TO MAKE HAVAIANAS AN EVEN BIGGER SUCCESS WORLDWIDE WITH STRONG INVESTMENTS IN PROCESS IMPROVEMENT, TECHNOLOGY AND PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT
A global 115-year-old company, powered by iconics, on-trend brands, flip flop global leader to high potencial in footwear and lifestyle, Alpargatas is world known by one of its main brands: Havaianas.
And it dreams big: being recognized in the market as a powerhouse of the world´s most digital, innovative, sustainable, desirable and hyper-connected brands.
The numbers are staggering: between 2018 and 2021, Alpargatas grew 3.5 times its annual revenue pace, driven by Havaianas which grows at an annual rate above 14%. In 2021, the company surpassed the mark of 31 million pairs sold worldwide.
According to Edson Rubião, Industrial Vice President at Alpargatas, the biggest challenge now is to keep their factories structured to absorb demand variations with flexibility, quality and low cost. This means an absolute focus on process technology, automation, intelligent layouts, leaner flows, an effective management system and the constant and tireless training of people at all levels. And for that, Alpargatas has the support of Staufen.
Mr Rubião, we know that Alpargatas has been investing in Innovation. The proof lies in the fact that the variety of products continues to grow. The company recently announced the investment of 100 million euros in 2022 in the operational excellence program for manufacturing and logistics. To what extent will this investment be used to make factories more flexible and agile to serve the market?
Our market demands innovation with increasing scalability and frequency. And, in this scenario, we seek to ensure speed to develop technologies, processes and gain in production scale. We are investing in automation, management, and product development, providing speed and effectiveness throughout the cycle. In Campina Grande, next to our largest factory in Brazil, we structured an Innovation Center to enable materials tests, models and all the quick learning necessary to innovate more and more. We understand that the capacity increase impacts on service improvement and financial benefits, which helps us to grow with the Havaianas brand both in Brazil and in international markets.
Alpargatas is currently undergoing a process of modernization and expansion of its factories. What is the role of Digital Transformation in this development plan?
Digital transformation is inherent and necessary to our growth and expansion process. Therefore, the plan, which is already underway, consists of evolving so that the operation control and management system is increasingly digital, connected and efficient, to support manufacturing operation and management activities, providing timely data. real. It is then possible to take more efficient tactical and operational decisions in the dimensions of production, quality, maintenance and inventory.
What is the leadership role to face these challenges? And how are you preparing this new generation of leaders to continue on this successful path?
The leadership role is decisive in this process of change, so much so that it was one of the first points developed at the beginning of the project. We are investing in our people. Alpargatas‘ People team is carrying out a robust change management plan, which is outlined in six phases: Involvement, Communication, Training, Monitoring, Recognition and Knowledge Management. These are steps that range from mapping the impacts of changes to establishing delivery standards.
To accelerate your presence in international markets, Alpargatas announced at the end of 2021 the purchase of the american Rothy’s, an innovative brand in sustainable, digital footwear with high growth potential. This reinforces Alpargatas‘ concern with sustainability. In terms of operations, what changes for Alpargatas with this acquisition?
It is a fact that the acquisition of Rothy‘s, announced just over six months ago, increases Alpargatas‘ participation in the global footwear market and it is in line with our strategic plan, which forecasts the construction of a powerhouse of global, desired and hyperconnected brands. What we can say at this point is that there will be a lot of knowledge exchange between brands, espe cially in what we can learn from Rothy’s, which was born digital and focused on sustainability. Alpargatas is a 115-year-old company that has always been committed and connected to society. Sustainability is a fundamental pillar in our strategy. This is how we work to evolve in terms of transparency, governance and initiatives that generate value for society, the environment and our market.
Despite all the effort to build a strong and globally recognized brand, we know that cost plays an important role in terms of competitiveness. What are Alpargatas‘ bets to remain competitive against other major players in this market?
We have focused on efficient cost management, with actions to mitigate commodities, exchange rate policy for hedging financial instruments, implementation of projects to reduce costs of materials, manufacturing, operating and logistics expenses, in addition to investments to increase efficiency, reduce complexity and improve the logistical load.
We have reduced CO2 emissions and solid waste sent to landfills year after year. In addition, we use 100 % of the fruit, no part is wasted in our processing.EDSON RUBIÃO
Industrial Vice President, Alpargatas S.A
As Alpargatas Industrial Vice President, you are at the forefront of more than 12,000 people on several fronts, which is a great responsibility. How do you see this challenge? What experiences do you bring in your background to play this role today?
We need to look after the safety and development of these people with all the respect they deserve. It is a great challenge and a great responsibility. But, at the same time, it is also a great opportunity. Whenever we are in contact with people, we can learn new things, just as it is a pleasure to see our employees and colleagues develop and grow personally and professionally. At this point we realize that we have done the right things.
What I learned very early in my career, and especially in these almost 10 years at Alpargatas, is that you can only achieve great things when you work together with your team. Many people believe that in the industrial area, the most important thing is equipment and materials. But, in fact, the great competitive advantage is people. Any company, with the money, can buy materials and equipment, but even in an age of constant automation and digitization, only people can really add value from these resources. Definitely, in my view, people are the great differential of a company.
Alpargatas is a global 115-year-old company, powered by iconics, on-trend brands, flip flop global leader to high potencial in footwear and lifestyle, Alpargatas is world known by one of its main brands: Havaianas.