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What determines whether a medicinal cannabis project will be successful? According to Dave, a Project Manager at Codema, it’s all about specialist knowledge and expertise. We discussed the key challenges with Dave, as well as in particular the opportunities in the market for medicinal cannabis production and greenhouse know-how in general.
Born and bred in Aalsmeer, with parents who have their own rose nursery meant that Dave literally grew up with greenhouse horticulture. He has now been working for Codema for seven years, first as a project engineer and then as a project leader, and now as the project manager who guides the work of all the project leaders worldwide. The company is growing fast, abroad in particular.
“When I started, the Netherlands was our key market but now it’s only 20% of our projects. Not because our market share has gone down – as a company, we’re stronger than ever – but because we’ve grown so much in other countries. Growing medicinal cannabis is an important growth market, one where our specialist knowledge can be the difference. There are five major projects for it currently in North America alone. And we expect this growth to continue.”
Increasing numbers of countries allow cannabis to be grown with a permit for medicinal applications. Codema is one of the world’s leading suppliers of horticultural solutions and is therefore high on the shortlists of those who are investing in cannabis. What they are asking for is assistance in building greenhouses as quickly and as well as possible for producing medicinal cannabis. Dave is the man who will be ensuring on behalf of Codema that it is all done smoothly.
“Companies that are involved in growing medicinal cannabis generally employ staff who are hugely motivated and highly qualified. But they don’t always know exactly how a greenhouse is put together. So the first step is that Codema helps them draw up a realistic project plan and helps manage their expectations so that they will be able to achieve all their milestones. This makes sure that their investors don’t start worrying.
“After that, the focus is on flexibility. These projects often last several years and so the scope can, in fact, change regularly as it progresses; that’s something that you – as an organization – have to be set up to cope with. We send specialists on site all over the world to troubleshoot and to make sure production or planning targets are achieved. That sense of joint responsibility is what makes Codema unique in the market. Our customers recognize that too, for instance when they come back to us for a greenhouse in a new country. The thing I’m particularly proud of is that they’re now involving us much earlier in the process. They know better than anyone what our strengths are.”
Codema has earned its spurs in the Dutch greenhouse horticulture sector. Growers, who often have very precise requirements, know they’re the company to turn to for solutions relating to logistics, water management, climate control and software. There are for instance many similarities between growing tomatoes and growing cannabis. And in both cases, Codema’s knowledge ensures better yields, higher returns or technological innovating power.
“Nurseries or cannabis growers want to be able to control their greenhouse using their iPad, preferably from their back garden or the beach. They speed up or slow down the growth cycle, depending on the anticipated market demand, and they can keep a close eye on whether everything is in order. For the nursery companies, that may all still be further in the future, but cannabis growers are able to invest in that already. It often wasn’t an option yet during the earlier projects, but it’s something we can already take on board for the requests that are coming in now.”
Dave expects that Codema will in future be able to provide an even greater proportion of the inner workings of a medicinal cannabis greenhouse. Whereas logistics, automation and water management are the key services at the moment, quite a number of other elements will probably be added in future:
“Codema’s deliveries are always the final ones: we make sure that it can all actually go into production. We have to respond appropriately if there are any delays, and that’s always easier when you’ve got more responsibility. Fortunately, our customers see that too, so I expect that we’ll be expanding our services considerably in this market over the years to come. In climate control and automation, for instance. Then we’ll have everything in our own hands and I’ll be able to tell the customer even sooner that it’s all going to be okay.”
If you would like to know how Codema handles the realization of high-tech greenhouses – for medicinal cannabis or other products – throughout the world, contact one of our account managers: email@example.com or +31 (0)6-53990957. If you’d rather read up a bit about it first, download our Medicinal Cannabis white paper: https://codema.nl/nl/products/medicinale-cannabis/