Rob van der Meer is commercial product manager Growcoon at Maan BioBased Products. Once a month, Rob writes a blog about a current issue. In this blog: his first findings using Growcoons.
Over a year ago, I started working at Maan BioBased Products. Having worked in various jobs in the horticulture sector, I'd already heard of the Growcoon. I thought of it as a very promising product. Putting the plant's requirements front and centre when developing a cultivation plug is the best way to develop a growth- and seedplug. And that's self-evident if you look at the Growcoon results.
A difficult start
I've faced a lot of challenges throughout my career in horticulture. But the switch to Maan was one of the biggest. It's a great company with a huge pool of technical insight and innovative strength, but no horticultural expertise. Not only was it not familiar with cultivation techniques, but it knew little to nothing about the field of horticulture itself. What’s more, I soon discovered that development of the product was not entirely complete, so it was not really ready for large-scale sales. A stable quality and the possibility to automate its use were the biggest challenges.
Because the product was not entirely finished, I was able to use my experience directly for the further development of the Growcoon. And Maan turns out to be a master at development. Within a couple of months, we had a product that was ready for some serious marketing.
From trees to the entire horticulture sector
In the past, Maan has focused primarily on arboriculture. But I quickly drew the conclusion that, for a successful introduction, we needed to appeal to more segments of the market. After we started marketing the product to a wider public, we began to see trials being done.
And the first customers started using Growcoons. Esperit Young Plants has been a major driver of this and is still a prominent reference. Strikingly we witnessed a strong willingness among customers to work with us on the success of the Growcoon.
I was already enthusiastic about the Growcoon, but when the first customers started using it in earnest, I was also surprised by the results. The extremely improved rooting of the products, the uniform growth and the ability to deliver shoots sooner are three major sales arguments that make the application of Growcoons very economical. It's no accident that around 200 million plugs will have been produced in 2017. If I look at the results of the tests that are still running and what the added value of Growcoons in hydroponics is, I expect big things over the coming years.
Major nurseries are already switching completely to Growcoons. And each grower tells us of new benefits, such as greater efficiency in handling and logistics. Further to that, the Growcoon dispenser is proving to be an excellent device, making it even easier to use the product in automated systems.
The collaboration with Klasmann-Deilmann as partner in particular will open doors. Working with such an experienced and widely operating partner with lots of specialist know-how on cultivation systems is very important when marketing a new product like the Growcoon internationally.
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