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Company Reports - Nairobi Bottlers  

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Nairobi Bottlers

Nairobi Bottlers

Written by Melissa Rudd & Produced by John Holliman

Part of the Sabco franchise, Nairobi Bottlers was established in 1948 as the fourth Coca-Cola bottling firm in Africa and distributes throughout Kenya. Initially, the Nairobi plant was just a quarter of an acre in size. The company then occupied three different locations until they were consolidated into one mega bottling plant in 2005.
Nairobi Bottlers
Part of the Sabco franchise, Nairobi Bottlers was established in 1948 as the fourth Coca-Cola bottling firm in Africa and distributes throughout Kenya.

Initially, the Nairobi plant was just a quarter of an acre in size. The company then occupied three different locations until they were consolidated into one mega bottling plant in 2005.

Operations
“We are very lucky to market the trademark of Coca-Cola. The strength of the brand is one of our unique advantages. It is the most valuable trademark in the world,” says managing director Segun Ogunsanya.

The plant in Embakasi, Nairobi, employs 900 people who work on eight different production lines, supplying north Kenya. It is one of the biggest plant in the Coca-Cola Sabco group and was officially opened by Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki in 2005.

Key strengths
Citing quality as his company’s biggest strength, Ogunsanya emphasises: “We have the best quality systems in the world that ensures that every single bottle produced is of the ultimate quality. We also have several ISO accreditations and are aiming for more in the coming year.”

Distribution remains another of Nairobi Bottler’s strengths, says the company’s managing director. “We are able to distribute products through any part of the franchise and also provide quality customer service.

“It does not matter whether we are dealing with a small or a large customer - we always are intent on delivering superior customer service. It is the key in everything that we do,” says Ogunsanya.

Workforce
The majority of Nairobi Bottlers’ 900 employees at the plant live locally. The company employs a manager each for the supply, finance, marketing, customer service, and planning departments with most being from Kenya.

Says Ogunsanya: “Attracting workers is not a challenge as the Coca-Cola brand is attractive and one that people want to work for. We also carry out internal training to assess what is needed for employees to reach their full potential. A number of programmes and development opportunities have also been put in place to improve their skill sets and strengthen their abilities.”

State-of-the-art facilities
Although the Nairobi Bottlers plant is only five years old, there are new developments which have been implemented. It has two facilities that recycle returned plastic and glass bottles. The plants produce 20,000 plastic and 36,000 glass bottles per hour and are fully automated with very few people working on the line.

“Technology has been invested in wherever possible to improve efficiency. There is the employment of a modern distribution system to monitor distribution with acute technology, using mobile phones to capture and process information at the head office,” Ogunsanya says.

Caring for environment
Nairobi Bottlers has taken measures to reduce energy emissions and has stated its commitment to environmental improvement. As such, its use of technology also extends to its commitment to such environmental issues.

“We are very passionate about water and the environment. We have a policy of reducing our water footprint. We also monitor the quantity of water we use in our products and use a water treatment facility on products that leave the facility,” emphasises Ogunsanya.

The company has invested in infrastructure, mainly in the form of production capability. Since 2005, it has invested $25-30 million in the production process, which includes the installation of another support facility to ensure the lines are working to optimum output.

Supply chain
Nairobi Bottlers has its own fleet of trucks but do outsource when required. It uses an approved list of suppliers that includes local and international suppliers, which it closely monitors.

“We expect everyone we deal with to recycle. We want to look after the environment and in terms of quality and being a respectable member of the community, those conditions are very clear,” says Ogunsanya.

Work in the community
Nairobi Bottlers is involved in projects to help the improvement of local communities.

“This is one of our endearing legacies,” says Ogunsanya. “We are not just here to make money - we want to improve the quality of life around us. Everybody purchasing our products should benefit.

“In line with this, we support communities in areas of activities, education and work. The most recent being a secondary school institution that we helped set up with the Catholic Church,” he adds.
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