As horticulture continues a time of unprecedented velocity of change, companies like Ludvig Svensson not only innovate but anticipate. Screens are no longer limited to shading to keep sun out and energy in – they’re a key to controlling the entire greenhouse climate. To get a total picture of how Svensson intends to continue equipping growers for success, we sat down with new President of Ludvig Svensson Inc., Mauricio Manotas.
How long have you been with Svensson and in what capacities?
11 years - two as East Canada Manager based in Ontario, five as Mexico-Latin America Manager based in Mexico and Colombia, four as North America West Coast and key accounts manager based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
What is your background?
I have a background in engineering and have worked all my life in the green-house industry. Before joining Ludvig Svensson, I designed and built greenhouses for four years, working as an account manager with Hortilux Schreder, a leading Dutch company that sells supplemental lighting. In addition, my family are growers, producing roses in Ecuador.
How has the industry evolved since you’ve been part of it?
I’ve seen a major shift toward protected agriculture in vegetables, an emphasis on growth optimization, an increased focus on maximizing productivity, and as of late, a special movement toward local/organic agriculture.
How has Svensson changed in your time with the company?
We have almost tripled in size, having major focus on customer service and trying to more fully understand growers’ needs. That’s why we believe in working with local partners and having sales reps who speak not only the language but also understand the regional climate and culture. We now have our own marketing department, allowing us to keep up with social media, web pages, newsletters and focus on the best way to communicate with distributors and end users. We are also investing a lot of resources in stock management and forecasting tools as well as up-todate CRM (customer resource management) mobile systems. In regard to the product line, we have always tried to come up with smart products, keeping fire protection as a must have feature.
What long-term trends are you seeing in terms of climate control and the greenhouse industry?
Not saving energy is no longer an option. Competition among producers has never been stronger than today, and they need to optimize energy and water use. I’m also starting to see companies being concerned about their carbon footprint; they’re getting a push back from consumers. For many years different industries grew used to having unlimited resources like water and perhaps easy access to cheap energy. That’s no longer the case. Greenhouses are becoming geared more and more toward being energy/water efficient.
Where do you see the greatest growth potential for Svensson?
We still have a lot a room to grow when it comes to optimizing climate control on existing houses. More and more growers are recognizing the value of double screens, whether two energy screens or an energy screen and a lightdiffusing screen used in combination. Also, in developing markets we have a long way to go in explaining the screen concept. It’s something we’re working on, though of course I can’t give away all of our secrets.