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Customer Story: HEINEKEN

Here's how HEINEKEN uses SwipeGuide to deliver essential operational knowledge to the shop floor.

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HEINEKEN is the number 1 beer manufacturer in Europe, and number 2 in the entire world. 

With more than 150 breweries globally and over 65 languages spoken, their supply chain is complex and diverse. Driven towards continuous improvement, HEINEKEN aims to improve efficiency in its manufacturing operations.

As Gartner puts it, “organizations armed with digital forces are disrupting business models with new value propositions.” HEINEKEN is no exception. Like every major manufacturer, they want to digitize their operations that work in harmony with the changing technologies, workforce, and challenges that come with success in Industry 4.0. 

HEINEKEN has used the SwipeGuide workforce excellence platform to deliver digital standard work that empowers knowledge sharing throughout a global value chain. This ability to effortlessly capture and share best practices allows HEINEKEN to reduce errors and drive First Time Right in its breweries.


We're an integral part of HEINEKEN's long-term Digital Roadmap.

We’ve partnered with HEINEKEN to deliver radically human solutions in its breweries. HEINEKEN is continually working to expand its digital tool box in order to become a leaner and more effective brewer. 

As we began our collaboration, we jointly identified a number of areas where we were able to improve productivity and proficiency with a digital platform.

  • Building resilience and agility through faster learning and portable knowledge on the shop floor.

  • Identifying and solving problems with a digital solution that allows for collaboration and knowledge sharing across the globe.

  • Reimagining paper and PDF work instructions that were either underutilized or disregarded, to increase knowledge portability and on-the-job learning.

  • Helping employees use existing instruction materials that were difficult to find when needed, text-heavy, and not designed for effective use in the manufacturing workplace.

  • Removing the need for a small set of people who create and distribute procedural knowledge on the production lines. Instead, ownership of content creation and the resulting feedback loop is given back to teams and their supervisors. 

  • Obtaining practical insights to measure real results and ensure continuous improvement at the lines.


Empowering a long-term digital transformation.

As a global leader in the modern beverage manufacturing industry, HEINEKEN has a scalable and future-proof plan for how they’ll tackle its digital transformation. SwipeGuide has long been established as an integral facet of this initiative. As a part of their Connected Brewery program, we’ve changed the way that they approach the production, distribution, and tracking of work instructions and procedures on the shop floor.

We know from experience that adopting a digital Workforce Excellence platform has immediate effects on efficiency, productivity, and safety. Our collaboration with HEINEKEN is no exception. 

But we also recognize that no single solution is enough to enact an effective digital transformation. Rather, the SwipeGuide platform integrates within HEINEKEN’s existing range of digital tools to boost portable knowledge capture and promote a connected and scalable way of working.  As a Workforce Excellence platform, we democratize knowledge to deliver impact where it matters - in the hands of the employees.

HEINEKEN’s Connected Brewery initiative represents a holistic approach to developing a future-proof way of working in its global supply chain. Focused on developing a sustainable and scalable tech ecosystem, it combines the human and mechanical elements of operations with an innovative program.


Connected Worker.

HEINEKEN has made it its mission to improve the daily life of its employees, supported by digital tools. These are the apps and initiatives that focus on supporting the human elements of HEINEKEN’s operations in order to improve productivity, communication, and safety on the factory floor.


Smart Brewery.

These are the elements connected to the machine and production side of the operations. These initiatives use digital solutions to improve analytics and anticipate the behavior of machines on the shop floor. Working in harmony, this program elevates the human and machine components of the HEINEKEN workforce with a scalable, proactive approach to continuous improvement.

"SwipeGuide is relevant, cost-effective, rapidly implemented, and expanded with user-friendliness in an almost plug-and-play mode. Simply stated: this should be in your Data and Digitalization bucket list. Don't get ready, get started."

Brewery manager


Use case 1: better work instructions for operators.

HEINEKEN puts the employee at the center of everything it does. Manufacturing success ultimately hinges on machine operators and the confidence that they have the tools and knowledge to get the job done and maintain machines at peak performance. 

