A conversation with Arian Vos, owner/entrepreneur of Vos Onions.
Arian Vos of Vos Onions in Veen, a village in the south of The Netherlands, has been a valued customer of Manter since 1997. Over the years, he has purchased several weighing- and packingmachines for weighing and packaging onions. We spoke to Arian by phone.
Can you start by telling something about your business?
“We specialize in sorting and packaging onions. We buy these fresh onions from the growers, straight from the land and unsorted,” says Arian. Ten years ago, Vos Onions settled in the southern region of The Netherlands. The company sorts and packs onions for a group of regular exporters. “The onions are topped (ed. remove the foliage), sorted by size and dried if necessary. Finally, the onions are carefully packed for export,” explains Arian. The share of export on the total world production of onions is only 7 to 8 percent. In volume, this concerns 6 to 7 million tons of onions that are traded through export. With an annual export volume of over 1 million tons, the Netherlands is one of the most important export countries for onions.
It is Manter’s 25th anniversary, how long have you been in business?
“Our company was founded in 1955. My grandfather started out as a greengrocer, door-to-door,” tells Arian. Around 1990 Vos Onions made the shift to focus on onions only. “We are a real family business, I am the 3rd generation.” In recent years, the company has invested in modernizing its machinery and will continue to focus on further automation in the coming years.
So who’s your customer?
“Mostly “office-exporters”. Exporters who only have an office in the Netherlands. Most of it eventually goes to foreign markets, like the street markets in Africa,” explains Arian. The majority of the onions are purchased on the free market through commission agents. Vos Onions packs the onions according to the customer’s requirements. The onions are packed from 5 kilograms up to 25 kg bags, big bags or crates.
How did you end up with Manter?
“In 1997 Jaap van der Sar suggested Manter as a replacement for our former weighing machine. So this was really in the early years of Manter, ” continues Arian. Jaap van der Sar, founder of Sarco Packaging & Equipment, started his career in the world of packaging with Manter in Emmen. Since then he still represents Manter. “We chose Manter at the time because we gave away far too many kilos with the machines we worked with back then. Those machines weighed very inaccurately and the result was unreliable,” mentions Arian. The Manter machines have been specifically developed to combine speed and accuracy.
Please tell us about the Manter machines you have?
“The first Manter machine we bought was a 10 bucket weigher with small buckets (ed. the M10). My father immediately saw that this machine was more accurate, because the fully stacked pallets were 20 centimeters lower than before. Only then did we see what we have been giving away all this time!” The give away percentage due to unreliable weighing results is not insignificant. Manter weighing machines are developed with a focus on capacity and accurate weighing. In addition, the machines are built very robustly so that they continue to function accurately under all circumstances. “We now have two weighers, three packers and a crate filler. After a year we replaced our 10 bucket weigher for a 10 bucket weiging machine with large buckets (ed. the M10 L). With this the capacity improved again. In 2010 we bought two 12 bucket weighing machines (ed. theMD12). We have the MBP and SAB, what do you call them nowadays?”Arian refers to the AutoPack, a packaging machine for burlap, mesh and paper bags. The bags are automatically placed under the filling opening and are automatically filled and closed.
How happy are you with your Manter purchase?
“The machines are great, there is no question. We don’t want another brand.” Arian explains that the machines are very user-friendly and low-maintenance. “Being able to quickly and easily change the defined target weight is a great advantage. Furthermore, the machines must be easy to clean and well protected, as a lot of dust is released during the handling of onions.” Arian does not exclude further automation. “Lastly, Manter listens to our needs and in case of malfunctions we can always rely on them to provide fast and good service,” says Arian.
We thank Arian Vos and wish him and Vos Onions much success for the future!
Interview by Cindy van der Pal