Waterman Onions Digitises Its Logistics Operations with Zebra Technologies

Dutch onion producer deploys a suite of Zebra devices and software to process 11,000 crates and manage 150,000 tonnes of onions

UTRECHT, Netherlands – March 21, 2023 – Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: ZBRA), an innovator at the front line of business with solutions and partners that deliver a performance edge, today announced that global onion producer Waterman Onions BV has digitised its logistics operations to gain constant visibility of its fast-paced distribution of 150,000 tonnes of onions globally each year.

Netherlands-based Waterman Onions grows, sorts, and sells onions to customers, retailers, wholesalers, processing facilities and peeling companies, who consider them among the world’s best. The onions meet high food safety certification requirements and quality standards. The company has expanded from one production hall with 20 employees to three halls with over 100 employees.

Waterman Onions had manual processes for managing incoming loads and orders, validating product quality and onward logistics. Drivers were using paper-based instructions for unloading and on busy days, over 30 truckloads needed unpacking quickly. Onions were sorted by machine or stored as ‘stock field crop,’ but the company couldn’t accurately track if these were delivered correctly. Also, paperwork had increased due to stricter food safety regulations and quality controls.

“We realised we needed an agile, paperless, and digitised solution for its order management and logistics processes,” said Jurrien van den Berg, IT Manager, Waterman Onions. “To protect our brand, ensure consumer safety and achieve even higher customer satisfaction, we needed insight into all onions and across the entire supply chain.”

The company implemented a bespoke warehouse management system (WMS) for storage and processing, but a WMS is only as good as its data. Waterman Onions needed a complementary labelling and scanning solution for the 11,000 crates and cages used to transport and process onions across its facility. Zebra partner Actemium recommended Zebra rugged mobile computers on the Android™ platform along with barcode scanners, tablets, industrial label printers and a mobile device management solution suited to a dusty environment, regular knocks, drops and prolonged periods of usage.  

“We’ve built our long-term mobile device strategy around Android, and the warehouse team is delighted with their new devices, telling me they’re intuitive, robust and reliable,” said van den Berg. “The scanner can read faint, scratched, or compromised barcodes, and with its extended range, drivers save valuable seconds when scanning barcodes directly from their cab. The printer is robust, and the print quality ensures that the tracking labels are clear and remain fixed to crates.”

Forklift truck cabs are each fitted with a docking station that houses a Zebra DS3608-ER ultra-rugged barcode scanner and XSlate L10 tablet, allowing drivers to scan barcodes even when they are poor quality, from over 20 meters away. The scanners’ longer range enables use directly from the forklift, and the mounted tablet means drivers can view and manage orders from their cab seats. A MC3300 rugged mobile Android computer is used for inventory checks while a ZT411 industrial printer installed at the inbound dock creates barcode labels, helping ensure accurate visibility throughout the processing stages.

A services package provides support over the devices planned lifecycle, including the Zebra Mobility DNA™ suite of software, utilities and apps to deploy, secure and optimise Zebra mobile devices. Additionally, LifeGuard™ for Android delivers security updates while Zebra OneCare Essential™ Support and Service provides next-day device replacement.

“Warehousing leaders like Waterman Onions are giving themselves a competitive edge with technology solutions to digitise and manage complexity at scale, benefitting their front-line workers and customers,” said Daniel Dombach, Director EMEA Industry Solutions, Zebra Technologies. “Frequently, I’m seeing warehousing operators from different sectors tackling their challenges head-on with the right partners to support their digital automation journey.”

Waterman Onions has plans for other parts of its operations to achieve complete process visibility. With the new solution collecting huge amounts of data, the company will collaborate with Actemium to leverage artificial intelligence to support ongoing operational improvements.


  • Waterman Onions needed to digitise its operations to gain inventory visibility and accuracy, meet customer demand, and comply with increased regulations.  
  • It chose a comprehensive warehouse solution from Zebra and Actemium to efficiently process the 11,000 crates and cages used to manage 150,000 tonnes of onions globally each year.
  • To learn more, read the case study.



Zebra (NASDAQ: ZBRA) empowers organizations to thrive in the on-demand economy by making every front-line worker and asset at the edge visible, connected and fully optimized. With an ecosystem of more than 10,000 partners across more than 100 countries, Zebra serves customers of all sizes – including 86% of the Fortune 500 – with an award-winning portfolio of hardware, software, services and solutions that digitize and automate workflows. Supply chains are more dynamic, customers and patients are better served, and workers are more engaged when they utilize Zebra innovations that help them sense, analyze and act in real time.  Zebra recently expanded its industrial automation portfolio with its Fetch Robotics acquisition and increased its machine vision and AI software capabilities with the acquisitions of Adaptive Vision, antuit.ai and Matrox Imaging. Zebra is #42 on Newsweek’s list of America’s 100 Most Loved Workplaces, #42 on Fast Company’s list of the Best Workplaces for Innovators and #79 on Forbes’ list of America’s 500 Best Midsize Employers. Learn more at www.zebra.com or sign up for news alerts. Follow Zebra’s Your Edge blog, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, and check out our Story Hub: Zebra Perspectives.

Media Contact:
Tracey Wong 
Zebra Technologies 
+44 7900 933869   

Industry Analyst Contact:
Kasia Fahmy
Zebra Technologies

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