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120 years of tradition and innovation - Grupo Mahou-San Miguel


Beer. The oldest and the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world, possibly dating back to the early Neolithic or 9500 BC, recorded in the written history of ancient Iraq and ancient Egypt. Archaeologists believe that beer was instrumental in the formation of civilizations! Beer has changed and developed a lot since its beginnings. Nowadays we know hundreds of beer styles and every country has their own types, just like the most renown breweries have their secret formulas, special production processes passed along from generation to generation. Beer connoisseurs travel around the world to discover new flavors, enjoy new tasting experiences, find the best beer ever brewed. Some countries and regions boast a long tradition of brew, counting hundreds of years. England, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Belgium… These are some of the most renowned beer manufacturers, but not the only one. The right proportion of know-how and innovation, respect for tradition, correct investment decisions, highest possible level of business acumen and most important – guarantee of deliciousness: these are the pillars of a huge international success of an old, esteemed and globally well known Spanish brewery – Mahou San Miguel, a more than a 120 years-old company from Madrid, which managed to achieve an enormous success in an industry, in which Spanish entrepreneurships weren’t treated seriously for a long time. Analyzing the aspects of business activity of a modern, flourishing commercial organization, which Mahou San Miguel has become, we have talked with sources from the company that have help us understand, how a small, family company transformed into one of the most important Spanish exporters…  


Constantly on the move
Everything started more than 60 years ago, with just six original employees of the SlovenjGradecsaddlery in former Yugoslavia, all of themdriven by passion and an entrepreneurial spirit. In essence, little has changed since then, even if the main headquarters of the company are now based in Wolfsburg, Germany,and the business itself is constantly expanding its range of products and services. The principle remains the same: what they do, they do with full conviction and maximum effort. This includes continually exploring new avenues. The strength to do this comes from the young team and sound finances and the courage from their broad past experiences and massive know-how. The statement holds true for their entire product portfolio, be it the comprehensive production of upholstery for cars, production of metal parts for brake systems and transmission systems for passenger vehicles.
Local presence
Prevent has been operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1999. In fact, the idea to launch the production of car upholstery in Visoko dates back to August 1998, when Prevent Sarajevo d.o.o. Visoko was established. The companysoon embarked on the programme toprovide seat covers forVW. Before they knew it, their covers found their way to such flagship modelsas Golf A4. At first, Prevent Sarajevo operated on a limited scale and employed no more than fortypeople. This was not to last, however. Over the last fourteen years, the business has grown rapidly and expanded to give jobs to 5000 workers at six different sites throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, in TopuzovoPolje, Goruša, Zenica, Goražde, Travnik, Srebrenica, Jelah and Sarajevo. To follow in the footsteps of the mother company, Prevent in Bosnia and Herzegovina has also developed its core portfolio, expanded in all directions and is now running both automotive and non-automotive divisions. People at the automotive division are the ones that manufacture seat covers, hides and brake discs. When put together, all these are truly a lion’s share inthe entire output of the company and account for ca. 90 % of its turnover.A perfect complement to this is the non-automotive division, responsible for the production of protective clothing, gummy boats and interior for yachts.
They do what they know best
These two divisions are quintessentially what Prevent is all about. It is good to bear in mind that,60 years back in Slovenia, it all started with protective clothing. These guys have gone a long way and learnt a lot since then. And whenever they get good enough at something to offer it to you as a service, they add a new component to their range. Thevery structure gives a good insight into the company: the Automotive, Services and Specials divisions link the company’s beginnings to their future. They cover more and more of the value-added chain, rounding out the company’s ambition to provide a one-stop shop. They create synergies and give rise to new fields of activity, such as shipbuilding. And they leave room to grow both outwards and inwards. So whatever Prevent does in the future, one thing is certain: they will do it expertly.
References that speak for themselves
Most of the world’s car manufacturers and their key suppliers are already on their books, and most of them have been their customers for years.The automotive industry is fickle and fierce: hardly encouraging to establish long-term relationships. It takes a special approach and strategy to survive and succeed in this ruthless and competitive environment. You have to have an edge to do this and Prevent definitely has such a one.Cost is a decisive factor, but it is not the only one. The company combines excellent cost-effectiveness with customer focus, entrepreneurial thinking, flexibility and a strategic approach. This mix has allowed them to build up long-term partnerships, even in the contemporary and rather shifting marketplace.
Expertise from the seat on up
People at Preventhave worked their way up from seat covers to seat structures and surface finishes, through to brake discs, and they are constantly learning more.That’s the whole secret behind their success. And here’s a handful of facts to prove it. With the daily capacity of over 6000 car sets, Prevent turns out over 1.5 million seat cover setsevery year, which in turn accounts for 15% of annually produced automobiles in Europe. Leather production takes significant part in the overall Prevent export ratio. The reason is simple:these guys are natural experts in leather.It takes a great deal of know-how to make the most of this unique material without neglecting the environment. Before you can sink into a comfortable leather seat, the rawhide has to go through a lot of work, both in treatment and production.
Bosnian impact
Prevent offers expertise in all aspects of both processes, thanks in no small part to the proficiency and experience of the Bosnia-and-Herzegovina-based tannery, which takes up the space of over 20,000 square metres and has daily capacity of ca. 3000 hides. The siteis not only able to satisfy important customer requirements such as durability, colour choice and dirt resistance, but is also there to protect the environment. The environmental credit goes to wastewater treatment and biological filtration systems that have been installed to control the odours that are traditionally part and parcel of the leather treatment process. What is more, Prevent is now actively engaged in developing new techniques and new technology to prevent any environmental damage arising from its production operations.
The unsung hero
Another important section of the automotive division is the manufacture of brake discs, which turns outover four million items every year.The brakes may not be the most captivating part of a vehicle, but it’s safe to say they are one of the most crucial. Deceleration, after all, is not always a question of lifestyle, it can be existential, too. The brake discs at Prevent are as reliable as the company itself. Over the last 25 years, it has risen to the challenge of increasingly stringent safety requirements and now is in a position to offer more and more OEMs a convincing alternative to in-house production. This time the credit goes to the ISO TS 16949 certificate, many years’ experience with mechanical processing and anticorrosive coatings for brake discs and brake drums, state-of-the-art technical equipment, and last but certainly not least, economically viable production in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Trust is indivisible
Prevent is all about loyalty and reciprocity. The leading private employer and the most desirable employer in the production fieldin Bosnia and Herzegovina, Prevent BHgives jobs to a veritable army of more than 5000 workers. When calculated into days, this gives one new employee to be hired every day since the inception of the company.No wonder, then, that people are so keen to join thePrevent team.There are other reasons, too. The company trusts completely in their employees and offers almost unlimited development opportunities. There’s no need for rigid hierarchies at the company, no closed doors, no red tape in the decision-making process. Instead, everyone can make a contribution and, at the end of the day, enjoy their part in and celebrate success.There is one condition, however. The company expects the same undivided trust and full commitment from its employees. That’s the very basis of their working together and shared success. 
Written by Bartosz Sowiński

