Human Resources Director, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr. Wale Adediran, recently spoke to Raheem Akingbolu in Lagos on why the organisation has remained one of the strongest brands in the Nigerian beer market. Excerpts:
Journey so far
Guinness Nigeria Plc came into existence in Nigeria’s market space in 1950, making it one of the oldest companies in Nigeria to date.
Not long after it commenced operations, it asserted its position in Nigeria’s industry sector by becoming one of the foremost quoted
companies in Nigeria after it was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1965, with a shareholder base of over 75,000 shareholders.
In 1962, Guinness built its first brewery in Ikeja and currently has facilities in Ogba, Benin City and Aba. At the moment included in our portfolio are such acclaimed brands - Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, Guinness Extra Smooth, Malta Guinness, Harp Lager beer, Gordon’s Spark, Smirnoff Ice, Satzenbrau Pilsner, Harp Lime, and most recently Dubic Extra Lager.
We are a member company of Diageo Plc; the world’s leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of brands such as Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, J&B, Baileys, Cuervo, Tanquery, Captain Morgan etc.
Great Place to Work Award
All these are no doubt in synonymous with what we believe in and place premium on, as it is part of our passion and tradition to create a great place to work for our employees at Guinness. So it was easy for us to decide to enter for the award.
It is not really about one particular innovation or innovations; it is what we are, who we are, what we do and how we do it.
Over the years, we have placed great importance on quality of our brands, human capacity development of staff, which from generation to generation has never been shaken. We do well to stick with values structured on trust, commitment and dedication to work.
One of the things I think that got us the award is the fact that, our staff are extremely proud to work, because of the tradition of excellence that our members of staff have done well to attach themselves with. Most importantly, we are a performance driven organisation, as our reward system is aligned to performance.
Guinness Nigeria is proud to receive these awards. One of our company values hinged on tradition is that we do well to build members of staff with the freedom to succeed. This allows us to trust one another, foster openness while creating an enabling environment to succeed as a company. We are also employees and the company.
To us, this award means we are doing the right thing and stand for the united spirit of Guinness Nigeria. In a survey of over 250 firms in Nigeria, we won the award for the ‘Best Place to Work’ for having the most conducive environment for employees in Nigeria.
Guinness also sees rewarding its staff, when they do well as key to propelling them to want to do better. This ultimately translates into growth for the company; that is why we put in place a lot of benefits and facilities for staff. Our training academy is second to none when we talk of corporate training facilities that companies have.
Performance measurement is a fundamental building block of any organisation or a total quality organisation.
So as we go on, we try not to relent in doing what we know how to do best. We strive to do better than our competitors, by re-inventing ourselves and creating new ideas. This puts us ahead of them all, no matter what effort or strategy; they put in to meet up with us. This is no doubt a true testament to the fact that, we are miles ahead of our contemporaries.
At the moment, we have put in place various strategies to ensure that our growth is sustained and also surpassed, especially, amidst stiff competition. We have made future plans that would see us boost our performance and increase profitability in the coming years.
Several projects aimed at increasing the capacities of our Lagos and Benin breweries have commenced. In addition, work is advanced on the project to connect our Benin operations to gas supply. Also all our brands are set to benefit from the growth in the can-packaged segment, which we pioneered in this industry in 2005.
Our business had switched over to System, Application and Products software, an enterprise resource planning tool already in use in major markets of our parent company, as well as in some of the biggest businesses in the world.
With all these in place, our business is poised to experience a new drive, which would in turn be reflected in our financial performance. I believe that the evidence of these investments in capacity and processes will even be more apparent in the immediate future.
Our commitment, to growing, developing and retaining talent, is ongoing and would even be better packaged, as we have recognised that it is a major factor for our long-term successes.
In giving back to the communities in which we operate, I can boldly tell you that we have an excellent record which by far surpasses our contemporaries. We are a responsible organisation and do well in never shying away from our responsibilities.
Our efforts in giving back is visible everywhere we operate, not only in Nigeria. Our efforts in giving back has seen major parts of West African countries gain access to clean water with an affordable water filter supported by our parent company, Diageo’s Arthur Guinness Fund, created to celebrate the beer’s 250th anniversary.
The funding aim towards a new enterprise in Nigeria and Ghana in building a sustainable market for the water filter, Crystal Pur TM, which eliminated 99.99 per cent of all waterborne bacteria and parasites with no chemicals or mechanical parts. We know that improving access to clean and safe water contributes to improved health and educational levels and reduces poverty.
This project in West Africa with the Arthur Guinness Fund is being developed to complement our existing ‘Water of Life’ programme, which has already helped many communities and millions of people across Africa.
The initiative is aimed at benefitting over 250,000 people in areas where nearby surface water is predominantly used and water is boiled for drinking purposes.
Local entrepreneurs were supported through programme partners, Enterprise works /VITA (EWV), an international not-for-profit organisation, in the distribution and retail sales of the water filters, as well as develop local campaigns to educate people on the benefits of clean water and hygiene.
Diageo's ‘Water of Life’ programme supports community-based projects to improve access to drinking water, as well as aid environmental conservation and deliver capacity-building training with local partners.
In the last three years, since ‘Water of Life’ project started, Diageo’s programmes across Africa have provided over 3.2 million people access to clean water. The one million challenge aims to give 1 million more people access to clean water each year.
BIODATA of ADEDIRAN
Wale Adediran holds a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Ibadan. He began his Human Resources career with Procter & Gamble in 1992 as a Management Trainee and has held diverse roles in Production Management, Personnel Administration, Industrial Relations, Reliability Engineering, Stores Management to Senior Management roles till 2002.
In 2002, from Group Manager, sub-Saharan Programmes, Wale became Senior Manager, Human Resources, Procter & Gamble, West Africa.
He then joined Frigoglass Industries Nigeria Limited as the Human Resources Director where he led wide ranging transformation of the company’s Human Resources practices, re-engineering the internal organisation and implemented a world class performance management system.
After leading the Human Resource function for nine years, at various levels in Procter & Gamble and Frigoglass Industries, Wale was appointed Human Resources Director of Guinness Nigeria Plc in March 2012.