As a leading food and beverage player with a growing multinational presence through the ASEAN, China, and Oceania, Universal Robina Corporation (URC) has created a culture of innovation focusing on a digital shift to remain open and adaptive to global trends towards sustainable development.
|Laurent Levan, president and general director of URC Vietnam, at the Hanoi Innovation Summit 2019 |
The food and beverage (F&B) industry has seen growth in recent years by realising continuous change in consumer demands and adapting to it. Consumers’ preferences are clearly shifting, and F&B brands must shift with them – and companies where innovation comes from a genuine desire to improve customer experience are rising as the cream of the crop.
“Innovation, then and now, has been our key value driver,” Laurent Levan, president and general director of URC Vietnam, highlighted at a recent startup forum in Ho Chi Minh City. “URC is a big company that employs thousands of people, but we do have the agility, the mindset, and the culture of an innovative startup. And we implement this mindset, including the open innovation model, every day. Our team is packed full of key talents to innovate and always offer a fresh view.”
URC is inspiring innovative activities and also supporting the government initiatives relating to innovation in Vietnam. Last week, URC is a partner of Hanoi Innovation Summit – the newest global event for innovation, held for the first time in Vietnam and hosted by Hanoi People Committee and the Ministry of Planning and Investment. This was an opportunity to promote entrepreneurship and the startup spirit while connecting domestic and international businesses to forge a lively startup ecosystem.
As a partner of Hanoi Innovation Summit, URC expects to share its culture of innovation that forms the backbone of its identity. The company is eager to get on board of activities like this summit and give a hand to innovation activities in the world and in Vietnam alike. This allows URC to be deeply connected to the vibrant local innovation ecosystem housing approximately 3,000 startups in Vietnam, one of Southeast Asia’s strongest performing economies.
URC’s spirit of innovation is also evident in its formidable lineup of diverse products catering to the needs and tastes of every consumer. “But more importantly, looking outside the confines of our own organisations, we see private-public partnership as key to work closely with the government, officials, universities, and academic experts. We are part of a community, of an ecosystem, and in this community we have a lot to receive and of course a lot to share,” Levan said.
Levan also explained that URC’s flare for the new was what drove it to Industry 4.0 to enhance the safety and security of their products. Technology and digitalisation take the driver’s seat in this transformation. “The goal is to complete the digitalisation of our value chain, which will enable our employees to operate efficiently through a digital workflow,” he said.
URC Vietnam has well-known brands such as C2 and Rong Do for beverages, Cream-O and Magic for biscuits, Dynamite for candies and Jack & Jill Puff Corn for snacks. URC’s factories in Vietnam have been made more Industry 4.0-ready by equipping the workforce with the necessary tools before accelerating automation projects. By adopting automation, the company can improve the quality and availability of raw materials while reducing costs and optimising the supply chain.
SAP manufacturing integration and intelligence system enables the factory to reduce equipment downtime. Giving real-time data visibility through business intelligence and analytics tools to the shop floor personnel helps them to proactively identify problems and take necessary corrective actions before they occur.
Ronaldo Villanueva, head of IT at URC Vietnam, said, “The adoption of Industry 4.0 helps URC Vietnam remain competitive in the market. In particular, we can significantly cut production expenses while making products available to consumers at a faster speed. URC Vietnam can also roll out more new products to the market with better visibility of product costs and performance.”
All of these initiatives to adapt to Industry 4.0 underline URC’s ambitions in the Vietnamese market. The company is eager to embrace Industry 4.0 technology to promote quality, safety, hygiene, and traceability, thereby boosting “Made in Vietnam” products in the global marketplace.
“As URC continues to explore new innovations and the digital shift, we remain open and adaptive to global trends and drivers, and are ever-vigilant of the emerging and current needs of consumers, and the emerging retail landscape. We are also currently reviewing our processes and systems to ensure that we meet our environmental, social, and governance targets. In doing so, we here at URC hope to become an even more sustainable organisation,” Levan stated.