‘Despite automation, I still find my work lively and varied’

Stef Lesger has been working at Summaflor for 26 years and has experienced many developments. From paper to fax and digitalization. In the past, work was not necessarily worse or better, according to Stef, but everything just worked in a different way.

“One a Saturday morning, Cees de Mooij and Marcel Heemskerk called me to ask if I wanted to come and talk. Preferably they wanted me to come by that same day…  I was offered a job as a box chef. And I accepted!”

“A lot has changed over the years. In terms of customers, but also the range and the way of working have changed. Nowadays, of course, much more is automated, but I still find my work lively and varied! In the past, the work was not necessarily worse or better, but everything went in a different way. Nowadays, everything goes through the computer. We used to write everything on a piece of paper and faxing was a new way of working. You can’t imagine that now! And with regard to the assortment, there used to be only a very limited number of different roses, now there are countless varieties. It has become much more intricate.”

“We also used to work with huge numbers of pallets; during the holidays we used to get rid of three hundred pallets. We rented separate halls to store those pallets. Holidays were really intense, but those days also had their advantages. There was also virtually no transparency on the market, it was easier to make margins and you could really play around with the trade. We would have rejected salal painted, for example, and then it was like new again.

I see a great future in retail. Supermarket trade is really becoming more attractive and of course you see that people are buying more and more online, also abroad. All in all, I’m not done yet!”

‘We used to stock a lot of merchandise, now that’s really different!’

Alexandra Meiland – 29 years old at Summaflor – has been cycling on her bicycle from Noordwijk to Rijnsburg every day for 29 years. The 45 minute ride keeps her fit!

“Last 18 March, I worked here for exactly 29 years, including the time when I started as a temporary employee. In those years, I have gained a lot of new colleagues, but also a lot of new customers. Some customers started with a few boxes a day and I have seen them grow over the years. The changing computer systems took some getting used to. I had just got used to one system and had to learn to work with another. Fortunately, that always worked!”

Nothing is so changeable
“You sometimes hear that nothing is as changeable as work. And that is a good thing. A few years ago, we received a presentation from Floral Trade Group in which they said that instead of supply-driven, demand-driven work would be done. I notice that difference in the stock, for example. We used to have a lot of stock, but that is really different now.

My personal highlight of the past few years was my 25th anniversary! I’ll always remember that, we even had a little party here at work. Fantastic!

‘I have seen the company grow into what it is today’

Ard Jan van Duijvenbode – 30 years with Van der Plas – is responsible for the lines to France and he is the contact person for the Cash & Carry’s. Together with Wim van der Plas, he started on the lorry to France.

“I have seen the company grow into what it is today. Of course, growth comes with a lot of change. Sometimes it takes some getting used to! A positive effect of growth is that we as companies within Floral Trade Group can benefit from each other. That is why I also see the future positively. We are a big player with a strong market position within our branch. No day is the same and every day I have new challenges that keep my work fun. The motto: “Always keep on counting” has certainly paid off over the years!”