Through user-focused digital work instructions delivered to a mobile device, HEINEKEN has made work instructions that are easy to use to achieve their global standards.

In a word, success with SwipeGuide is effortless.


Effortless distribution.

The automatic QR code generator means that machine operators at HEINEKEN simply scan a code on their machine to access the work instruction they need for the task at hand. This provides instant knowledge and takes the time and guesswork out of receiving support.



Heineken QR distribution (2)-1


User-focused and easy to use.

Within the platform, work instructions are presented in a simple, visual interface that translates well for both digital natives and those employees who are not as savvy with technology. They just have to swipe from one step to the next to complete their task.



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Immediate access to accurate knowledge.

Similar to their supervisors, operators now have confidence that the instructions at hand are the most current version. If individuals know that what they’re using is the most current information - especially if they see their own input involved - they’re much more inclined to follow the directions to the letter.


Promote on-the-job learning. 

Workforce Excellence platforms aren’t beneficial if users create sub-standard content. That’s why we work closely with our customers, including HEINEKEN, to teach them how to create work instructions that effectively facilitate knowledge retention and on-the-job learning. HEINEKEN relies on ongoing support in the form of train-the-trainer programs and content reviews at regular intervals. 

These training programs are more effective because they can be delivered straight from the relevant machine - each employee gets relevant, interactive lessons directly on the production line.


Effort Score



SwipeGuide allows HEINEKEN to capture, review, and implement the knowledge of its experts - the employees who use these machines on a daily basis. When a user, in this case a machine operator, has a suggestion about how to improve a process or procedure they simply use the built-in Instruction Comment feature to leave detailed feedback. First-Time-Right effort is also gauged through detailed instruction scoring campaigns, delivered to operators during their work. This directly involves the workforce in the instruction creation process and simplifies the process of opening a feedback loop.

“For us operators, SwipeGuide is a very useful tool. We can easily check the procedures, standards, and OPLs of any machine we’re standing next to.”

Machine Operator

iso device without partners

Shopfloor integration.

SwipeGuide doesn’t just work in a vacuum - our platform integrates with a wide variety of shop floor apps to boost overall productivity, communication effectiveness, skills management, and performance.

Example: our partnership with XMReality uses augmented reality to deliver troubleshooting support in those instances where work instructions simply aren’t enough. Machine operators are able to visualize remote support for the task at hand. Read more about our integrations and partnerships here.


Use Case 2: Standard work for supervisors.

Knowledge on the shop floor is essential. Whether it’s making sure that an operator on a bottling line has the correct instructions for lubricating their machine, a supervisor recording the expertise of a veteran employee, or sharing standard operating procedures across a company - technical know-how is the secret to getting the job done right. 

HEINEKEN uses SwipeGuide to deliver the right knowledge in the moment of need and give supervisors the confidence that work is being done correctly, the first time. 

But to understand how this happens, we need to take a step back and first look at how platforms like SwipeGuide facilitate knowledge capture and standardization.



Knowledge capture and authoring.

A collaborative and democratized workforce excellence platform changes the way that standard work is created. Instead of a few individuals responsible for creating, reviewing, and editing work instructions, HEINEKEN uses SwipeGuide to give the control back to the experts - in a format that’s easy to use and simple to distribute.

  • Tablet editing allows every content creator to capture images and create work instructions on the production line - they can use their own expert knowledge to author and improve standards that capture the optimal way of working.

  • Templates, image overlays, and custom notes within work instructions allow essential knowledge to be communicated while still keeping an instruction’s minimalist flow.

  • Team leaders can collect, review, and implement feedback from teams on the shop floor via comments left directly in the content. Through this direct feedback, supervisors can act directly to continuously improve processes while ensuring that no crucial information is lost.




Standardization and distribution.

HEINEKEN also knows that work instructions kept in a binder don’t work very well. They require physical effort and cost expensive downtime to access - and when the operators do find them, there’s a chance that they’re damaged or worse, out of date.

