Experience versus the numbers

Is experience our best teacher? Student ‘Agrarian Business Administration’, Jorrit Wielenga, questioned this during his internship. In the search for new markets for Waterman Onions, he didn’t base his conclusion on the knowledge and experience of the Sales department, but on numbers and figures.

15 factors
What are the most promising export countries for Waterman Onions at this moment? That was the question he wanted to answer with his graduation research. “I made a model for this, consisting of fifteen different factors. I then assigned every factor with figures based on various studies. And purely with these figures I ultimately based my conclusions.”

He presented these conclusions to the board and the Sales department of Waterman Onions and to the graduation supervisor from his school. “Get inspired by the numbers, is my message to Waterman. Of course, I know that experience is priceless, because you cannot describe everything in numbers. However, it is important to acknowledge the numbers and take both in consideration.”

A different view
Internship supervisor Henri Hendrikse, Sales Manager at Waterman Onions, is happy with the research. “As an outsider, Jorrit has looked with a very open and different view at our company and the markets in which we operate. That is great to discover and also very valuable. This numerical research makes us more aware of things that we sometimes take for granted. For example, we have now been given an extra reason to get in contact with certain countries and we are now switching to action faster than planned.”

Speaking of numbers
Jorrit has, of course, been assessed for his thesis and has earned a big 8 out of 10. “Diploma in the pocket, although I don’t feel I’m ready for the working life yet. So, I’m going to study another year and hopefully find a job in Sales after that. Maybe at Waterman Onions. Who knows. It is a wonderful company. I would be honored!”

We are part of the Waterman team

The two brothers, Stefan and Wouter Ros, wanted a nice job with good earnings. It should not be too far from their hometown of Ens and they also wanted to learn something. And preferable not a job in a restaurant or a supermarket. It seemed an impossible mission, until they both started working at Waterman Onions.

ICT student Wouter (19): “A friend of mine already worked here and asked if it was something for me. A sweeping job didn’t sound very appealing, but when he explained what the job was all about, I wanted to give it a try. That was almost two years ago.”

Forklift drivers’ team
Wouter has been promoted and now works in the team of forklift drivers. His job as a sweeper was filled by brother Stefan (17). He, like his brother, is following an ICT study at the University of Zwolle: “When Wouter was allowed to become a forklift driver, his job became vacant. He was super enthusiastic, so I didn’t have to think twice and applied for the position.”

Both of them agree that Waterman is a good boss and they are planning to stay for a while. “It doesn’t matter that we are students at all, we are part of the Waterman team,” says Stefan. “Just like everyone else, we also have plenty of opportunities to grow. For example, I have now been trained as an operator and in this role, I am responsible for keeping a machine running. My work really matters and that makes it extra nice to work here.”

Wouter adds: “Not many side jobs give you opportunities to grow and learn. I found it very cool when I was allowed to do the training to become a forklift driver. Waterman invests in their people, student or not and we get responsibility for certain things. We are 100% team members.”

Beer and soda
Working at Waterman is not only fun, it also creates a bond. Wouter: “The colleagues have become friends. After work we also see each other a lot and we drink a beer together on Saturday evenings. Or a soda, of course. For Stefan…”

A special start

Imagine you have just started your new job and the Corona virus strikes big time. You were assigned to travel, to discover other markets and, above all, meet a lot of new people. But you are forced to stay at home for two months. It happened to Michel Veltman, Sales Manager at Waterman Onions since January 1st 2020.

“Initially it is, of course, very disappointing that you have to work at home just when you start a new position. But it offers opportunities. I was forced to do more myself and look at things a little bit differently. This actually created very nice new challenges and surprising new perspectives.”

A blessing in disguise for Michel was that he already knew the company very well. “As a sixteen-year-old student I had the best part-time job of all. I was a forklift driver at Waterman Onions. As a little boy I was often be found at my grandfather’s farm. There, as the oldest grandson, I drove the tractor at a young age. Working on the forklift truck at Waterman therefore, was a small step.”

Higher Agricultural School
After high school I started, in line with all expectations, with a study at the University of Agricultural. The opportunity to become a farmer and take over the family business was missing. Fortunately, I saw that there was so much more than being a farmer. The trade and sales attracted me and after my studies I first entered the world of seed potatoes. An interesting world in which I’ve enjoyed working in. But it was time to take a next step. In this world of onions, I see a lot of opportunities and possibilities. I can’t wait to go and get them.”

The Corona virus did not only leave a big mark on the daily work of the 27-year-old sales manager who is born and raised in Emmeloord. “My girlfriend and I were supposed to get married this spring and unfortunately we had to cancel that. But, it is a delay and certainly not a cancellation. Because that party is sure to come!”

Would you like to meet Michel? michel@waterman-onions.nl!

Much safer. More efficient.

“A logical flow in our process,” that is, according to Waterman Onions production manager Arjan Dunnewind, the result of the installation of the new machine in Hall #3. “The new big bag receiving machine not only makes the unloading process safer, but also a lot more efficient. In addition, the machine ensures cleanliness in the factory and a lot less headaches.”

“Previously it took both an enormous amount of work and space to first store the arriving big bags filled with onions, then pick them up again to place them on the conveyor belt that made sure that the onions were put in storage boxes. Now the big bag is placed directly from the sea container on a chain conveyor, after which the big bag unloader takes over.

One of the positive results is less forklift traffic and less lifting movements. The empty boxes are now supplied from a special storage. This storage is, on its turn, filled from the machine which semi-automatically loads the trucks in bulk. This way our smart logistics planning ensures that we minimize unnecessary driving around with empty boxes.”

