In five years, Dutch company ProCC has grown from a team of 2 to 14 people, from working in a 90 square meters office to 700 square meters and from working in the Netherlands to working in 12 countries with more than 100 affiliated growers. "We are no longer a newcomer by now," says Sadik Usluer. Together with Jeffrey van Uunen, he is the founder of the company specializing in labor and crop registration software, which is introducing a completely revamped version to all its customers this spring.
2023 is an anniversary year for ProCC, although work on building the software started back in 2016. Sadik, who also runs an agricultural contracting company, wanted to use software but found nothing to his liking. So he decided to build it himself.
Two years later, the step to the market was taken, making the Vlaardingen-based company's software solutions available to growers at home and abroad. "Our goal was and is to provide a modern, feasible and affordable system for everyone. With now more than 100 customers in 12 countries, I think we have succeeded quite well. And do you know what the funny thing is? Our system runs both at growers with one-hectare greenhouses and large greenhouse farms of up to ninety hectares."
Sadik and Jeffrey
Registration per unit
In the beginning, it was mainly many greenhouse vegetable growers who started working with ProCC's software. Gradually, ornamental growers, and particularly pot plant growers, also started using the software. What is important at ProCC is that the software can be applied flexibly. "Our motto is: 'Impossible doesn't exist. It will just take time.' Our software is made to allow customization. We have a basic package, but many customers have additional requirements that we fulfill. We are able to customize our program so that the grower in question can work with it optimally."
A special solution was therefore devised for pot plants, for example. Whereas ProCC once started with labor and cultivation registration to calculate the price per square meter, nowadays, a unit-based calculation is also possible. "The grower can calculate from cutting to sale how much labor is in the pot, so to speak. This has made us grow fast in pot plants too."
The same applies to cannabis. "We are growing strongly in the North American market in cannabis. One of the bigger growers works with us. Track-and-trace is important in this crop. We are developing a solution for this. Even waste has to be registered by growers in cannabis cultivation. We are now in talks with several cannabis growers."
Software completely revamped
ProCC works with apps and smartphones when registering. Even though the company completely revamped its software last year, it continues to do so. "In horticulture, you have to be able to see everything quickly. You can do that by working with apps and smartphones." This spring, all existing customers will transition. Data will be transferred. After the switchover, data retrieval will be even faster, Sadik assures us. "And that while it's already a matter of seconds."
ProCC's system is now suitable for both smartphones running Android and IOS from Apple. "At first, we focused mainly on Android because the range of cheaper smartphones here is greater. However, there are also users with Apple. Our system is now also geared to this."
Direct contact with software builder
New developments, separate from an overall upgrade, are also in place. ProCC developed a monitoring app that allows company managers to monitor the work in the greenhouse all digitally and in real-time. There is also a scouting module, which allows greenhouse employees to report the discovery of something suspicious, such as a possible virus or pest, for example.
ProCC stands for customization for growers. Important in the company's philosophy here is working with short lines of communication. "No, we purposefully do not work with a support team," Sadik points out when asked. "On the contrary, we focus on the fact that anyone calling immediately gets the right person on the phone. This could very well be the programmer. We now have programmers in three countries. It is precisely the direct, short lines of communication with our programmers that make us strong. We see that customers appreciate it too."
Two such customers are ornamental grower Royal Roses and strawberry and cucumber grower VieVerde. The latter company, accounting for 6.5 hectares of glass, is preparing for a new season in mid-January. The strawberries are still 'cold' for a while, and the cucumbers have just been planted. "We started time registration with ProCC," owner Ed Classens looked back some four years ago. "Our desire was to get more data from the greenhouse, also to be able to check if the work is done properly. Previously, we also recorded labor, but only time and not specifically the operations."
Ed Classens of nursery VieVerde
The grower got to know ProCC soon after the company's market launch and did not hesitate to put his wishes on the table. "We do quite a few trials with new varieties, and so we also wanted to be able to keep track of kilograms. Jeffrey has developed a piece of software for us that allows us to do that. As a result, we can now also see who is picking which kilograms. We work with a bonus reward for the employees."
With two crops on one farm, the growers wanted one app, one overall system, without making it complicated. "On the contrary, it has to stay simple," he says. ProCC provides just that. "We can now easily select whether it is strawberries or cucumbers when we register things." There are logical differences between the two crops that the software takes into account. "For example, we pack strawberries directly in the greenhouse, working with various types of barrels."
Mickey between the guys from ProCC
At Royal Roses, ProCC's software is used to register roses. The software is linked to the rose grading machine. "Now we can see exactly how many roses are in a container and to which path and employee the container can be traced," Mickey Hogervorst told us earlier.
In cut hydrangeas, also a crop at the company, the software is used for recording labor hours. The bunching of cut flowers is done by hand. "We keep track of how many hours go into each operation for each variety. This gives insight into the numbers cut per variety."
They do not dwell extensively on the anniversary at ProCC. They are already looking ahead. "Besides continuing to serve horticultural customers optimally and growing here, we are also working on the development of a complete ERP package. We see that larger growers are also working with packing stations. This involves stock management and planning, among other things. We want to start offering such software as well, and not only to customers in horticulture."