More than a century of experience       

In 1890, four children of a French entrepreneur from Lorraine, founded a company, which was to change the brewing industry forever - Hijos de Casimiro Mahou, fabrica de hielo y cerveza (The Sons of Casimiro Mahou, production of ice and beer). It is worth noting that one of the founders was a woman – Carolina Mahou, yet there were only “Sons” in the name of the company … Nevertheless, Mahou beer was first produced at the brewery on Amaniel Street, Madrid in 1891 and its importance in the Spanish brewing industry grew slowly. Casimiro Mahou Garcia has become the first Chairman of the Association of Beer Producers in 1922 and after his death in 1943, his son – Alfredo Mahou de la Fuente – assumed responsibility of the company. One of the milestones in the history of the Group was so called the “Manilla Agreement” signed in 1953 between the shareholders of the company La Segarra and the Chairman of the San Miguel Corporation of the Philippines. As a result, a new brewery has been established – La Segarra S.A., which in 1957 changed its name to San Miguel, Fábricas de Cerveza y Malta, S.A. and the very same year Hijos de Casimiro Mahou became Mahou, S.A. As sales figures rose the company moved to a new and bigger building. In 1962 the exportation of San Miguel beer began; with Mahou brewing its first beer at the Paseo Imperial Brewery in Madrid, work on which had begun the previous year. Sometime later, the Mahou brewery on Amaniel Street shut down. Four years later the development of the company gained pace – San Miguel opened a second brewery in Malaga and in 1979 the French industry giant, Danone Group, had acquired a one-third stake in Mahou. In 1992 Danone began the process of acquiring San Miguel. Yet eight years later it was Mahou, which bought 70% of San Miguel from the Danone Group, adding to the 30% stake it already held, thereby creating a wholly Spanish-owned brewery group. After the purchase of San Miguel, Fábricas de Cerveza y Malta, S.A. by Mahou, S.A. at the end of 2000, the company changed its name to become Grupo Mahou-San Miguel. Nowadays, as sources from the company explain, “Mahou San Miguel is a 100% Spanish owned, family company, leader in the brewing industry in our country thanks to the talent of our more than 2,500 professionals.”