  • Incorrect (old or otherwise obsolete) knowledge on a production line can - best case - cause expensive errors, downtime, and product defects. Worst case scenario, they pose a serious safety risk.

The problem with traditional paper and PDF work instructions is that in order to make changes and update shop floor knowledge, supervisors and team leaders must physically distribute and replace old material. 

HEINEKEN uses SwipeGuide to eliminate these concerns. Edits can be made to a work instruction from the production line, and the updated standards are instantly in the hands of employees. Team leaders at HEINEKEN can have the confidence that their teams will follow the (correct) work instruction and get the job done quickly and correctly. 

How can we ensure that the information is correct? The SwipeGuide platform provides a comprehensive feature for approval workflows - this means that HEINEKEN can review any new or updated content to make sure it’s up to their rigorous standards.

This simplicity and accuracy translates directly into better FTR, CILT scores, and a reduction in errors and downtime.




Use Case 3: Global Standardization

SwipeGuide has been rapidly adopted by the HEINEKEN Global Supply Chain and welcomed into over 75 breweries throughout its global network. Many HEINEKEN breweries worldwide are now able to effortlessly visualize digital standard work with SwipeGuide. 

But nothing great ever happens in a vacuum. They use the SwipeGuide platform to promote global scalability and enterprise knowledge sharing. With SwipeGuide, breweries around the world are able to capture, share, and standardize knowledge and best practices.

Breweries can share new innovations and processes, from any location, effortlessly across their supply chain with our Multi-Space feature. HEINEKEN can adapt the most effective instructions and initiatives and incorporate them as Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) anywhere in the world. These new SOPs can be shared easily with breweries in other locations that share the same hardware and help inspire improvements throughout a global supply chain.



Two HEINEKEN breweries, one in South Africa and the other in Mexico, share the same machinery on a bottling line. “Tanya,” a machine operator in South Africa, has an insight about how to save 5 minutes on a routine machine changeover procedure that she does every day. She lets her supervisor know, and their factory is able to increase their productivity and efficiency. 

Rather than having this knowledge stay at this brewery, these Standard Operating Procedures can be shared with the brewery in Mexico to be used in the same bottling line. With SwipeGuide as an integral part of HEINEKEN’s global knowledge base, innovations and improvements are no longer localized - democratic knowledge and continuous improvement has become a global standard.


The return on investment.


HEINEKEN measures their operational efficiency with a metric known as Operational Performance Indicators. The purpose of OPI is to create a standard measurement for production line performance - a ratio between theoretical production time and the actual effective working time in any production environment.

Through the reduction of downtime and changeover times, HEINEKEN has increased their OPI significantly.

How was this accomplished? The simplicity and clarity of SwipeGuide’s digital work instructions allow for significantly more efficient product changeovers - (or the process of switching components and machine parts to accomplish different tasks in a production line)

An increase in OPI translates to huge cost savings for HEINEKEN. Not only in the hourly rate of operating machines and employee overtime, but also in the increase of production capacity and throughput.

Extract Losses.

Extract losses, the loss of product due to a defect or production error, have also been reduced dramatically. The increased availability of knowledge and increased First-Time-Right means fewer mistakes made by frontline employees and less waste for the brewery.

FTR stands for First Time Right, and is tied directly to error reduction. HEINEKEN uses this metric to ensure that processes in the brewery are performed correctly, the first time. When FTR increases, it means that employees are spending less time correcting mistakes and are producing higher-quality products at a faster rate.

We’ve accomplished this by making sure that machine operators have the correct knowledge in the moment of need. Rather than doing “the best they can,” they’re always guided to execute the process on a mobile device.

With SwipeGuide, FTR rates at HEINEKEN have soared. This represents significantly less waste of raw and packaging materials, a significant reduction in defects, and improved product quality.



HEINEKEN uses a methodology known as 5S to qualify and standardize hygiene practices, workspace cleanliness, and the efficiency of work on the shop floor. