The manufacturing sector has been identified as a key growth frontier for Kenya. Under Vision 2030, the country aspires to become an industrialised country that’s globally competitive. To achieve this, we have set ambitious targets to build a robust, diversified and competitive manufacturing sector.
With the inclusion of manufacturing as a key pillar in the Big Four development agenda, the government hopes to increase the sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP from 8.4 percent in 2017 to 20 percent by 2022.
This is a challenge for manufactures to raise to the occasion and not only improve our processes but also prioritise innovation in order to compete among our peers not just in the region but globally.
Innovation generates a lot of value, but for it to be meaningful and meet the needs of manufacturers and those of our consumers, it is imperative that we benchmark from the best in the world.
Beyond the bottom line, it should be our strategic intention to continue investing capital and applying science to innovate and re-engineer our processes for sustainability.
Our goal should be to ensure that the business is sustainable and that it does not contribute to environmental degradation in the areas where we operate.
Water and energy are some of the key resources for most manufacturers given that the sector is highly dependent on the two to run their operations. If not well managed they cause the most stress to the environment and the communities where we operate.
For KBL, water is important and is key for the success of our business. The need for water cuts across our value chain; the farmer, brewer, distributor, the retailer, our customers and the communities where we operate.
We are also cognizant of the fact that we operate in a water-stressed environment. This is why we pay a lot of attention to our water usage. We have adopted a linear process of managing our water from the point of growing our raw materials to when we dispatch the products to be enjoyed responsibly by our customers.
We have ensured that our internal process is efficient and have also enlisted the best technology in the market to ensure that we minimise our water use. Additionally, we are currently running a programme that aims to reduce the water we use in our processes by between 60 and 70 percent. This will not only help us save money, we’ll become much more sustainable.
In terms of energy, our focus has been to reduce electrical energy use. To achieve this, we will soon be going 100 percent biomass. We are currently in the process of biomass boilers and identifying suppliers for the raw materials we need.
This is earmarked to help us reduce energy consumption in our plants and completely eliminate the element of green gas emissions. This is will also expand our value chain whereby we’ll be seeking people to supply us with raw materials to fuel this project.
There is therefore need to run an agile supply chain that focusses on energy and water use and its implication to the environment. We have to ensure that there is a robust tactical and strategic process that drives performance towards reduction in energy and water use.
Manufacturing companies must commit to promoting and supporting energy and water stewardship in our supply chains, including operation sites by focusing on conservation, efficiency, and management.
This reduces the cost of production, eases pressure on natural resources and gradually leads to reduced environmental degradation and greenhouse gas emissions.
The best way of doing this is by making sure that we are using the best technology and having it positively influence the way we work. There is need to continually improving our technology and our processes to ensure that we operate above the baseline.
Mr Muiru is the head of engineering at Kenya Breweries Ltd