THE SWEET TASTE OF SUCCESS
Over the past decade Africa has proven to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world and not just for minerals and natural resources, but also innovation and strong ideals. Many brands enjoyed on a world-wide basis have their manufacturing hubs in the cradle of life.
Endeavour Magazine speaks with Kraft Food’s Integrated Supply Chain Director South Central and East Africa, Johan Van Zyl about the new developments that have been catching people’s attention and getting their taste buds going. Kraft Foods is the world’s second largest food company, employing over 3800 staff members from 10 operations in Sub-Saharan Africa with a foot print that includes Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Botswana, Swaziland and South Africa. Specializing in chocolate, candy, gum, biscuits, coffee and grocery products and standing as one of Kraft Foods Inc. priority markets it has significantly contributed to the growth
of this emerging marketplace. In 2010 it took on the Cadbury portfolio which provided a strong boost for its African presence and has since then not allowed its standards to drop with enhanced employee training and project direction. There are many changes happening at the moment, Johan Van Zyl has recently changed his position in the company from manufacturing director to Integrated Supply Chain Director, “I am in accountable for integrating the supply chain from supplier to shelf,” he says, “This falls in line with our strategy to integrate the supply chain to improve supply chain responsiveness and overall effectiveness.”
In a company as diverse and forward thinking as Kraft we can only focus on a handful of projects at a time. There is an ambitious programme to upgrade the capacity, productivity and sustainability of all the company’s manufacturing facilities and South and West Africa have seen some of the most noticeable developments in recent times. “We are excited about our developments in Port Elizabeth, South Africa as the new chocolate lines are up and running,” he says confidently, “And in West Africa a major packaging investment was commissioned successfully. We are entering into a second investment phase to upgrade processing
capacity/capability in Lagos which will be online at the end of 2013”. The scope of these developments is impressive, with $50 million being invested in the Lagos (Nigeria) to develop manufacturing lines for Bournvita, a powdered chocolate brand that when water or milk is added becomes a simply heavenly treat for adults and children alike. A sure winner if ever there was. Buying the best equipment is not enough, “You can’t just buy the best machinery, plug it in and expect it to change anything,” he explains, “While developing capability with
K&F Industries specialises in the manufacturing of a variety of extruded cereals, mueslis, biscuits and wafer products. We are FSSC 22 000 certified, Sedex approved (Ethical Sourcing) and a BBBEE Level 2 Contributor 125% Recognition Proudly supplying Cadbury SA, for more than 23 years, now known as Kraft Foods. We are proud to be an approved global supplier to Kraft Foods and look forward to our future partnership together.
technology is fundamental to success, you have to leverage equipment through up-skilling staff.” Johan is a man who recognizes that change at shopfloor level is the foundation of sustainable success in this environment. “We must make use of our technology and the investment programme to implement specific business processes that will sustain our plants and upgrade the skills and capabilities of those who
operate them in a process-driven manner. Developing the skills of the people we employ is a core business process to us, not simply an intervention.” Employee training is therefore imperative and this starts at an educational level, “We employ expatriate managers who are given a specific mandate to nurture and bring on local skills. Africa isn’t like India or China where there is a high number of skilled workers,” Johan tells us, “The education system in Africa is largely under developed and we have to address the skills shortage very seriously in order to succeed.” Translated theoretical knowledge into actual understanding is an important step in the process of developing an employee to the level of standard required by Kraft; this is approached with a methodology to address what is needed in an employee, such as competencies, responsibilities and expectations. By clearly establishing what is required of each employee and we can then train them accordingly,” A common challenge with many companies operating with such a far-reaching footprint as Kraft, who’s African operations expand three time zones, include taking into consideration the infrastructure of road, rail and water delivery of product which do not follow a single mandated standard as one would find in Europe. Coastal infrastructures have shown marked improvements but goods cannot be transported from East to West across central Africa where the political turmoil and under-development of the vast tracts of land within the borders of the DRC currently represent an
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insurmountable barrier. Shipping goods by sea around the continent is a journey of many thousands of miles and means contending with the threat of Somali pirates. Suez Canal is an alternative but this is congested, costly and far from well placed to serve the rest of the continent. African leaders have agreed to launch negotiations to create a free trade zone that would integrate these three overlapping trade pacts, but it will be several years before these plans come to fruition. When they do it will create a trade block of 26 countries with a combined economy estimated at several hundred billion. This will enhance the connectivity and lower the costs of doing business in Africa. For now, Kraft must manage the challenges of transporting product from one country to another in a scenario that is not straight forward at all thanks to trade laws between countries that simply do not match up. Political and social differences have a profound difference on their approaches. Nigerian processing is more for the domestic market while Ghanaian enjoys a freer international trade regime. Again, no price can be put on experience. These investments and company advancements come hand in hand with a wide range of benefits that enhance the most crucial of points, “Productivity and consistency are fundamentals for us and as far as operational excellence and technical know-how Kraft are very well endowed,” Johan emphasises, “When dealing with food there can be no exception to standard and we have a stringent approach to food safety and GMP standards in our plants.”
A continued push to enhance capacity, consistency and sustainability in the plants that exist will be the main aim for the foreseeable future instead of the building of new plants. Programmes to formerly enhance the competency level of the staff are being rolled out throughout the African plants to develop their staff. Future generations will be thankful for the strong sustainable economies of South and West Africa that companies like Kraft have helped develop by backing education, training and development for local people. It is businesses like Kraft that will lead the future in terms of their business philosophies, ethics and methods.
HALF HEARTED? NOT US. Our ambition is to become the most admired dairy company in Africa. Which shouldn’t be tough seeing we put a little extra care into everything we make so that we meet the strictest international packaging and manufacturing standards. Woodlands Dairy are the producers of top quality dairy products and co-packer for blue-chip companies, which is no half measure. Call us on +27 (0)42 200 3400 to see what solutions we can offer for your products, or visit www.woodlandsdairy.co.za
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Kraft Foods www.kraftfoods.com + 27 11 253 4000 Written by Don Campbell