For more than a hundred years, Euroveiling has been the top auction house for carefully grown flowers and plants from Belgium. Innovative, competitive and with sustainable business practices. Every day, these wonderful products from Belgian growers find their way to buyers and ultimately to satisfied consumers through the cooperative. Euroveiling is an important, almost indispensable link in this chain. As commercial director, Sim Echelpoels points out: ‘We are the driving force behind exclusive and carefully grown Belgian products from the ornamental plant market. And we are proud of that!’
Sim, Johan Peeters and Raf Moeyersoons have formed the management team of Euroveiling since 1 January this year. The auction has a unique position in Belgium, serving some 60% Walloon and 40% Flemish customers. The men took over from outgoing director Roger Fierens, who retired. ‘As director, Johan is responsible for administration and financing, Raf is operations and facilities director, and I am responsible for commerce,’ explains Sim. ‘We are a complementary team; the three of us work very well together. It’s great fun to work in a hectic industry like ours. And, really important given our working hours, no one suffers from morning grumpiness!’ he adds with a laugh.
Local is phenomenal
Before Sim took over as commercial director, he worked for the Agora Group in the Netherlands, Italy and France. ‘I enjoyed my job and gained a lot of experience from it,’ says Sim. ‘But I am delighted to be back home. In the end, the place you come from is still the best place to live and work. As far as I am concerned, the same applies to the flowers and plants from Belgian soil. What could be better than marketing these locally?
Staying close to home is beneficial on many levels. Not least, it makes a positive contribution to the ecological footprint. As a company in the green sector, we feel we have a reputation to uphold and have thus taken various measures to minimise our footprint. Naturally, this includes solar panels on our roofs and LED lighting in our buildings.
With some 3.5 acres of buildings, that’s quite an undertaking. We have also looked closely at our waste policy and use sustainable and preferably recycled materials when we construct or renovate our buildings.
We have also made real progress in our sustainability vision thanks to our cooperation with Container Centralen. We know that reusable transport items make a significant contribution towards sustainable logistics. With Container Centralen, we are delighted to have found a partner who recognises our objectives and supports these with its materials. They make it easy for us by maintaining high-quality carts and plates and, when they reach the end of their useful life, recycling them responsibly. They also contribute to our innovative strength by devising sustainability solutions together with us; for reusable flower boxes, for example. In addition, they offer convenient and efficient solutions, such as a secure pool through scanning tags attached to the carts. These are great concepts, and we love working with them.’
Focus on quality
After the focus on sustainability, Euroveiling will shift its focus to quality in the years to come. ‘Quality may seem like a vague concept at first,’ Sim continues, ‘but we have defined a number of concrete priorities under that heading. We have always delivered quality, of course, but we are now ready for the next step. Once we have fulfilled our sustainability goals, we want to make significant progress with the qualitative growth of our employees.
We have 50 permanent employees and also use a flexible team of about 70 other workers. We will expect all our employees to play an active and engaged role, and we will, of course, facilitate this.
Besides really encouraging them to share their ideas about positive changes, we will also invest in education and training, customer friendliness and service orientation, for example. This will benefit our customers and, at the end of the day, that’s what we’re doing it for.’
‘Of course, part of that quality drive is the pleasant professional partnership we have with Container Centralen,’ Sim continues. ‘It’s fantastic to tackle the future with such a professional party. Our regular contact is increasing and we really benefit from their networks and marketing systems. They support us in our ambitions, and that suits us just fine. ’
From clock to commissioner
Euroveiling offers maximum services with a minimum commission for growers and buyers. The auction house also offers a range of buying and ordering options. This can be done in many different ways, physically or electronically, early in the morning or late at night, on site or at a location… or a mix of everything, whatever suits the grower or buyer. Our flexibility greatly benefits this process. From an old-school sales visit (or electronically from the comfort of your armchair!)
in the early morning at the sharpest market prices, to placing an order late at night via one of the commission agents. In short, everything is possible. ‘Whatever channel the customer wants, we ensure that the flowers and plants are purchased at the best price. And, of course, they are stored in optimal conditions to prevent loss of quality. We do all this to maintain our reputation with our customers and put it into practice each and every day. And we hope to carry on doing so for a long time!’