Creating the modern definition of company’s value

The Group’s evolution from a small, local brewery into a globally known role model, when it comes to management, investments, strategy of development and quality standards is simply astounding. Mrs. Gil de Castro says that “The company fosters development through internationalization, innovation and continuous improvement and is firmly committed to society”, but that does not explains the secret of the company’s success. Let us look at the most important aspects of the Group’s activity – maybe we will find answers to questions, which asks every ambitious manager in the world? Let’s start with some figures: Grupo Mahou San-Miguel is the leading and the most international brewer in Spain. It produces 75% of the Spanish beer that is exported! In 2012, Mahou-San Miguel has established itself as a leader in the Spanish beer market with a production of 12.3 million hectoliters and a market share of 37%. Sales have reached 1,173 million euros and operating income – 175 million euros. The investments have reached 72 million euros, allocated mainly to boosting the growth of the business as well as the modernization and industrial improvement of the Group’s production centres – eight brewing facilities and two mineral water springs with their own packaging plants. They are all equipped with the latest technology to ensure the excellent quality of products. The company hires more than 2,530 fully professional Employees, perfectly prepared for their tasks. As we can see, Grupo Mahou-San Miguel has everything that is needed to create global trends and continuously strengthen its competitive position, as well as executing its mission: “to Create long-term value. The company moves forward confidently, innovating and diversifying its business with high quality products.” And this is possible not only thanks to the best possible staff, amazing technological background, more than a century of experience and wise strategic decisions of the company’s authorities, but also due to a modern understanding of the definition of company’s value, based equally on the strictest standards of quality, as well as a special approach to the issues of environment protection and Corporate Social Responsibility.


He, who acts responsibly, has a bright future

Grupo Mahou-San Miguel, one of Spain’s ambassadors to the world, carries a great responsibility on its shoulders. A responsibility lying on every company, which has the honor to show the Spanish life style around the globe and promote the European values, such as respect to every human being, right of dignity, care for our planet. That is why Mahou-San Miguel is a socially responsible company. It integrates CSR into how it does things, throughout its entire value chain, from the raw materials the company buys up until the product is delivered to the Consumer. Mrs. Irene Gil de Castro explains that “the Group’s main challenge is to lead the change towards a more sustainable environment and become a reference in CSR in the off-trade sector. To do this, it takes on voluntary commitments in environmental, economic and social matters, which also contribute to strengthening its long-term leadership. Under the slogan An active commitment, its strategy in the field of CSR is structured around six pillars, each of which takes on specific commitments: to be the company that has the lowest environmental footprint, to be a leader in promoting a healthy lifestyle, to be the partner of choice for its Clients and Suppliers, to be the most trusted company among its interest groups, to be the best place to work at and to continue generating wealth locally.” It would be impossible to point out every possible initiative, foundation, sponsorship undertaken by Grupo Mahou San-Miguel, as well as prestigious awards granted by various organizations in Spain and abroad, which recognized and appreciated all the good done by the company during all these years. Scholarship programs, volunteer initiatives throughout the country, several honorable titles, such as Most Equal Company or Family Friendly Company, millions and millions of euros spent to promote environmental protection, sports, local communities, culture, fashion and gastronomy… This is only a drop in the sea of the company’s actions, which we will surely see more in the coming years. Thanks to such a policy of development, management philosophy and organizational culture, The Mahou-San Miguel brand family has not stopped growing since 1890. Today it has one of the most comprehensive and varied ranges on the market to accompany Cinsumers during their moments of pleasure. And what will the future of the company bring? We are thrilled to find out... 


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