at a glance
• Mission: Flowering the World Together: Planting Seeds of Opportunity for our Members.
• Business model: Cooperative of horticulturists
• Turnover: 4 575 million Euros (2016)
• Delivered in units by regular (clock) auction: 6,504 million units of cut flowers, 276 million units of house plants, 276 million units of garden plants
• Locations: Aalsmeer, Naaldwijk, Rijnsburg, Eelde
• Total number of suppliers: 5908
• Total number of customers: 2493
• Top 10 flowers sold: Rose, Chrysanthemum, Tulip, Lily, Lysianthus, Gerbera, Chrysanthemum (disbudded), Cymbidium, Lysianthus, Freesia, Hortensia