The fresh fruit and vegetable sector has gained a pair of experts. Olivier van Assche and Rick Rebergen are storming the Benelux and Germany under the Keelings Solutions' banner. Oliver will focus mainly on the Belgian market. There is still room for software improvement in that country. They both laid out their plans.
Rick Rebergen and Olivier van Assche.
“Together, we have more than 50 years of experience in the sector,” says Rick. He knows the sector well from his experience as a software service provider. To this, Olivier adds years of trade experience. The Irish software company, Keelings Solutions, made the move to the European continent in 2012 already.
In May 2017, Rick was appointed as the person responsible for the Benelux region and Germany. “I have many contacts in the Netherlands thanks to my experience on the Dutch market. I have also invested a lot of time and energy into breaking into the German market", he says. "Belgium has been in the background a bit, but that will change. We are going to share our knowledge with the Belgians."
Rapid software evolution
“There are fewer software service providers in Belgium," says Olivier. “That is why many companies build their own solutions. You also have to deal with two languages. It seems simple enough, but this factor should not be overlooked."
Olivier has been working outside of the fresh fruit and vegetable sector for the past five years. However, his roots are in the fresh fruit and vegetable trade. ICT has interested him for decades. "I still remember when we got our first office computer in 1976", he says. "We have always been a computer-minded company. I have also always followed the software division."
He points out the need for good software. "Things are evolving very quickly. You can no longer buy an ERP package and not look at it for the next ten years. You have to stay on top of things." He began his new job at Keelings Solutions In December. He will be tackling the Belgian market.
Software built from trade
Keelings Solutions was founded about 20 years ago by the Keelings family. Up to then, the family was involved in growing and trading fruit and vegetables. "They decided to set up their own ICT branch. In the early years their own business was this software company's largest client", says Rick. Olivier adds, “It is a package that was built for this industry. You find operational knowledge and know-how in this software. No-one can copy that”.
This set-up offers advantages. Keelings Solutions knows the challenges facing the international trade in fresh fruit and vegetables, emphasizes Rick. “They work a lot with the British and Irish retailers. These often make very high demands." Keelings Solutions has always had close contact with the trade industry. As a result, developments in the market are quickly put on the company's agenda.
“Keelings is always the first to obtain the updates. Their clients are, therefore, never guinea pigs", adds Olivier. “Many software companies work reactively. We turn that around and apply innovations. In this way, Keelings is, in many cases, the first test subject,” explains Rick.
“There are many ERP packages, but not one of them is as complete as ours,” says Rick. From the grower entering data on his tablet in the field to quality control, sorting, and packaging to warehouse management solutions and office applications - it is all included. This is because Keelings Solutions has all the links in the chain in-house.
Rick points out some distinguishing features. "Our software is efficient to use. Users find that they reach their goals in an easier, simpler manner." He also mentions the innovations that are added to the package on a yearly basis. Such as?
"In the first half of next year, we will release a sales app. This app can be used within and outside of our system. We also have a unique 'way of implementation approach' and 'investment model'. Deliberately doing things differently - that is Keelings Solutions”, Rick concludes.
Rick: +31 (0) 614 955 005
Olivier: +32 (0) 475 269 009