MARKET & TECHNOLOGY
The Asia Pacific region is a growth area. While Symrise consistently expands its market position here, it continues to simultaneously develop safety measures for the protection of its employees, its production facilities and the environment.
Sixty percent of the world’s population lives in Asia. Symrise has positioned itself well there over the past few years, and APAC has become the fastest-growing region for Symrise Flavor. But how can rapid growth and infrastructure expansion be harmonized with workplace safety? “The key is everyone’s commitment, starting with the leadership,” says Sean Ginty, Vice President Supply Chain APAC. Transparency in handling incidents is one of the most important factors. Only through immediate disclosure and derivation of their causes is it possible to raise awareness and reduce the likelihood of similar accidents happening again. “Until we have no more accidents,” Sean adds. To achieve this goal, a range of EHS (environment, health and safety) tools were introduced in the region to encourage employees to report security risks. They can now report every problem via their cell phones or computers, and even attach photos. Employees who are responsible for this area check the reports.
“Since we introduced this digital risk reporting tool, employees have become more actively involved,” Sean notes. In October 2020, the APAC team submitted 63 video entries for a competition on the Day of Safety. A year earlier, there were only 19 submissions. This shows the importance and commitment of everyone when it comes to this important topic of safety. The MAQ – the number of accidents per million hours worked – for the APAC region was 2.8 in 2017. Two years later, it was 0. This year, based on data through September, it was 0.5. Beyond the statistics, says Sean, it’s ultimately all about continuous improvement. “How good we are at responding to near accidents is extremely important. This means initiating an investigation process immediately after incidents occur and ensuring that the results and countermeasures introduced are known and implemented at the site, in the region and, finally, within the company,” Sean explains. This proactive approach is an important step in preventing accidents.
With our strategy, we are achieving our growth targets in APAC.
Heinrich Schaper, President Flavor Divison
FOCUS ON ASIA PACIFIC REGION
Asia Pacific is a focus region for Symrise – and particularly the Flavor Division – because it is expected to continue to see strong growth in the next few years. What’s more, Symrise occupies the top position in the markets in this region. “The steadily rising growth curve shows that our market presence, capacity for innovation, expertise and reliability have put us exactly where we want to be. This makes our company a magnet for talent,” says Lionel Flutto, President, Flavor APAC. Singapore has been the center of the entire Asian fragrance industry for many years. “It made sense for us to expand our office there in 2017,” Lionel says. It is the heart of a strong network of Flavor locations in China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. There are currently 870 employees in the region. 71 percent of them are aged 30 to 49, and 18 percent are between 50 and 62 years old. More than half (60 percent) are men.
The steadily increasing growth curve shows that we have the right strategy.
Lionel Flutto, President, Asia Pacific, on the region and investments
GROWTH AND INVESTMENT
Flavor APAC is based on three pillars for growth: decode, design and deliver. “Decode” is about a deep understanding of the markets, the brands and the consumers. “This means we actively approach customers and present them with product solutions,” Lionel explains. “Design” is about first-class taste creations and applications, supported by a strong regulatory platform and strict cost calculations, with an eye to sensory findings. With “deliver,” the focus is on sophisticated, fast-acting supply chains. “The customers also need to be happy with our service. This includes the preparation of documents and samples and our quotes. Everyone plays an important role in continuously driving success in APAC,” Lionel continues.
The growth strategy also includes a number of investments, including the expansion of the analysis area for the food safety team in the Singapore office. € 50 million were channeled into the new site in Nantong, China; costs were split between the Flavor and S&C divisions. In Shanghai, € 2.5 million were invested in product development, analytics, application labs, the sensory facility, a new demonstration kitchen and new offices. The sites in the Philippines and Thailand each received over half a million Euros for new labs, lab technology and offices.
The Chinese city of Nantong is a center of the food industry. Symrise has invested € 50 million here to construct a new production site for flavorings and fragrances.
The standardized processes have a positive effect on efficiency and productivity.
Rakesh Mishra, Regional Director, QA/QC on using SAP for analysis
With the FS online tool, we will hit the right target more often the first time.
Dirk Schrader, Technical Director Sweet & Beverage & Regional Portfolio and Product Management Director, on the online library
TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATIONS
Success and growth also need clever minds to work on improving workflows and processes. The quality control team automated their workflows and took the first step toward a paperless office with the digitalization of their information. The data from the analytics devices now goes directly into the SAP system. “The standardized processes have had a positive effect on efficiency, productivity and our environmental footprint,” says Rakesh Mishra, Regional Director, QA/QC. Moreover, the APAC team is driving other SAP transactions forward, to prevent internal and external lab data from needing to be printed on QC worksheets. “This way we can reduce the rate of error that inevitably comes with manual documentation,” Rakesh notes. One example of the ways in which synergies in the company are recognized and used is the establishment of an online library with the most successful flavors: the FS Collection. “This helps sales employees quickly and easily find and order the flavors on their cell phones that will best fulfill the customer’s needs,” explains Dirk Schrader, Global Initiative Director, Encapsulation Flavor. In addition, each flavor in the library receives a monthly market evaluation to help determine sales opportunities as early on as possible. “With this tool, we will hit the right flavor target more often the first time and significantly improve the speed and efficiency of our ordering process,” Dirk predicts. He expects “higher profit ratios and even greater customer satisfaction.”
TRAINING AND EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT
Talented people are the company’s most important capital. Hiring them is the only way we can achieve our growth targets in the future. “We have invested heavily in training and development over the last three years. And in the current situation, there is no better investment than supporting the personal development of our employees,” says Debbie Soh, Regional Talent Development Manager. After all, market cycles continue to get shorter. To continue playing in the top league, Flavor is investing in talented new people and supporting various employee groups. This support takes the form of training programs for junior managers and other employees. The APAC Flavor e-onboarding program was also developed and implemented to integrate new colleagues into the company’s working practices and create networking opportunities. Since the second quarter of 2020, Flavor APAC has implemented three new online learning models: the Safetyhub portal, which offers a broad range of video training courses on workplace safety; LinkedIn Learning, which has a large selection of courses that can be taken at any time; and SymLearning, a content cloud-based e-learning platform from Symrise, which is based on the SAP Enable Now platform. Training content about products and processes, corporate culture, and even specific safety information for individual sites can be found there.
There is no better investment than in the personal development of our employees.
Debbie Soh, Regional Talent Development Manager on staff development