New membership model in development: we need your input18 February 2020
Members will work together with Royal FloraHolland on a new membership model next year. We discussed the reason for this, and the process, with Members' Council member Walter Straathof (Gebr. Straathof) and Claudia Hölzel (Services for Growers and Cooperative Affairs Manager at Royal FloraHolland).
"The auction should provide the highest possible yield for members at the lowest possible cost. That's the strength of the cooperative", says Walter. "You can see a continued increase in the differences between growers. Large and small growers, more and more direct trade and international trade - the existing model with two contract forms no longer suffices."
Claudia: "With the new strategic direction we are developing new services such as nationwide auctioning and 100% Digital through Floriday. Including these services in the membership and rates is therefore a logical next step." There are currently two membership forms (member-supplier and supplier) and the difference between them lies mainly in their rates. "We want to tighten that up in the coming year. This way we better meet the needs of our members."
The rate structure was adjusted in 2018. Furthermore, one contract form was chosen in addition to the member-supplier contract, namely: supplier. The rights and obligations of membership and the associated services remained unchanged at that time. "That was a first step towards getting the basics clear and straightforward," Claudia continues. "We had a discussion with members then, too. And we'll do so again as part of this process."
The members are in charge
Together with Goos Hofland, grower Walter is a member of the membership leading team on behalf of the Members' Council. Exactly what does the leading team do? "In the first few months, we will determine the starting points for the new membership model. What are the wishes and the possibilities? We'll actively involve other members in this. We'll do so during the member sessions, which take place in March throughout the Netherlands and in Germany and Belgium. And in Kenya, Ethiopia and Israel in May," Walter explains. The leading team comprises a diverse group. In addition to members, it also includes suppliers and former members. "We want to know their reason for quitting. Is the price too high, or is the service inadequate? And: when would you rejoin the cooperative? This gives you a good idea of what can be done better or differently."
Who's on the membership leading team?
This team consists of 12 suppliers, members and non-members. Besides Walter this includes: Gijs van Geffen, David van Tuyl, Bas Karsten, Chris Kester, Laurens van der Lans, Goos Hofland, Rob Koning, Hans Willemsen and André van der Valk from the Netherlands. International suppliers on the leading team are Jay Williams and Girish Appanna.
Have your say
"For the further development of the cooperative, it is extremely important that members make their voices heard," says Claudia. As a member of the management team of Royal FloraHolland, she hopes that as many people as possible will attend the member sessions in March. "The Members' Council will supervise the sessions. The Members' Council members play an important role in these sessions. And Royal FloraHolland provides support and input."
Walter adds: "I'd like to call on everyone to talk to me about the membership model. Even if - or in fact precisely because - you disagree. Or if you don't think anything needs changing. In March we'll still be in the early stages, so we can still go in any direction." Naturally Walter knows that it's impossible to satisfy everyone 100% in a cooperative with 4,000 members. "But to us it's all about the best option for the most members. That's why we do what we do. And for that, we need everyone's opinion."
What happens next?
There will be the following occasions this year to do so: during the member sessions in March (international: May), potentially during the theme sessions in May/June and during the member sessions in November.
What happens next? Walter: "Our goal is to have the new model 80% ready before the summer. We will perhaps present this to members during additional theme sessions in May and June. There will be more member sessions in November, at which we will discuss the new model again and advise the management. The management will then come up with a proposal. In December, the Members' Council can vote on the new membership and rates. After approval, Royal FloraHolland will introduce the new membership model in 2021"
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