• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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COVID-19 pushed us to work smarter, says Krones

COVID-19 pushed us to work smarter, says Krones

Krones Nigeria, a technological cooperation and service provider at the heart of the beverage and food liquid industry, says the COVID-19 pandemic made it work smarter.

The company which has been investing in the country for 20 years made the revelation Wednesday while speaking with BusinessDay.

Steve Toba, head, materials management & logistics, Krones West Africa, said one of the strategies adopted by the materials and logistics department of the company is consolidation or proactive ordering.

“Before now, we order based on demand, spending more on logistics, but now we learn patterns of how customers order and do proactive or consolidated ordering. Rather than having 10 packages, you have one package, and you’re able to save a lot of cost on freight.” said Toba.

The company also marked it’s 20th anniversary with a presentation and exhibition at the 8th edition of Fairtrade’s agrofood, plastprintpack exhibition and conference.

In an interview with BusinessDay, Anthony Osunde, head of sales, Krones West Africa, gave voice to the company’s contribution to local manufacturing in Nigeria.

He said: “Over the last 15 years, we’ve developed a manufacturing plant in Nigeria to manufacture the glues that are used to attach labels to our bottles, and there were different types of glues required by different customers, so we had to backward integrate and learn how to develop the product.

“We’ve also been developing local recipes from local agro products and fusing it with what we were doing before to also have an impact on local agronomy.

“Generally, by growing in the way that we’ve done, from 15 people to over 200, of course, we’ve created jobs, but I think what I’m really passionate about is the training academy because it has become like an education centre.

“When you provide people with education, you really broaden their horizon, and we have people maybe no longer involved in our customer business but they’ve gotten an education and because of the education they’ve received whilst they were on the training academy, it’s actually helping them in other jobs.

“So the training academy, I think, has been an uplifting experience for a lot of young people, especially those in the field of engineering. It has been a good place to apply knowledge in very practical manner.”

Krones Nigeria, a company that started in a small house in GRA, Ikeja, moved in 2008 to Acme Road, Ogba, and expanded to purchase the land next door to it, may be upgraded to a full logistics centre in the near future.

Johan Scheepers, head of supply chain, Krones West Africa, in a series of response to questions said the outfit understands the need for local talent development.

“What we are and have been doing since the last six/seven years is an apprenticeship program which is a 3-year program, and the last year (3rd year), the apprentices will be sent out on-site under the leadership of our technicians,” Scheepers said.

When asked of the staff ratio (expatriates to locals), Steve Toba, head, materials management & logistics, Krones West Africa, said a lot of Krones’ staff now are locals.

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“Our staff base is currently more than 95 percent local.

“When we started 20 years ago, we had a lot of expats (especially technicians) coming in from Germany, South Africa, and East Africa with more experience, but over time, we’ve been able to train our local people/technicians, and now they are actually holding fort,” Toba said.

On steps Krones Nigeria is taking to reduce the environmental impact of its operations, Anthony Osunde, the company’s sales head, said that Krones has installed solar panels in all its buildings.

“We have around 2,740m squared of solar panels. Within the next two months, all of our buildings will be totally off the grid. This is us definitely reducing our carbon footprints.”

Osunde also talked about Krones’ recycling technology.

“Krones has the technology for recycling bottle to bottle, so the bottles that we use are recycled to be reused again.”

Osunde added that Krones has 50 life cycle centres in the world and he’s very proud there’s a centre in Lagos.

He said that the Nigeria and West Africa business is important to the Krones world, and that is why the company has invested for such a long time.

“You’ll find very few companies who will come to Nigeria and have a complete set-up, buy properties and invest here, invest in people. The way we’re going, I believe the ultimate goal will be to get fully into manufacturing,” Steve Toba said.