East African Breweries Limited (EABL)

East African Breweries Limited (EABL)

The business of brewing...

While being a subsidiary company of the global beverage company Diageo certainly has countless benefits, East African Breweries Limited (EABL) is determined to guide its own destiny, bringing to bear its decades of experience serving its region. Having secured a number of the most popular African beer brands, the company has expanded on Diageo’s global standards and has combined this with its knowledge of local supply chains in order to deliver value for money, reduce waste and champion the countries of East Africa across all of its operations.

EABL’s range of brands covers a significant portion of the continent and consist of Kenya, Uganda and Serengeti Breweries, as well as East African Maltings, United Distillers and Vinters, and EABL International. Its brewing companies boast some of the most popular beer brands in their respective markets which include Guinness, Tusker Lager, Serengeti Premium Lager and Bell Lager.

These brands cover six East African countries which consist of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In total, these facilities directly employ roughly 1,500 people, mainly consisting of locals with a small amount of expats.

Greg Moser, Head of Logistics and Governance explains: “On any given day EABL ships out between 80,000 and 100,000 cases of beer into our markets. It’s a significant logistics operation –240 trucks a day that go through the Nairobi central depot. Production, packaging and storage all take place in one place – we have kegs, spirits, and bottled beer as well non-alcoholic products.

“Besides global reporting and KPIs we really created a changed management programme and new way of working for our markets here in Africa which allows us to compete globally with the other markets which is really exciting.”

Supply chain strategy

Although EABL owns and manages some warehousing assets, most is outsourced using third-party logistics (3PL) partners which includes global logistics solutions provider DHL. EABL is working very closely with these partners to implement Project MOVE, which will deliver an integrated, streamlined, and agile logistics network, all the way from end of packaging line to the distributor. In-line with more mature markets such as Europe, this will exploit technology to measure how well the changes are performing.

Moser explains: “We have really improved the way that we interact metrically with our 3PL partners. We bring them in to our internal standardised improvements processes – they are very much treated like one of the team. The data that we get from them is incorporated into our own; we mix their data with our SAP data, for example, to show us the insights so we can track our performance.”

EABL has a four step process to ensure best practices are deployed which consists of measuring, monitoring, managing, and subsequently making a difference to its processes. Using 52 KPIs gathered from packaging line all the way down to outlet level, the company is able to make informed decisions (backed up by a set of analytics tools) to create an atmosphere of continuous improvement.

This is all reinforced by Diageo’s Logistics Essentials training programme which aims to upskill its logistics teams, allowing them to speak a common language, standardising processes across markets, and delivering ‘best in class’ ways of working. 

EABL’s MOVE program is delivered through a number of key projects which include: network improvement and warehouse optimisation, as well as optimising its transport, customer services, procurement and by making distribution savings. Last year the program delivered £1.9 million in savings and is on track to make a further £2.9 million saving this year.

On top of saving the company a significant amount of money, the program has delivered a remarkable set of operational improvements. Palletisation of the Kenya Central Depot has rocketed from 24 percent to 85 percent in a single year; return bottle pre-sorting has soared from 65 percent to 99.9 percent. OTIFNE (on time, in full; no errors) has increased from 85.7 percent to 95.8 percent. Demurrage has also decreased by 25 percent in the past year and turnaround time at the central depot has been reduced by 33 percent.

Having such substantial operations in the region gives EABL the scope to use its scale for good in the communities it works in; this covers everything from employing, training and rewarding local workforces, investing in its 3PL partners so they can grow into regional players in their own right and also through its support of local sourcing and social programmes. Combined with its detailed business plan, the company is showing that it is possible for an African region to compete on a global scale while making a positive impact.