Wednesday 21 October, 2020

Digital technology gives Red Stripe manufacturing strategy major push

Jerome McGregor, manager for total productivity management at Red Stripe.

Jerome McGregor, manager for total productivity management at Red Stripe.

With the need to adapt quickly to new operational norms brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Jamaican manufacturer Red Stripe, says building digital capacity over time has helped the company to pivot faster and craft a crisis-resilient business strategy.

Severe disruptions to global supply chains have thrown whole industries off kilter, with many organizations struggling to balance the health and social wellbeing of their workforce with the growing need for operational efficiency.

According to Red Stripe’s manager for total productivity management (TPM) Jerome McGregor, digital technology has been a key element of the company's success.

“A huge part of the reason we were able to so easily integrate COVID-19 health protocols was because we already took steps to establish a dynamic operational framework. Over the past few years we have invested in digital technology solutions that are extremely compatible with the emerging culture of the low-touch economy. Through extensive training programmes, and a reward and recognition system, our employees have been exposed to a new way of thinking that integrates them into this innovative workflow process. At the heart of this approach was the One2Improve app implemented by the organization,” noted McGregor.

Launched by the HEINEKEN Company across its breweries worldwide, One2Improve provides Red Stripe employees at the Spanish Town Road plant with the tools needed to optimize the production process.

With each employee downloading the app to their smart devices, resolving maintenance inefficiencies and generating a database for more informed decision-making became hallmarks of the company’s strategy.

“The success of all our efforts simply boils down to employee buy in,” explained McGregor. “People have to be inspired to see themselves and their actions as vital to the success of the larger entity. This, when paired with One2Improve, brought on a host of favourable results.” Among those McGregor listed were significant cost reductions, process simplification, greater capacity for accountability and reinforced adaptability among their employees.

“The results became incentives for our staff to use this new way of doing business to strengthen compliance with on-site COVID-19 health protocols—flagging violations and responding with effective interventions became our second nature,” said McGregor.

The International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, has stressed the growing need for strategic leadership that fortifies supply chain resilience during and beyond the COVID-19 era. With such positive results from Red Stripe’s business strategy, the company seems to be heading in the right direction.

“Our aim has been to not only overcome COVID-19 obstacles, but to use the situation as an opportunity to look towards the future of business continuity,” shared Luis Prata, managing director at Red Stripe. “We have to be intentional and thoughtful about catering to the most  vulnerable stakeholders throughout our value chain, while also taking care of those closest to home. Our responsiveness to these unprecedented times ought to inspire other manufacturers to take heed of industry best practices that can safeguard the success of the business ecosystem, which in turn, safeguards the economies within which we operate.”

Red Stripe is promoting a high performance culture in tandem with One2Improve and other such solutions to further expand their manufacturing capacity.

“Currently, One2Improve is being used exclusively for tagging procedures, data inventory and COVID-19 compliance,” mentioned McGregor. “In the near future however, we hope to further streamline the app to operate across other aspects of the manufacturing process, supplementing our various types of auditing tools and processes. As it stands, Red Stripe is ahead of regional manufacturers in phasing in this novel approach—a feat we could not have achieved without our highly empowered workforce.”

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