With FarmHouse's knowledge of sourcing, marketing and sales, ERP's expertise in packaging and ripening and ABC Logistics' specialisation in the entire logistics service, these members of the Best Fresh family had all the ingredients needed to offer a total package, which is how Ripe Fresh Packing came into being. "We can take care of the entire process of importing, clearing, storage and transhipment, ripening, sorting, packaging and further distribution in-house."
With ABC Logistics' new 14,000 m2 building, completed in Poeldijk earlier this year, the time was right to strengthen the partnership. "That gave us the opportunity to expand further and also to look at the sorting possibilities. Half of the new building has a mezzanine floor, where all the activities of Ripe Fresh Packing are carried out. We still have plenty of room to expand the activities. By thinking in terms of partnerships we can get further together," says Roland Kling, director of ABC Logistics.
Arend Solleveld, Sacha Martens and Roland Kling
The new location has the necessary storage and transhipment cells, as well as eight ripening cells that have also been installed. In addition, the company has invested in two Aweta sorting lines for avocados and mangos, which select for both internal and external quality. "Before I came to work for ERP, I thought the company only packed peppers. Now I know better", laughs Arend Solleveld, who has a history in ripening and packing exotics.
"We did it right from the start. This branch of sport requires the necessary expertise. I have put in the necessary hours in the exotics myself, but we have also hired experienced colleagues for the ripening and quality control. With respect, you can't just let a temporary worker do these activities. We have purchased equipment to measure the dry matter content of the products. We also offer all existing packaging options from net to flowpack and banding."
Avor - a joint venture between South African avocado grower and breeder Allesbeste and Dutch company Farmhouse International - quickly secured its first ripe customer. Avor markets Allesbeste avocados, supplemented with the harvests of selected growers from other countries. "In the meantime, we are in talks with some other potential customers to take care of ripening for them. That looks very promising", says Arend.
Sacha Martens, operational manager at Farmhouse, also sees many advantages in the new cooperation. "Thanks to the automation of our sorting lines we can deliver even better quality avocados and mangos to our customers. Previously, sorting was done manually, but where people get tired and make mistakes, the machine keeps going. Besides, a laser sees much more than the human eye. We have collected a lot of data in the past weeks to learn to sort the machine according to the specific wishes of our customers. We have really made huge strides in this area, which allows us to guarantee quality to our customers."
Expansion to include organic products or other types of fruit for ripening is obvious, but first Ripe Fresh Packing wants to get the handling of avocados and mangoes right. "We love innovations, but we will not start them until we have the current operation perfectly in place," Roland concludes. "The wide range of services we offer is interesting for both growers and trading companies we work with. The customer is completely relieved and can focus on selling his fresh product."