With solid plans to grow nationally, the HEINEKEN Group invests in manufacturing capacity, logistical excellence, digitization and sustainability
Operating in Brazil for over a decade, with more than 13,000 employees and 15 production units in the country, HEINEKEN Group is the second largest player in the Brazilian beer market. The company has units spread across 11 Brazilian states, including 12 breweries, two micro breweries and a concentrate unit for soft drinks. It recently announced an investment of more than $190.5 million to expand its breweries and an additional $343 million to build a new plant in the city of Pedro Leopoldo, in the state of Minas Gerais.
As part of its strategy for the future, the company has solid plans to continue growing in the premium and mainstream beer segments in Brazil, to ensure an increasingly profitable and sustainable business. According to Daniel de Oliveira, Logistics Officer of the HEINEKEN Group, the recent redesign of the distribution agreement with the Coca-Cola System, in addition to digital transformation projects and sustainability goals, including the neutralization of carbon emissions, is part of the Company's long-term vision for the country. “The new agreement with the Coca-Cola System will undoubtedly benefit our customers and consumers by launching even more quality products on the market. In logistics, we have set a goal to increase the presence of electric trucks in our national distribution fleet, contributing to our sustainability goals”, explained the executive. The purpose of the project called “Drop the C” is to reduce the environmental impact of the logistics chain and a gradual expansion expected until 2040.
As a member of the HEINEKEN Group for six years, Oliveira remembers the challenges when he was still on the integration team for the acquisition of the former Brasil Kirin. “The capillarity and strength of the old company's distribution system has always caught my attention. The great challenge at that time was to unify the culture of both companies and, with that, to establish our focus”.
In the Transport area, dedicated exclusively to Distribution Centers, different technologies are currently being used and tested. Oliveira, who is directly responsible for the team, says proudly: “This year our systems will be already learning which are the best routes, real waiting times and delivery for each customer, among other data. This will guarantee continuous improvement through information technology systems”. Also according to the executive, by the end of 2021, the electric forklift fleet will be doubled in distribution centers.
The distribution area also is assisted by the global headquarters, which support different operations, providing technical subsidies while devising major global strategies and establishing a benchmark between different regions that show similar distribution characteristics.
“A recent example of this was the creation of centers of excellence to address, for example, issues related to security in internal movement in warehouses on a global scale", summarizes Oliveira.
Supplier development program
Aiming at developing suppliers and logistics partners for freight, one of the biggest highlights in recent years is the Carrier Excellence Program, which is part of the Primary Distribution division. In Secondary Distribution, Oliveira highlights the “Heineken Formula”, a program that establishes conditions of excellence for Logistics Operators, annually recognizing outstanding performances nationwide.
With the evolution based on three pillars: continuous improvement, development of processes and people, investment in security, people and programs have always been priorities. The company implemented a major project with the purpose of developing its employees and identifying the most appropriate positions for each person, considering their skills, career goals and diversity aspects. In March of this year, the HEINEKEN Group announced the goal of reaching 50% of women in leadership positions by 2026, which will also be reflected in the Logistics area. “We have organized six committees with the attendance of more than forty people from all regions of the country, from different seniorities and areas of expertise. I am sure that this program will boost the development and diversity of our logistics talents in the coming years”, said Oliveira.
Additionally, there’s also progress in the Digital department with the implementation of machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies to improve productivity and the quality of delivery to points of sale.
The robust history of HEINEKEN Group's social projects on several fronts includes partnerships with NGOs, startups and other companies aiming at promoting social well-being. In this regard, Oliveira stated: “Respect for people and the planet is our main value, since we believe that investing in the country goes beyond creating jobs and contributing to the economic activity.”
Since 2019, the company has maintained a partnership with Brazil Beer Institute (Instituto da Cerveja Brasil - ICB), with the purpose of democratizing knowledge of beer in the country. “With the support of Leandro Sequelle, social educator and founder of Graja Beer, a craft brewery on the outskirts of São Paulo, we created the beer training program for residents of the periphery”, stated the executive. The main purpose of this project is to make knowledge of brewery a gateway to job opportunities in the sector. More than 30 classes in total will graduate by 2023 and 50% of the job openings should be filled with women from Brazilian peripheries.
“We have also sponsored an initiative focused on the circular economy, in partnership with Startup SO+MA and with the local government of the city of Salvador (state of Bahia)”, added the executive. SO+MA Vantagens was organized in 2020 and acts as a completely free incentive program in which registered people score according to the recyclable material they deliver, such as PET bottles, aluminum cans, plastic, iron, paper, cardboard, glass and used oil. Participants accumulate points that can be exchanged for various services, such as professional courses, medical examinations, basic food and hygiene products.
Impacts of the pandemic
Last year, the HEINEKEN Group directed efforts on mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Company considered taking care of its personnel as a priority and therefore, implemented a series of support actions for employees and their families. These actions included the immediate work leave of people belonging to the risk group and access to a Health team available 24 hours a day.
To support society and business partners, several initiatives and unprecedented partnerships have emerged. For example, 16 thousand liters of alcohol originated from breweries were donated to Unilever and transformed into hand sanitizers to support the hygiene routine of families in socially vulnerable communities all over Brazil.
The “Brinde do Bem”(Gift of Good) action also helped bars and restaurants across Brazil to face the enormous challenge posed by social distancing. In total, the initiative transferred more than $3 million to more than seven thousand bars. “Bars and restaurants are crucial for the Brazilian economy and for our Company. For this reason, we help our customers in all the countries in which we operate”, completes Oliveira.
The Company also donated $850,000, which was doubled by the National Social Development Bank (BNDES), totaling $1.7 million, for the opening of four oxygen plants in the country, in addition to donating equipment and IPE for 40 philanthropic hospitals in critical condition. “We allocated the sponsorship budget of Rock in Rio, which has been postponed, for this important action”, explains Oliveira.
Graduated in Electrical Engineering from Universidade Estadual do Rio de Janeiro, Daniel de Oliveira admits that, since an early age, he knew that his career would be more focused on business than related to a purely technical or specialized vision of the college certificate.
Following this prediction, his education did not stop there. First, he got a post-graduate degree in Business Management from IBMEC (Brazilian Institute of Capital Markets); then an MBA in Finance from INSPER (Institute of Education and Research); a continuing education course in Logistics and Supply Chain from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); as well as a course on Omnichannel and Trade Marketing at Fundação Getúlio Vargas. “And this year I am starting a new MBA in Digital Business at Universidade de São Paulo - USP”, added Oliveira.
Throughout this path, the Logistics Officer has carried a respected background, having worked for TV Globo, AB-Inbev - where his knowledge and experience with logistics matured -, L’Oréal and, for the past six years, for the HEINEKEN Group.
“My main award is to be able to build great teams in this Company and to be able to see them grow both personally and professionally, in an inclusive and collaborative work environment, where everyone has the psychological security to express an opinion and positively contribute to our result”, concludes Oliveira.