Fruit Logistica 2017 Berlin
I went to Fruit Logistica this year. For those who don’t know, this is one of the biggest shows in the world for fruit growers.
The show was immense and had I been wearing a Fitbit, I am sure I would have covered over 40,000 steps in a day! However it was fascinating seeing all the different fruits from around the World with each country having its own area. As part of the exhibition there are a number of halls dedicated to fruit processing and packaging machinery.
My company Brillopak builds high speed pick and place systems and palletisers. From a packaging machine perspective it was interesting seeing what is new in the market and also what our competitors are up to. There was nothing to suggest that our strategy of focusing on high speed tray packing and case packing is not the correct one. We have undertaken considerable research into individual fruit picking over the past 2 years, and there was some evidence of development in this area from some of the bigger players. There were a few conventional case packers and several robot palletisers but no evidence of new technologies. Our compact palletisers are based around flexibility of use for multiple products combined with a small footprint and that is not going to change.
Point of note. Compac were displaying their Spectrim fruit sortation systems which provide a depth of data and information to growers and packhouses enabling them to track and monitor quality and productivity at an individual fruit level from harvesting to retailer. Having worked with them before I know about their capabilities.
Finally, a word on brands and branding. There was an airport handlers strike while I was in Berlin causing delays on all flights. It is interesting how small actions by a company can make a real difference to a customer. For example, I left the Berlin Messe at the end of the day thinking about my flight delay. A refined coach (one of many going to different locations every 25 minutes) provided by Fruit Logistica was waiting in the freezing cold, on time, to take me to the airport. At the airport I found a lounge where a very helpful member of staff made a real effort to get me settled so that I could work to the extent that I almost missed the flight when it was called!
As a business owner, I think all the time about building the Brillopak brand but could I think enough about the detail? Fruit Logistica did not have to provide such comfortable coaches or keep to their timetable. That service was but a small detail in the big picture of organising a successful business exhibition but I will remember it. The person in the Green Wings (I had never heard the name before) lounge did not have to make the extra effort to allow me to continue working through the delay, but she did and I will remember it.
Perhaps ironically, my biggest takeaway from the show is that it is attention to detail and the behaviour of your own people, as individuals, that actually build brands from the ground up.