Alexander Kovachevich, Area Manager Kekkilä-BVB, China
“Green house growing means knowing it is the tech and growing presumptions that changes”
With an experience from the agriculture-sector Alexander Kovachevich is the area manager of Kekkilä-BVB China and Taiwan. Alexander knows the people and the Asian culture. The attraction is still the sense of accomplishment when he walks in a green house and connects with the growing world.
– People will still eat food and look at flowers in the future. I like the idea of an industry that will remain. It is tech and growing presumptions that changes. To develop within those areas are strong driving forces for me, Alexander says.
New ways of growing in green houses
As an Area Manager Alexander Kovachevich is travelling to China and Taiwan on a regular basis. Knowing these countries and their way of working is also a way of living. These countries are changing constantly. The attraction is knowing that the industry will remain and that the market in Asia has a great potential.
– New substrates, new ways of growing in green houses and learnings on new technology is crucial for customer success in China. That is what makes the job so interesting, Alexander says.
Knowing the growers in green houses
The job, meeting distributors in China with the aim of understanding their needs and help them sell even more is the core of the role. Knowing these people is not something you do over “a cup of coffee”. These relationships are built over time, being close and open and having the aim of achieving together.
– Managing the distributors is about knowing these guys and their business, it is also about improving our products together. New customers are also introduced by the distributors and their network. Sending samples to new customers through the distributors, is a good way of being proactive, he says.
Meeting growers is a life style
For Alexander the work contains a lot of travelling, a life he enjoys. Having a Finnish wife and a base in Finland is challenging and of course needs understanding and planning from home.
– It is a lifestyle and it is not the best with small children, but I enjoy this life and when it works I get the best of two worlds, he says.
Working at the office in Helsinki for five or six weeks at a time and then going on a two-week travel to Asia is the schedule. At the office he supports through e-mails and phone, helping with advice, tips and technical support. When travelling he is always meeting people face to face, building trust and understanding their changing needs. He always combines a visit to a distributor with a visit to a new area.
– China is a large country and the country has a great potential. Even when I am not in China, being close to the customers, is everything. I support them, are reachable and online. He is using WeChat, a Chinese phone App combining similar functions to other social media plus mobile payments, when communicating in China.
Growers is the key to new markets
For Alexander, finding new markets is an important and interesting part of the job. Exhibitions is one way of broadening the network and get to know existing customers even more. The IPM in Shanghai is a perfect example of a good way of meeting people in the industry and to get the chance to meet distributors and growers and discuss products. Now, as Kekkilä-BVB, the portfolio is broader, and the knowledge even deeper. Meeting and knowing growers in green houses and in nurseries for improving products and understanding how the presumptions changes, is vital.
The strength of being Kekkilä-BVB on new markets?
Discussing Kekkilä-BVB further and how Kekkilä-BVB is part of making value to the customer, Alexander is proud to represent a world-known brand.
– The strength is that Kekkilä-BVB now can also offer the BVB product line. And BVB is world known for its products. The same for Kekkilä, it is also world known in its segment. That is a strength. The customers feel that when they are dealing with Kekkilä-BVB, they are dealing with two very successful companies, he says.
This is how new markets and IPM give energy
Talking about motivation and energy, Alexander mentions the IPM in Shanghai, which really gives him energy. IPM is a source of inspiration, new opportunities and a possibility to push sales. To get positive news from customers and new customers and discovering commercial and technical processes.
– That is when I am at my best, he says gladly.
At last, talking about how Kekkilä-BVB contributes to a greener and sustainable world.
– Our advantage is that our substrates hold water very well, which means that the growers can irrigate less. Apart from reducing fertilizer use it is often an issue to have enough fresh water so saving water is essential. We need to eat and grow but we also need to control the total amount of water used. A big contribution to the world, he says.