VEK has been involved in horticultural projects as consultants since 1971 and will, celebrate its 50th anniversary next year.
Willem Nat, along with his partner Pascal van Oers, responsible for strategy and decision making at VEK, have seen rapid changes in the industry in recent years. “Many of our new clients are just entering the horticultural market and are looking for a single point of responsibility,” he says. “They are more likely to turn to a turnkey greenhouse provider and ask this contractor to take over parts of the work of consultancies. I have often spoken to turnkey greenhouse providers to find out how VEK can adapt to this changing market situation.” When Atrium showed an interest in VEK Adviesgroep, Nat did not take the opportunity straight away. “But we gradually started to see the added value. Now we are convinced that we will fit into the overall picture, with the client being assisted by specialists from first contact to final delivery. Moreover, investors get the right advice to safeguard their returns."
Nothing but benefits
Atrium Agri is an investment group by Henk Verbakel (Havecon), Edward Verbakel (VB) and Koen Brabander (PB tec). The three welcome the arrival of VEK. Henk Verbakel of Havecon: “VEK has a wealth of knowledge, experience and is independent and trusted by its clients. VEK has developed into a financially strong, profitable company. Havecon employs a team of young professionals who work tirelessly to advise our clients as best they can, thanks to the collaboration with VEK, my clients will soon receive even more knowledgeable advice on all aspects of technologies in horticulture. I can see nothing but benefits!"
Clients will also benefit
Edward Verbakel of VB is also enthused: “VEK perfectly meets Atrium's criteria. The company is established, strong and among the top in its field and will remain independent. With VEK joining Atrium, our level of professionalism will grow as well. Clients of VB will benefit greatly from this.” Koen Brabander of PB tec agrees: “I am proud of Atrium's vision and how quickly they can change gears. We often get requests from entrepreneurs in which it is immediately clear that they need a consultant quickly before they go too far down a certain path. If we can link these early investors to VEK, we can help to streamline the entire process, from conception through to feasibility and permitting and ultimately to commissioning. PB tec too will benefit from clients who are successful, because they will return.”
Advantage of joining
Mike Vermeij, CEO of Bom Group, can already confirm that VEK joining has advantages. His company also joined Atrium just under a year ago. “We have experienced the enormous benefits that can be achieved. Not just in words, but in rock-solid results. The scale of the group and its ability to switch gears are impressive. This is good for Bom and good for our clients. The fact that VEK is now part of the group is also positive for us. We go to great lengths when it comes to assisting our clients. We are doing a pretty good job of this, but if we can improve the level or expand services by calling in VEK, then we are happy to do that for the benefit of our clients.”
Role as consultant
How will the collaboration with Atrium work? For Willem Nat, it's 'business as usual'. “When a project comes along in which one of the Atrium partners leads a construction team, VEK will look for solutions together with the relevant partner. Our role as a consultant then means that we design, in detail, what kind of greenhouse and installation we believe should be purchased. We can advise from the first idea, and then via a well-founded plan towards realization and completion. And if possible, we can also offer crop specific technical support and market guidance after sales.”
Regular client base
In addition, VEK has its regular client base and the company is also commonly approached directly by investors. To this end, VEK continues to offer its services both nationally and internationally as per usual, focused on business design, budgets, permits, subsidies, specifications and tendering. “Everyone can expect us to continue to do so with the same discretion as always. In this case, there is an impenetrable wall between VEK and the Atrium partners”, according Willem Nat. “Building trust takes a long time, but it can evaporate very quickly.”
With the arrival of VEK Adviesgroep, the partnership within Atrium Agri now consists of Havecon, VB, PB tec, Bom Group and VEK Adviesgroep. Companies are not admitted to the club just like that. “We do not work without obligation, but with a firm commitment”, Henk Verbakel of Havecon emphasises. “Potential partners must have a recognizable product, a good reputation and a solid foundation. They must have a respectable client base. In addition, a shared vision of the future, willingness to share and innovate and the will to learn from each other are also essential elements. The current partners totally share this mission statement.”