Scaling in horticulture enables personalized products more and more often
Twenty years ago, producers asked Bato Plastics for custom requests for 20,000 jars, but today we’re talking about much larger numbers. An order of 200,000 jars, clips or other personalized customer requests no longer surprises sales manager Hans Luijkx and his teammates.
This is why Bato is focusing more on personalized horticultural products these days. “Producers are growing and becoming big enough to invest in a customer-specific mold, which is used to injection mold their own products. This is done to solve a technical problem with the culture, to optimize the culture or to give a product its own distinctive identity.
Bato has been making its own products for a long time and the company from Zevenbergen, the Netherlands, sells them all over the world, through resellers. Personalization has always been their specialty, but especially in recent years the focus has been on personalized products. The company also has its own Research & Development department, for three years now. Here, product engineers guide the entire product development “from idea to final product”.
Custom requests also come from suppliers, but Hans notices that the actual demand and need usually comes from the producer, the end customer. The demands are very different. “I don’t really see a red line in them. This ranges from growth issues, for which we find solutions with the grower, to requests for size, shape or special wishes for substrate boxes or decorative pots for ornamental plants.
Beside this, sustainability plays an increasing role in the innovation and development of horticultural products. “Today, we can supply a large part of our products based on bio-based and fully biodegradable materials. Some of our products are even compostable under the right circumstances. The biggest challenge is to guarantee the same quality and the same lifespan, with less plastic.
Bato develops tailor-made products with its customers
Custom orders come from all over the world. “Although we mainly supply to dealers, we know many producers personally and visit them regularly. This way they know where to find us for specific customization issues. International clients as well. For example, we made special substrate bins for a US customer at their request. Ditto for a well known Dutch customer, I went there with our whole assortment because he requested it. The thing he was looking for was not there, so we started to develop the ideal product according to his wishes and requirements. I am not saying that everything is possible, but certainly a lot. And because we are responsive and able to scale quickly, we notice that our clients appreciate us.