Heineken Taps into Operational Efficiency Gains by Connecting Breweries with Schuberg Philis and AWS

Executive Summary

Innovations were brewing at Heineken. The world-renowned beer maker was looking to grow its top line while supporting its shop workers. To address this objective, it needed to extract data from its production lines and supply chain that it could analyze, adjust, and use to optimize their processes. With Schuberg Philis and Amazon Web Services (AWS), Heineken created a data-driven, internet-of-things (IoT) platform that its operations teams use to help and enable employees on the shop floor. In 2020, Heineken connected 16 production lines to the platform in two months. As a result, the brewer increased efficiency, realized return on investment, and improved employee morale.

Turning Disparate Data Into Help For the Shop Floor

Throughout its 156-year history, Heineken has been listening to employees. In 2018, employees were asking how they could improve performance on the shop floor. Heineken knew it needed better insights into their production. Its supply chain and production environments are rich in data, holding clues to how to reduce the cascade of small causes that adversely affect utilization, increase waste, and increase cost per unit produced. Untangling the data and web of cause and effects at that time was not easy, and it was time for a better way. After experimenting with OEM data collection that created data silos and a digital twinning company that provided good insights but wasn’t sustainable, Heineken zeroed in on 32 use cases to address, and brought in Schuberg Philis and AWS to help.

“Within a day, we can have a specific environment running that is connected to the IoT kit, with the real-time dashboards available.”

- Jos Mulder, Client Director Sales, Smart Manufacturing, Schuberg Philis

A Scalable, Secure, and Cloud Native Data Platform Bubbles Up Insights from IoT

Heineken, Schuberg Philis, and AWS created an IoT platform that uses AWS IoT Greengrass for data ingestion and edge computing. The platform collects raw machine data from production lines and transforms it into a standard data format. It then loads the normalized data into a data lake that enables local teams to analyze, adjust, and test use cases to optimize their production process. As a result, operations can leverage real-time and historical data from its diverse manufacturing facilities to support the workers on the shop floor. After piloting the platform in three breweries, Heineken decided to bring it online. It connected 16 production lines in two months and it has now connected 19.

Dashboards Increase Efficiency

From day one, Heineken made it clear that it wanted a complete picture of its data, not views of different silos. There was little efficiency to be gained from that approach. As a result, the IoT platform creates dashboards from all the different data structures found in the various brewery locations and the respective supply chain. The dashboards provide real-time insights, such as temperature and line speeds, and use case insights, such as minor stops and speed loss. Operations teams can use and share the dashboards to alert to possible problems or brainstorm solutions. After just two months, Heineken reported immediate efficiency gains.

“We are already seeing a 10-percent performance improvement and we are only halfway through implementation.”

- Wiggert Deelen, Senior Director. Global Digital Transformation, Heineken

Acting Locally Creates Value and ROI

Like AWS, Schuberg Philis believes in working back from the customer’s requirements. So, they started with what Heineken wanted and needed and then designed a solution. In addition, they acted locally not only to develop the platform for Heineken but also to achieve buy-in. They asked for local use cases and put the platform to work on them. The enthusiasm from the local sites helped create momentum, and soon other sites were onboard. “As we focused on local acceptance, driving a use-case based program was key. This way we could immediately create value,” said Jos Mulder, Client Director of Sales for Smart Manufacturing at Schuberg Philis.

A Performance Increase of 10 Percent

Heineken created its vision of the connected brewery because the people on the shop floor asked for help. They knew that starting from the shop floor to put what workers needed in the palm of their hands would help them use new insights to improve performance. The platform enables them to collaborate and share information between sites, no matter where they are. “We are already seeing a 10-percent performance improvement and we are only halfway through implementation,” stated Wiggert Deelen, Senior Director, Global Digital Transformation, Heineken. Heineken expects those improvements to grow as more breweries come online.


About Heineken

Heineken produces over 300 international, local, regional, and specialty beers and ciders. Founded in 1864 in Amsterdam, it operates 167 different breweries in 70 different countries.

About Schuberg Philis

Schuberg Philis, an AWS Advanced Tier Service Partner, is an IT business partner, supporting the mission-critical business processes of its customers and partners. With a focus on adding value to our customers’ business performance, it looks beyond the IT request into the underlying business questions to deliver IT solutions that actually have a positive impact on business.

Published November 2021