Update: Waterman Grean

A while back, we told you about the implementation of the Lean method in how we work at Waterman Onions. At Waterman, we call it ‘Grean’: a playful reference to our agricultural roots. Time for an update…

Since the last newsletter, we’ve completed a lot of training and we’ve started work on several improvement processes. But it hasn’t been easy. At Waterman Onions, we’ve always been solutions-oriented, and we’ve noticed that it’s difficult to let go of that mentality. It’s required a whole new way of thinking. We have to learn to let go of ‘the problem’ and start looking for the source. Then we can set goals and assess and analyse the situation. Once we’ve done that, we can look for the underlying causes, and only when we’re convinced that we’ve found it can we start thinking about solutions. In the Grean method, solutions come in all shapes and sizes. The challenge is to find one that prevents the problem from ever occurring again. That’s difficult, but definitely not impossible.

To give just one example: the Waterman Onions small packaging machines are now equipped with an updated system to ensure that the rolls of packaging film can’t be installed the wrong way around. In the past, that caused wastage in the form of packaging downtime or damaged rolls. But now, thanks to Grean, we’ve found an extremely effective solution.

And thanks to Grean Waterman Onions has learned that the power of the solution lies in doing and working together. Teamwork is extremely important to us. In our activities, driven by supply and demand, we have to act quickly and know that we can rely on each other. Every morning at 09:00, all of the departments come together in the cafeteria to discuss the results on the boards. That way, everyone can see what we’ve done, and what we still have to do. Although it can be difficult not to fall back on old habits, we all do our best to learn something new. And we do it together!

We’ve also achieved success in areas such as electricity conservation, cleaning time and productivity, and we’ll talk about them more in a future newsletter.

Photo: Operator (Natalia) changes a roll of packaging film.

Onions yearn for the sun!

This season’s Dutch onions are already in the ground. Uienzaadonline.nl has experienced some amazing growth since last year. Growers are excited about the concept, and with the short lines of communications we’ve experienced a fruitful and comprehensive collaboration. 

The sowing conditions were generally good this year, especially compared to the past few years. The soil structure was promising, and the onion seeds were sown into firm, moist earth. That will allow the seeds to germinate quickly, and it should hopefully provide a good harvest.

“The seeds need warmth above ground to sprout, but that’s lacking at the moment. And the amount of precipitation has been extremely uneven across the country”, says Nathan Rommens, buyer at Waterman Onions. Jelmer Elzinga, also a Waterman buyer, expects a good harvest: “Some fields still haven’t sprouted, but the number of seeds that have germinated so far seems promising.”

Would you like us to come visit? The buyers at Waterman Onions would be happy to come see your fields during the growing season! Jelmer Elzinga +31 (0)6-82537293 | Nathan Rommens +31 (0)6-30002712