Interview

Gerardo Barrera, Supply Chain and Continuous Improvement Manager at Orizon SA

Despite the pandemic, we managed to improve value capture

“We saw our results and the demand for our products improve in this pandemic scenario, so we had to reinforce ourselves on all our fronts. With the OR-CA methodology, we reviewed our business processes, and we realized that we could improve value capture, optimizing our resources, and operating more efficiently.”

Orizon SA, a company in the fishing sector belonging to the economic group of companies COPEC, is one of the national companies that has managed to capture value in the midst of the latest crises that have affected the country. An accelerator for its successful operation has been the use of the OR-CA Business Consulting methodology, according to Gerardo Barrera, Orizon Supply Chain and Continuous Improvement Manager.

How has this methodology impacted you?

We have obtained an increase in our EBITDA of the order of 10%.  In the fishing world, where OR-CA came to support us, we already knew that we had to develop concepts of commercial logistics excellence, optimization of production processes and development of added value. The three anchor pillars of the new strategy, but this methodology was a catalyst and an accelerator to increase that value capture.

In any case, it is important to point out that, since the social outbreak in 2019, we had been warming up with very enriching work schemes of the crisis committee type, to see how to face the operation, logistics and commercial operations, which allowed us to tackle priorities in an orderly manner, and lay the foundations to start working with this consultancy.

How did you face work in a pandemic?

First, we are faced with how to ensure sanitary measures to minimize contagion within the production complex, which has a high demand for labor. We made all the investments and everything that was technically feasible to do.

We manufacture canned fish, which became products of the basic basket, with a very substantive peak in demand, which led us to review how to face our capacities to relocate them, and prepare ourselves to respond to the increase in monthly demand on all production fronts. and logistics. In fact, we saw our results and the demand for our products improve in this pandemic scenario, which is why we have had to reinforce ourselves on all our fronts.

How did the accelerator of the OR-CA methodology operate?

With the OR-CA methodology we reviewed our business processes, and we realized that we could improve the capture of value, optimizing our resources. We know that within the framework of our strategy we have to push harder for operational, commercial and logistics excellence, that we want to lower costs, but with this methodology we were able to materialize and accelerate those plans.

The work with OR-CA has helped us to align objectives and convene efforts in the same direction. Because although the vast majority of ideas are within the organization, the platforms or the alignment to carry them out within a given time horizon are not always there.

He convened a multidisciplinary team, more than 60 people, and offered us the opportunity to listen to people's opinions, establishing the necessary sessions to develop a work methodology that would allow initiatives to be carried out.

Were you able to develop some innovations?

This collaborative project also provided us with new KPIs that we did not have in place. We add a transversal indicator of the industry that allows you to make benchmarks, performance comparisons, to detect which initiative or systems present a more adequate behavior.

It also made us see that we had room for improvement in efficiency, that the machines were not being used 100%, therefore, we had room to be more efficient in our operational processes. In the plant, it translated into the best use of productive equipment.

We have been able to better manage the availability of resources, their use and their planning to get the best performance out of them. Above all, of the three main resources available to the plant: people, machines, and raw materials.  

What makes this operating methodology different from others?

There is no custom of using such transversal and multidisciplinary methodologies where there is a formal presentation to a management committee every three months by the teams, where these ideas are also polished. Indeed, the methodology calls for that.

The OR-CA methodology pushes the benchmark. The dynamic of the meetings challenges the different areas in terms of what they are currently doing and invites them to review how the competition is doing it, and how it is being done worldwide.

How do you handle team resistance?

The resistance of the team is very strong, but you work with time. It is necessary to enter with a certain degree of humility, but with a clear determination that the management to date is not being questioned, but rather that new opportunities are being sought, for which the team is asked to open up in the challenge car.

What is the balance of this experience?

Despite the operational difficulties to operate with the sanitary protocols, we have been competitive in costs, and we have confirmed that definitely if you want to have a long-term business strategy, you must seek the right path, and the path of productivity is one of them.

Financially healthy companies should be convinced at the executive level and by those who make decisions that this is a healthy and long-term path, which remains installed in the operational culture.

Gerard Barrera,

Supply Chain and Continuous Improvement Manager at Orizon SA