Hilverda De Boer
Hilverda De Boer
Road to Norway – a sustainable solution for large scale export of floriculture
Dutch floricultural exporters break records year after year. The VGB (Trade Association for the Wholesale of Flowers and Plants) states that in 2019, 6.2 billion flowers, plants, flower bulbs and tree nursery products left the country. Floriculture is the third most important export product for the Netherlands after machinery and metal, and metal products.
Further growth is possible through wholesalers such as Hilverda De Boer. Growth through scaling-up and consolidation. Hilverda De Boer has been represented in Dutch flower wholesale for over 100 years. In recent years, the company has rapidly evolved into the digital era with well thought out strategic development. According to the Dutch saying “Development beyond ´the back of the beer mat´” says CFO Erik Pesch. Hilverda De Boer innovates and focuses on the development of data management and as a service provider through online methods with a range of online shops.
Rabobank states that 80% of total cut flower production by Dutch companies goes abroad. Although the share of Dutch cut flower production worldwide is shrinking, in June 2019 it still represented 43% of total global production.
In 2017, there is a gap in the market in the floriculture sector in Norway. A major player and counterpart ceases its activities. At Hilverda De Boer it is decided to exploit momentum. A number of companies are established in Norway in a short period of time. They realise that correct and complete export and import documentation cannot be realized internally in time. Specialist customs management is needed; a service provider with specific knowledge and experience with local legislation, and specific customs declarations for loose cut foliage and bouquets.
“We started looking for quality very quickly. And the quality must be in doing what you say and understanding what we are doing. That’s where KGH came to the table,” said Erik Pesch, CFO of Hilverda De Boer.
The KGH Solution
Major reasons for Hilverda De Boer’s choice for KGH are the physical presence in Norway and KGH’s broad experience in the ‘perishables’ sector, i.e. perishable goods. In addition, there is knowledge of the local market, customs legislation and procedures in the Nordics, and the lines of communication are short. Within the KGH organisation, there is a single point of contact for the customer within the dedicated “Perishables” team, under the name Special Field. This team consists of declarants with specific professional knowledge of international trade linked to perishable goods, such as flowers, plants, vegetables, fruit and so on.
An efficient, cost-effective, semi-automated working method has been set up whereby Hilverda De Boer in particular shares original invoices, packing lists and data files with KGH. KGH uses its own software for converting various data files into the required formats for preparing, processing and sending customs declarations. The data is used for both the export declaration in the Netherlands as well as the import declaration in Norway. In this setup, electronic data is shared internally with the KGH team in Norway, for use in the import declaration. KGH uses local customs expertise to enrich the data and to identify and solve potential problems. In this case, for example, the team in Norway uses local, seasonal HS codes to supplement the electronic data for the import declaration.
Another key advantage for the customer is the single point of contact. Erik Pesch says,
“What I like here is that we have one line of communication. If I want, we can always call The Special Field team in the Netherlands. They tell us, communicate with us, we can communicate with our colleagues around the world. Which is great.”
Erik Pesch is CFO in a market where purchase and selling prices no longer make the difference. Loyalty and commitment grow when a difference is made through involvement and attention. It is far more about quality and delivering what you have promised, according to Pesch.
“From the second half of 2017, first meeting with (KGH), until now, I can say that it has brought peace of mind, and that you do what you say. Of course, things don’t always go perfectly, but what I like is that (our contact person) knows what he is talking about. You get to it right away. What I mean, everything runs smoothly. So what did it bring us: that we can serve that market well. Because with all due respect, without KGH, it would be a lot harder to export to Norway.”