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17 January 2020

Safety net for emergencies

Safety net for emergencies

Safety net for emergencies

In the corporate world, the term 'safety net' is sometimes used in a figurative way, but the clients of FruitSecurity Holland are mainly fimiliar with its literal meaning. The company, with its offices in the Dutch city of Ederveen, concentrates on the sale and (assisting with the) mounting of hail nets and coverings for the market-garden sector, tree nurseries and the automotive industry.

That hailstones can have a devastating effect needs no further explanation. Thousands of private persons are all too familiar with the damage these icy rocks can do to car, caravan, roof or shelter. This misery is, however, small fry to what entrepreneurs in certain industries have to cope with: the complete failure of the fuit crop, the destruction of many hectare of (young) trees, or having to observe powerless how the coachwork of a trade supply of dozens or hundreds of vehicles is turned into a moon landscape. ''Fruit farmers who together with their teams work very all year long to grow and ripen their crops, can literally lose sleep because of the fact that in five minutes' time their entire crop of that season cna be destroyed,'' says Teus de Jong, co-owner of FruitSecurity Holland. Consociate Gerben van Veldhuizen: ''We can prevent such a disaster with the supply and if so desired, mounting of hail nets and coverings. 'I now sleep a lot more peaceful,' some of our clients tell us.'' 

Primary school

FruitSecurity Holland is the company of two entrepreneurs who got to know each other in primary school. They became friends and decided: ''If we ever start a business of our own, we are going to do that together.'' It was inevitable that in corporate life, their pats will cross again. ''I had just started as an account manager with a trading company in accessory materials for the fruit industry - as a matter of fact, in my first week there - when a Dutch client asked us to supply a hail net, something quite new at that time,'' says Van Veldhuizen. ''We could order that from the Austrian firm Fruit Security, but somebody had to mount it at the client's location. Teus, who had started a one-man business offered to do that job and this resulted in a collaboration that lasted five years until we decided to start our own business ass consociates in 2013. Fruit Security knew our method of working and gave us the opportunity to officially represent this quality label at an international level, as a branch of the head office.''

Really convince

The potential was huge. ''The market exploded,'' explains De Jong. ''In the early days of our collaboration hail nets were still a rarity and we had to really convince the entrepreneurs of their importance. Nowadays they are a logical covering of barely controllable risks in the fruit growing and tree nursering industries. For every two cents you earn in your first year, you can say that you earmark one cent to incest in hail nets. We now see that the automotive industry is also showing an inceasing interest,'' Van Veldhuizen: ''Our sphere of activity is mainly Northern Europe, that means the Benelux countries, Scandinavia, Great Britain and Northern France. But we notice an increasing interest from other parts of the world.'' Shortly before the interview De Jong returned from the United States and earlier he visited Idia for the umptieth time. ''The Dutch are an enterprising people. You meet them all over the world. We see lots of opportunities on an international scale.

Climate change

Together, the Dutch and the Austrian offices of FruitSecurity supply some 1.500 hectares of hail protection per year, and this number is growing steadily. This is not only because the special products become more and more familiar. De Jong:''We all know that the earth is undergoing a gradual climate change. This change causes more and more extremes on a higher scale, including relentless hail storms. We are not making this up, it is proved by official report from, among other institutes, the Royal Dutch weather institute KNMI. So the risks for entrepreneurs in certain industries are getting bigger, which causes the insurance premiums to go up if they want to cover themselves against these disasters. If, as a fruit grower without a hail net, you apply for an insurance policy, many companies will now turn you down. Apart from the material damage you suffer directly, you also have to take into account that your clients will turn to your competitors if you are unable to supply the desired quantities in time. In the old days, the scale of fruit was conducted in auctions, nowadays this is more and more done on a contract basis. So with hail protection you prevent a lot of misery and you can get a lower premium with a good insurance company. This way, your return on investment is guaranteed.'' 

Remote control

The gentlemen from FruitSecurity Holland are experts in the field of crops and can provide their clients with custom-made advice. From a quality point of view, the company is in the top of the market. Another distinction is that the application and mounting is done by own personnel. ''That is, if the client wishes us to do that,'' says Van Veldhuizen. ''The client can also use a team of his own people, for instance as an additional and assisting workforce to our people. But we always keep the supervision. It all depends on good workers. We also do repair jobs and offer a maintenance contract which lengthens the life of the materials. A net can have a life of at least ten years, the post and the ground anchoring have a life of at least thirty years. For the fruit culture we also supply foil and net systems that stop rain, hail and insects.'' A great innovation is the Automatic Protection System (APS), which was nominated for the Greentech Innovation Award 2016. De Jong:''This system enables the user to open or close a screen by means of a text message, no matter where the user is at that moment. Tree nurseries usually opt for climate hoods that filter the sunlight and protect against rain, hail and high wind. For the automotive industry we work with arched or flat systems or roofs, whatever the client decides.'' In short: Fruit Security Holland offers all kind of solutions to anticipate on phenomena that cannot be controlled. Entrepreneurs active in industries threatened by hail stones can now rest easily.