‘A high-tech horti future, in which AI plays an essential role’

13-07-2020    15:22   |    Goedemorgen

Marco van der Velden has been Managing Director and CEO of Berg Hortimotive Group since February. Due to an increasing need of food in the world, an upscaling horticultural industry and growing scarcity of knowledge, he sees great opportunities for data-driven solutions in horticulture. Or as he calls it: Horticulture 4.0.

Van der Velden has many years of experience in the high-tech metal processing industry and machine building. He wants to use that know-how to make Berg Hortimotive Group, concisting of Berg Hortimotive and HortiKey, even more valuable within the international horticulture sector in the years to come.

 

The new Managing Director and CEO received an intensive familiarisation traject in his first month, by his predecessors Bas Lagerwerf and Nico Bikker. “It’s a very unique situation, because you don't get that opportunity often. It enabled me to get to know the customers, the processes, the products and especially the people within the company.” However, COVID-19 struck after a short while. As a result, Van der Velden had to be on top of the organization from the start. “We are a Dutch company that is actively working in over a hundred countries. Because of the pandemic we had to deal with regulations and restrictions that differ per country. A difficult situation, to which we had to adapt. But Berg Hortimotive proved to be a robust organization.”

 

Challenging roads often lead to the best destinations

Van der Velden mapped out the impact of the situation, but it soon became clear that adjusting the organisation was not necessary for Berg Hortimotive. “In the end we will get trough this situation  and recover by use of our progressiveness and determination, and it is our passion to innovate!” This includes the new Paprika SMART AGV of Berg Hortimotive and the Plantalyzer of HortiKey. The intelligent Plantalyzer measures the number of tomatoes and classifies them on ripeness, while they are still attached to the plant in the greenhouse. Based on these measurements, a reliable harvest forecast can be given up to 4 weeks ahead. As a result, a higher turnover can be realised with lower outage and more efficient use of water and energy. Van der Velden envisions a high-tech horticultural future in which artificial intelligence and algorithms play an essential role in managing and connecting the entire chain. The Plantalyzer is already taking a huge step in that direction. “Berg Hortimotive wants to continue to lead the way and develop throughout solutions under the umbrella of Royal Brinkman and in collaboration with partners in the sector. COVID-19 helps in this regard as it amplifies the awareness in the sector that Horticulture 4.0 is not something for the future, but is already in full swing. Therefor we need to work together more intensely than ever before.”


Van der Velden is looking forward to the next challenges as Managing Director and CEO of Berg Hortimotive Group. "When Bas Lagerwerf stepped down, he said the best is yet to come. After working in this company and in this sector for several months, I completely agree with him," Van der Velden says ambitiously.


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