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Nyanza Bottling Company

Nyanza Bottling Company bottles a successful formula

Kevin Doyle

An unyielding commitment to continual improvement and quality service leads to Nyanza Bottling Company's domination of its market
Nyanza Bottling Company bottles a successful formula

 

Established in 1986 as a joint venture between the Sumaria Corporation and the CMG Group of Companies, Nyanza Bottling Company Ltd., [NBCL] in Mwanza,Tanzania has grown to become one of the leading bottlers and distributors of Coca-Cola products in East Africa.

Jayesh G. Shah [JG], Group Managing Director of Sumaria and the GMG Group’s Chairman Christopher M. Gachuma[CMG] collaborated the business, which has achieved and sustained 80 percent or more of the market share in Lake Zone of Tanzania for 23 consecutive years. R.K.Bala, joined NBCL in 2010, serving as the CEO of the organisation.

Ankush K Shah, later generation of Sumaria family, joined NBCL in 2010 as Director and joined the NBCL Board with CMG and JG.  

NBCL produces and sells over 1.1 million glass and PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles of beverages and drinking water each day. NBCL employs 1,100 directly and nearly 20,000 small community businesses earn income by selling Coca-Cola products.

“This is one of the largest Coca-Cola franchises in East Africa. CMG & JG have built this organisation, over the years, in very challenging operating conditions. It is grown to be one of the largest companies in the zone where we are located. We continue to provide employment opportunities to a big number of people and in the last few years we have also brought social responsibility in our operations,” says Bala.

Both of NBCL’s parent companies are well-known for their presence in numerous industrial verticals. Multi-national Sumaria Corp. is active in areas such as plastics, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and agro-processing while CMG Group has a presence in construction, food processing, hotels and trading.

NBCL invested more than $10 million in infrastructure upgrades in 2011 alone. “We had a very healthy three years (2008-10) and that allowed us to look at the next five years. We expanded our production line with a new blender and chiller, have added 65 new heavy-duty trucks of 30-tonne capacity to the existing fleet of 160,” Bala says.

Market dominance

NBCL’s most obvious advantage is its association with the Coca-Cola name and ancillary products such as Fanta Family, Sprite, Krest Family and Dasani mineral water. “It is one of the most well-known brands in the world, so we have a huge advantage in having one of the best brands,” says Bala.

The company’s unwavering market share is a clear indicator that multinational competition in the beverage sector present in Lake Zone of Tanzania and an array of regional products aren’t nearly as well-equipped to service the community as NBCL. That is due in no small measure to the company’s commitment to quality and attention to detail.

“The operating standards we have are clearly something that separates us. We have not compromised on the technology, or the way we train our people, or the stringent quality and audit standards that we employ. Our commitment to quality and our auditing are advantages we have over our competitors,” Bala asserts.

Operations

NBCL’s facility is situated on 16 acres in Mwanza’s industrial region. The company seeks continual improvement via internal and external training and by benchmarking processes against those of similar size companies around the world.

The company earned HACCP certification in 2005 and ISO 22000 Food and Safety Management certification in 2007. It was Coca-Cola “Bottler of the Year” in 1995 and has been a many times winner of Coca-Cola Africa Gold and Silver Achievement awards since 1996.

“You can’t go around in a circle and improve so every year we set a higher benchmark. We’re trying to keep up with the times, especially when it comes to changing technologies and business management standards,” says Bala.

“We sponsor employees’ education at various levels, something we can use for help building the internal part of the organisation and determining who will be coming along for a long time. We also bring in people from various industries to help train our people,” he adds.

For example, world-leading German packaging and bottling machine manufacturer Krones AG provides technical training for the operators of the three Krones’ glass (capacity of 100,000 bottles per hour) and single PET (24,000 bottles per hour) bottling lines NBCL has in place.

NBCL has fostered an associate-like relationship with its suppliers and vendors. “There is a lot of inter-dependency – we go to their plant to understand what they do and they visit our plant to see what we are doing. This helps in mutual processes and efficiency improvement. We don’t treat them as suppliers and vendors and it’s a much-improved and respected relationship,” Bala explains.

NBCL also operates in-house support facilities such as a fully-equipped garage and fuel station for its transport fleet that covers an enormous geographic area and serves a population of over 13 million.

Today and Tomorrow

Technology lags in East Africa and very few companies utilise sophisticated ERP systems. NBCL, though, is taking that step.

“We have taken it upon ourselves to embrace ERP in the next year, so the whole organisation is being trained. When it comes to the management of the technology, it is about the people who are using it and we are developing the skills to achieve this,” Bala says.

Additionally, NBCL is now running a biomass-fueled boiler at its production site that yields enough steam energy to power operations for the foreseeable future. Biomass for fuel is sourced locally from what would otherwise be considered food waste. 

The company has also invested close to $4 million in a PET pre-forms plant that will allow it to produce its own PET bottles for both the domestic and international markets.

“Down the line I think we should at least be doubling our volumes and Revenues. We will try for a little more in the new industries like our power project. If we can introduce other business as well, I can see us growing more than double in the next five years,” Bala concludes.

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