Smart solution
The idea for this machine with conveyor belts and fully automatic control, came several years ago when the factory was expanded with a third hall. “Because of the extra space that our Hall #3 provides, we started thinking about smarter solutions for this process. We started calculating, together with VHM-Machinery and Tolsma-Grisnich, and came up with this complete and custom made solution.”

Safe and efficient
“It’s a great example of cooperation, if I say so myself. But above all, it’s another step towards an even safer and more efficient process. A process that we are continuously optimizing. We are incredibly satisfied and are looking forward to the next step!”

Quality is our standard

Waterman Onions Quality Manager Wilco Besuijen

He has never learned as much as he did during his first year at Waterman Onions. These are the words of Waterman Onions Quality Manager Wilco Besuijen. Quality is what it is all about in his daily activities. “It is my job to select the most beautiful and the best onions. Every day again.”

Good coordination is the most important term of control, says Wilco: “Our morning meeting is extremely important. Every morning I sit around the table with my colleagues of our Sales, Purchasing and Production departments for half an hour. We discuss what is going on as we speak and what is to come. We make schedules and coordinate the right parties. This way we make sure we have the most efficient (production) process we can realize. ”

Quality control
However, there is more. As soon as a trailer is ready to unload, we immediately check the quality of all incoming loads. “I take samples and enter the results in our system. I have close contact with the relevant purchaser and they consult the supplier.”

Figures play a major role. But checking onions is also about seeing and feeling. “I do my rounds not only in our production hall and our warehouse, but our buyers also often check the batches at the growers warehouse. It is extremely important to match the supply to the type of order that is currently requested. After all, the best quality control is still the one which is done with your own eyes. This allows me to immediately see whether the onion has the right quality. Or not.”

High standard
Waterman Onions has a high standard. This is not only shown by the quality controls that Wilco performs, but also from the various certifications that the company has been awarded with. “The BRC, in the field of food safety, is the most important in our view. We have achieved the highest scores for this in recent years. And that is a great compliment for the entire company.”

However this does not mean that Wilco can rest and lean back. His profession is always on the move. There are always (new) challenges. That is what makes this job so much fun, he says. “There are no books, there are no schools or courses. I learned the tricks of the trade in practice. The first six months I followed Wim (Waterman, co-director / owner) everywhere around. I was where he was. Simply to get to know all facets of the company as well as possible. I have asked countless questions and, above all, I looked carefully, paid attention and stored all that information.”

The fundament of his work lies in knowing the company well. Knowing who does what, maintaining contact with everyone and indicating the consequences of certain actions. “Every department contributes to the quality of our final product, the Waterman onion. No one excepted. My job is to let my colleagues know that. Fortunately, everyone is aware of this. We are a team and our teamwork ensures that the high Waterman quality is and will remain high!”

A new ride

Our forkliftdriver Ellis had the scoop: a first round in our new Linde ride!

This 3.0 ton forklift has a battery with a quick charger, which saves a lot of space, costs and specially time.

Simply plug it in, charge it and go.

Selling onions seeds

Planting onion seeds is and always will be something we do by following our gut feeling. Simply because of the fact that nobody has a perfect script. What is wisdom? That is the question. And the answer is only to be found at the end of the season, when we efficiently harvest our onions.

But. What we do know in advance, is that with the purchase of the right seeds we increase the chance of a good start. That is why Waterman Onions founded the online store: uienzaadonline.nl.

Excellent in the world of onions
Our drive is to be excellent in the world of Onions. With uienzaadonline.nl we contribute in realising that. Our goal is simple. Achieving an even higher quality of the Dutch onion by selecting the right and best varieties of onion seed, providing the grower with tailor-made advice, by creating transparency on the market and thus guaranteeing a good price.

When it comes to onions. We have more than 20 years of experience. We have a large network and a great deal of know-how. We are happy to share all this with the Dutch growers in addition to our purchasing, sorting and selling onions.

The Corona affects us all

Whether we like it or not, these are bizarre times and the Corona virus affects us all. As always, our first priority is the health of our employees, customers. suppliers and our environment. Nothing will change that. Certainly not now.

But other things will change. No doubt about that. Only we simply don’t know what will change and when. What we do know is that we are doing our very best to continue doing our work in the way that you are used from us.

Of course we already have taken a number of measures to prevent the spread of the virus. We follow the news closely and adjust these measurements if necessary.

Finally. There is one thing that we do know for sure, and that is that we’ll get through this together. Let’s help each other. Let’s take good care of each other. Stay strong. Stay safe.

On behalf of the Waterman Onions team,
Wim and Erik Waterman

Export check, check, double check

From time to time the colleagues from our Sales department visit our customers worldwide. After all, nothing beats personal contact.

A nice side effect during these trips is the export check that we can do on site. We know that our onions leave Emmeloord in the right way because then we are in charge and have full control. But if they arrive well, we can only assume.

That is why we pay sufficient attention to this. Like our Sales manager Pieter did in Brazil last week. He visited the port of Rio de Janeiro with our local contacts to see with his own eyes how our Waterman onions in the future will be neatly unloaded and delivered to the customers as agreed and on time.

Doing what you promise and keeping your agreements. That is what we stand for. This means doing a check, check and double check every day. Not only with regards to our own work. All steps from us to the customers count. Only this way we can guarantee our promised quality. And moreover, a personal visit is simply so much more fun than an email or phone call!

An impression of Berlin


A small impression of three great exhibition days at the Fruit Logistica in Berlin.

We have had coffee with many old acquaintances and met new ones. Trade show days are always busy days, but they give you so much energy.

After all, our business is simply the best there is!