Due to the sustained growth of the plants division within parent company OZ Export, the decision was made in 1998 to sublet the export of plants to an independent company. This marks the inception of OZ Planten, led by the management team with Henk-Willem Spaargaren and Marco van Veen. Meanwhile, OZ Planten has approximately 90 workers on staff, half of which work in logistics, 25 of them in sales and procurement, 10 in administration and two in ICT. OZ Planten primarily exports within Europe, with Italy being an important growth market. Furthermore, OZ Planten is thriving in Middle and Eastern Europe, as well as in the Scandinavian countries. Indoor plants (green and flowering ones) account for the bulk of the turnover, i.e. 50 and 35 per cent respectively, the remainder comes from the sale of garden plants.
We spoke with Frank Gordijn, financial controller at OZ Planten.
Does OZ Planten specialise in specific types of plants?
Frank: “To put it simply, we sell all types of plants, flowers are explicitly excluded. Selling flowers is a different profession altogether. The diversity of our plant portfolio can sometimes be a pitfall. Our best-selling product is an orchid, the Phalaenopsis, commonly known as moth orchids”
What makes OZ Plants unique?
Frank: “First of all, we are the largest exporter of plants in the Netherlands. We are also an important player in Europe, one of the top 10.
We are known for the high quality of our products, being flexible in responding to the wishes of our customers, as well as that the staff members of our sales department speak many foreign languages fluently. Which is why we are well-informed about the culture and traditions of countries that we do business with.”
Where do you get the plants you export?
Frank: “95% comes directly from growers in the Netherlands.”
Responding rapidly to the wishes of your customers requires an efficient organisation. How is ICT set up within OZ Planten?
Frank: “We use two versions of NAV, the old, classic version, and the Role-Tailored Client (RTC). In 2014 we switched to RTC version 2009. We use NAV as an ERP system within OZ Planten, which affects all departments, i.e. Finance, Procurement, Sales and Logistics.
The classic variant is purely deployed for look & feel purposes. It contains a number of tools which I personally find very pleasant to work with. Furthermore we use a few other small software packages on the side. We do try, however, to collect as much as we can within NAV. For example, our webshop is directly connected to the NAV database.”
Do you also have a direct connection with the auction?
Frank: “Absolutely. A simple preview: when we are on the clock and we press an order, it is immediately shot into Navision and distributed to our customer orders.”
How do you collect management information?
Frank: “well, we actually have three ways: Through NAV itself (operational lists), Exsion (weekly and monthly analysis) and Qlickview, an overarching management information tool for things such as turnover, products and margins on segments, countries and customers.
We think that Qlickview is particularly suitable for our managers. Figures are frozen and they can click through them, enabling them to see margins and related developments broken down by product, customer and/or country.
We cannot do this ourselves yet, each month a consultant comes by to make necessary modifications. Exsion is somewhat less suitable for graphical presentations, but ideal when you want to create reports and perform complex calculations. With Exsion, you can really go deep.”
What are your further experiences with Exsion?
Frank: “With Exsion, we can precisely determine what we want. We create a report we want and can simultaneously check which data are missing in NAV.”
PASSION FOR PLANTS
“For example, if we feel, that NAV should be filled better, we will do that first, thus improving the contents of the report in question. Exsion is used a lot, certainly when it comes to controlling, and also when, for example, actual figures must be compared to those of the previous year. It is our experience, that Exsion works fast, you only have to perform a quick refresh to have current data at your disposal.
We also use Exsion when customers request a week overview of their purchases, or a specific packing slip.”
This case is taken from the book ‘Reporting Refreshed – Financial Experts Speak’