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Anheuser-Busch InBev’s distribution strategy model

16 January 2017

Over the past 10 years Anheuser-Busch InBev (A-B InBev) has grown its global distribution network using a strategy which goes against the grain for traditional brewery specifications. In place of cost and time intensive permanent structures, it has adopted a design-driven approach in partnership with Herchenbach, a manufacturer of temporary buildings and semi-permanent warehouses. 

Having commissioned Herchenbach on previous distribution projects, A-B InBev consulted the company again when evaluating growth plans for its UK site in Magor, South Wales. After conducting a feasibility study, which confirmed the suitability of a semi-permanent structure on the existing site, Tobias Raeber, managing director at Herchenbach, worked with his team to take the project from design through to installation. 

A-B InBev seeks to protect its image in every aspect of operations – including its warehousing and distribution facilities. At the same time it strives to minimise environmental impact while maximising cost efficiency. To help achieve these objectives within its growth strategy, AB-InBev consulted Herchenbach on semi-permanent building solutions – resulting in its high-grade aluminium structures becoming the preferred specification. 

“The off-site building approach, which our systems support, can deliver sustainable advantages. Unlike traditional build techniques, where there are high volumes of transport required for materials, our deliveries to site are minimal which helps to reduce the carbon footprint on every project,” explains Raeber. 

All components of the modular system are designed to deliver the quality for the lifetime of the structure. The roof materials, for example, undergo a manufacturing process which prevents discolouring over time. 

The design and construction of a semi-permanent structure can be a good choice for warehousing and distribution centres. For example, at A-B InBev the ambient light and temperature of Herchenbach buildings contribute to a reduction in operational spend while the cost savings realised by the initial build process equate to approximately 50%. A-B InBev also benefits from increased flexibility when developing new sites, as the systems can be installed on a range of ground types, including asphalt and composite paving. 

There is also a clear commercial advantage, including the speed of the build. Once the design details were approved for the Magor site, Herchenbach constructed a 10,000m2 semi-permanent structure, complete with service lines, doors, gates and lighting, in under five weeks. 

“We’ve developed our systems over many years which means we are able to meet local building standards without having to manufacture or source bespoke solutions,” continues Raeber. 

The tried and tested development model which A-B InBev has pioneered offers a best-practice example of a partnership approach with the system manufacturer. A-B InBev benefits from expert technical guidance during feasibility study stages, and is able to access a range of flexible financing options offered by Herchenbach. 

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