The three founders of this incredible brand all have a storied past. John Molson founded Canada’s oldest beer brewery on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Montreal in the late 1950’s. Adolph Coors was a penniless brewer’s apprentice who stumbled upon perfect water at the foot of the Rocky Mountains where Coors Light was born. Frederick Miller began brewing as an adolescent. When he immigrated to the U.S., he settled in Milwaukee and started with brewer’s yeast he brought over from Germany. The combination of these three brewers is unprecedented and impressive, with over 350 years of experience brewing beer globally. More impressive is the emphasis that Molson Coors puts on employee happiness. The organization wants engaged employees, who hope to grow with the company, and who will bring their passions from outside of work to the breweries.
WORLDWIDE EMPLOYEES: 17,200
REVENUES: $ 4.8 Billion
PRODUCTION: 25.3 million hectoliters
HEADQUARTERS: Denver, Colorado
Creating demand for new products in order to reach more customers is no different in the beverage industry. Recently Molson Coors expanded into trending markets with two new products, Redd’s Apple Ale and Blue Moon Ales. The multiple styles and flavorings of both offerings allowed Molson Coors to target specific market segments. But more flavor options with increased volumes put an even greater demand on the breweries. This was specifically felt in Wisconsin at the Milwaukee Brewery where the summertime peaks quickly shifted up to 24x7 demand. The toll on the brewery was significant. Increased operating hours meant higher overtime and cost. Even more significant was the effect on the workforce. Overtime hours quickly increased beyond the hours that employees wanted to work. Wisconsin Labor Laws and union seniority rules forced work hours that were less flexible and less predictable. The result was higher costs, increased absenteeism, high employee dissatisfaction, and costly “misses” in production.
One year after implementation, the workforce survey revealed impressive results. Over 80% of employees chose to remain on the new schedule! In addition to positive employee feedback, the analysis of operational metrics showed the schedule to be wildly successful. The brewery produced 10% more beer than the previous year and had fewer production misses. There was a 55% reduction in employee call-offs and a huge reduction in weekend forces. Lance Agbuis, the Brewery Workers UAW Local 9 representative and a sixteen-year veteran summed it up by stating, “I have seen the morale change immensely here.”
Our team of consultants had been engaged with Molson Coors on other projects when the challenges of the growing pains of expansion at the Milwaukee Brewery became very apparent. CCG completed a full business analysis including the cost of time, workload history, workforce history, absenteeism, turnover, logistics routing, historical sales and returns. The analysis focused on staffing requirements, staffing ratios, job descriptions, rotations and potential work rules. The workforce was surveyed, and the results were compared with CCG’s extensive employee database. Following a series of many meetings that educated union leadership and site managers on the issues at hand, the decision was made to implement the change. Coleman showed how an unbalanced 7-day schedule would increase production, improve employee retention, and lower the burden of current overtime costs.
“The work done by the Coleman consultants in our brewery was top shelf. They worked directly with our employees and union leaders to go from an environment of skepticism to an employee vote that changed the brewing schedule dramatically. This new schedule helped our business create more capacity, but most importantly drove improved morale as a direct result of the new schedule.”
-Ken Litke, Vice President Manufacturing