A worldwide standard app for Heineken’s breweries

Luc Raeskin

Luc Raeskin

Managing director

Heineken needs no introduction. With over 170 facilities dedicated to brewing beer all over the world, one can imagine that optimization of production processes is an ongoing concern. With the digital revolution in full swing, it was time to reap the benefits of digital technology on the work floor.

A worldwide standard app for Heineken’s breweries

In addition to optimization of production, health & safety is an ongoing concern for the 3rd largest brewer in the world. Needless to say, heavy equipment needs to be handled with care, and workers need to know how they can ensure their own safety while also maintaining a healthy output, in this case of one of the world’s favorite beverages.

Heineken concluded that existing processes and logging to achieve these objectives had become obsolete and needed a solution that was easy to deploy & use, would be available without internet connectivity and also enabled a uniform aggregation and presentation of data and information.

As Heineken already was using ServiceNow for other ends, this presented an opportunity to leverage the possibilities of ServiceNow to develop an app. The main goal of this app was to provide employees on the factory floor with the functionality they needed follow processes and enhance ease of use.

Method

Because ServiceNow is a cloud platform with standard processes, and breweries obviously don’t have the same standards, ServiceNow processes needed to be converted to Heinekens processes in the breweries.

For an app, software development has to be done from scratch. There was no “underlying” platform to adapt to - so software architectures had to be dealt with and, with that, the constant validation of functionalities by means of tests. This fitted seamlessly in the expertise App4mation could bring, which is aimed at translating business requirements to technological solutions with a high ease of use.

Dedicated from start to finish

First, various types of data at each brewery were collected, from a list of all machinery to the individual breweries’ organizational hierarchy. From the first introduction to its employees to a successful ‘go live’, a dedicated team was there with Heineken. People on the floor were trained, a walkthrough in all applying languages was developed and even after going live, consultants planned weekly status updates and supported the breweries with collecting the right data. Our approach was well appreciated by Gertjan Thijssen, functional consultant at Heineken: “App4mation really believed in the solution and was willing to invest in it. They believed in it in such a way, that there is now a spin-off called 4Industry.”

Good fit key to collaboration

4Industry is aimed at connecting the dots of monitoring- and IoT devices on the factory floor, and orchestrate this data on a single platform to gain maximum benefit form the data available. In this way, real time insights in production processes can be gained and actions can be taken there where they are needed.

To Luc Raeskin, managing director at App4mation, this case was special in several ways. “For App4mation, projects like these really prove that the time has come to bring the digital transformation to the physical workspace. They’re tough, but it allows you to grow and it gives you fun in return. Hence our endeavor with 4Industry to offer workers a use grade experience of the digital technology they come to rely on, because we believe helping making their jobs easier also helps the company to achieve its strategic and financial goals.”

Raeskin points out that despite the fact digital technology is at the heart of the solutions App4mation offers, a cultural fit with clients is equally important. “Critical to our success were the people at Heineken, who were open to our ideas and also had a good fit with our people as they are fanatic, creative, highly educated. They had the right drive to make this a success.” Not only App4mation was happy with the Heineken results. “To ServiceNow, it also means a big deal and they were delighted with the ‘go live’. That’s always nice to hear, and we are very proud of that” Raeskin concludes.