My Work

Rijk Zwaan is a vegetable breeding company and seed producer based in The Netherlands with subsidiaries located over the entire world. The firm maintains its position as one of the top international companies in this field through constant research, innovation and investment and a unique company culture.

I've been involved with the company for most of the last decade, firstly as an employee and later hired in to work on a number of interesting projects. One of these projects involved adding major new analysis functionality to an in-house application based on a SQL Server database.

In the past, large datasets containing test results were analyzed by hand to identify the most efficient and cheapest ways to repeat the tests while guaranteeing test consistency. This was a long-drawn out process, taking sometimes days at a time, and had to be carried out by specialists with deep experience & knowledge of the test materials and be repeated regularly. As such, the process was ripe for automation.

The Rijk Zwaan Research & Development Centre, Fijnaart, Noord-Brabant (foto: Rijk Zwaan)

I spent several days with the experts at the Rijk Zwaan Research & Development Centre in Fijnaart where we boiled the analysis process down to a consistent series of actions that needed to be applied in all cases. After that, I translated these steps into the SQL Server and VBA objects needed to repeat the procedure. I then updated the MS Access-based desktop application to reflect and make use of the new functionality. The revised application was tested by RZ staff, and after some fixes and improvements was accepted for production use early in 2010. The analysis process now takes just a couple of minutes at most to complete for even the largest datasets and is fully automated. Additional functionality added since then has expanded the range of possibilities for these calculations and their ease of use in the application UI.

To guarantee the quality of the processes in our laboratory, we have to be able to rely upon an efficient and trustworthy database. Rijk Zwaan thanks 360Data for the pleasant co-operation and the implementation of an excellent customized product.

Bartjan van den Broek, Technical Analyst Molecular Biology