23 February 2018
Global breeder Dümmen Orange is the world’s largest grower of cuttings, producing over 1.5 billion cuttings per year (4,000 varieties) at seventeen locations around the world. Cuttings are sold in seventy countries daily to 11,000 customers. Managing Director Harry Kloppenburg calls it “a true logistical challenge.” FCI spoke with him about the practicalities of globalization.
“Consolidation is a worldwide economic trend. Companies grow and merge,driven by cost efficiency and the need for a wide, state-of-the-art assortment of product. You need scale to service the world market in retail, production and also in breeding and propagation.
Being a large company, Dümmen Orange is a leader in various flowers and plants. We bring together professionals in IT, sales, marketing and R&D. It enables us to acquire lots of knowledge for the breeding and propagating of many products.
Every crop we sell has a product team, using worldwide input as a basis for their product plans. Since we are present in various countries we can adapt rapidly to worldwide changes .”
“Globalization isn’t just an economic, strategic activity. You also need guts. India, for instance, is not an easy market. Yet we managed to make our operations there commercially successful. Personally, I believe in markets rather than greenhouses. You need greenhouses to breed and propagate, but sales and royalties are our bread and butter.
Success requires passion. Only if you like the constant fight to succeed in countries like China, India or Japan will you amount to anything . Of course cultural differences are barriers. But for me barriers are an additional motivation to succeed.”
“Worldwide, Dümmen Orange has general targets, standards and values to which all companies we own must adapt. Chinese, Chileans, Germans and Dutchmen work together in product groups, departments and countries . Any company we acquire goes through an integration process led by a board member to make it fit into Dümmen Orange.
So we think global, but act local. Our Italian location, for instance, has its own rooting facility based on the needs of local customers. It also has local salesmen so customers can do business in their own language. So our German customers buy from a German company and our Chinese customers buy from a Chinese company.”
“Of course being a global company necessitates being well-organized. But it takes more than that. Our culture is informal; there is a lot of cross-cultural communication. It is normal to call or visit a colleague if you think he or she can solve your problem. My door is always open, too, to help customers and colleagues solve issues and create opportunities. If one of our Kenyan sales representatives has a problem and I can help him, it’s perfectly normal that he would call me.”