Letters & Opinion

Heineken Saint Lucia Warns “We’re still not out of this Global Supply Chain Crisis

As the world continues to navigate catastrophic supply chain disruptions, closer to home, local manufacturer Heineken Saint Lucia Ltd warns that small island developing states like Saint Lucia may continue to be disadvantaged much longer than anticipated.

Shipping delays, bottle shortages, procurement challenges and logistic nightmares, are merely some of the obstacles that the company and other industry players have had to endure since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fast forward to 2022, procurement hurdles continue to mount, severely impacting the business’ ability to meet full demand of the market.

Supply Chain Manager of Heineken Saint Lucia Ezra Bernard is recently quoted saying “This scenario is not unique to our country, nor to the manufacturing sector. We have been faced with countless disruptions in the shipping industry, alongside shortages of CO2, sugar, containers, and other products vital to our manufacturing process.

“Notwithstanding, we have been finding ways to navigate this supply chain crisis, combined with the ongoing (impact of COVID-19) health crisis. Despite some improvements, we expect to be impacted by these challenges for the foreseeable future.” Bernard went on.

In November 2021, the company responded aggressively by launching an island wide bottle blitz aimed at increasing the collection of returnable glass bottles (RGB) of its product portfolio.

“We have had to revisit and reconsider the packaging of our products and innovate in some instances. We pivoted by intensifying collection of RGBs by going into the communities and to the consumers as opposed to waiting for them to come to our warehouses. In keeping with our Brew A Better World ambition, we seek to maximize the circularity of our products, minimizing our collective carbon footprint. We ask our customers to also play their part by returning their bottles. This can help absorb the disruptions and result in more availability of their favourite beverages.” Bernard added further.

The company remains cognizant of the impact of the current global disruptions on consumers and customers and continues to find solutions to mitigate and best deliver.

Heineken Saint Lucia is prepared to work with all relevant stakeholders including the Government, Chamber of Commerce, Saint Lucia Manufacturing Association (SMA) to collectively find solutions for the market while ensuring business continuity amidst ongoing disruptions.

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