This is an interview with Jean Roeleveld from R&S Tissue Culture Laboratories in South Africa, one of the first IVS clients outside of Europe. In 2006 Invitrosoft received the request of Jean Roeleveld for a lab software, the adventure did start for both sides, because at these times the software Invitrosoft and the people behind, Bettina and Andreas Schlegel, were only active at the European market. Also, Jean and Saska Roeleveld started the lab from scratch.
Jean Roeleveld and his wife Saskia are the founders of R&S Tissue Culture Laboratories in Riversdale, South Africa. Located at the feet of the Sleeping Beauty, a mountain chain along the famous Garden Route, they run the laboratory since 2005. From the beginning the tissue culture production was growing fast and Jean and Saska had soon to extend their lab building. In 2011 a “younger sister” has been established in The Netherlands, called R & S Holland, to be closer on their clients in the EU.
Both, Jean and Saska Roeleveld run and manage the daily business at R&S in South Africa and together they have more than 25 years of experience in tissue culture plants.
In this interview Jean Roeleveld speaks about the early beginning with Invitrosoft until present time and the experience of using IVS as lab management software.
Dear Mr Roeleveld,
At first we would like to know the former starting situation.
How many plants were produced at this time?
“Almost nothing. When we started we just started with only a few plants in another laboratory where we used the facility. This was while they were busy building our small lab (200 m2). We had only a few 1000’s plants in that lab when we started with Invitrosoft. They even installed the program before we had the lab finished and production ready.“
And how many different varieties of plants were produced in TC?
“We had ca. 30 different varieties when we started. “
What have been your most important requirements for lab software?
“Mix up free, easy to work system with a proper planning program.“
How long did you search for software which fit your needs and how could Invitrosoft convince you to have the proper solution for you ?
"We were searching for a planning system / registration program for quite a while. Problem at that stage was that there were not many on the market for specific tissue culture companies. Via a contact and a promotion newsletter from Invitrosoft I got hold of Bettina and Andreas and the options of Invitrosoft and started the negotiations."
Why does this product have been chosen?
“That was what we wanted to have as it had all the models we needed for our production system. Invitrosoft also have the option of adding on to your basic system, which was a big benefit for us starting small. We add on new models as the lab got bigger.“
What IVS software version has been implemented?
“The first one they had at that time. IVS version 3.5"
About installing and starting working with the IVS Software: How long did it take? How was it like?
“Andreas and Bettina were both in South Africa. They installed the program in the time they were here. It was quick as we did not had a lot of plants etc. The set up was very small. It was very nice as they helped us to learn the program. We did not had any other system already running as we started directly in Invitrosoft. This was a big benefit as you start directly in the final system you use. We did not had an old system we need to change etc. We grow with Invitrosoft from day 1. So also my employees.“
You have worked from the beginning with a professional database instead of a spreadsheet?
“Yes from day 1. It was one of the most important aspects of having a lab with so many different varieties. Without a proper registration / database program you cannot have a proper lab. The planning and registration – workflow in the lab is the heart of your lab. Have that covered in a proper way, covers 80% of your work.“
Would you say that it is beneficial to work with a professional database right from the start?
“It is not only a benefit is it is must!”
What can you say about being remote supported though the IVS crew since the software got installed?
“It works very well. If you have a problem they can fix it very fast and easy via the remote support. Saves you a lot of money as well. They can also see directly where the problem is and fix it directly on your system. No transferring of data etc. No traveling and waiting for somebody to come and fix your system. While you are stuck with production.“
What is the current situation?
For many years we are working with IVS now. The South African laboratory “R&S South Africa (Pty) Ltd” is using the network version IVS Pro and additional modules for production planning and losses / deliveries. Since 2012 the laboratory “R&S Holland BV” is working with IVS Start, a single workstation version.
How many plants are produce annually?
“We are currently producing ca. 3 million plants annually and have extent to a 1200 m2 lab building.“
How many different varieties of plants are produced in the lab?
“We have over 200 different species and more than 1200 different varieties in the lab which are produced.“
Mr. Roeleveld, thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions and for sharing your experience with IVS! We from Invitrosoft are looking forward to continuing our successful and trusting collaboration with the R&S Tissue Culture Laboratories group.
The development of “R&S Tissue Culture Laboratories” is very impressive. When they started with IVS, they produced only a few 1000 plants in 30 different varieties. Today they are currently producing 3 million plants annually, more than 1200 different varieties and over 200 different species.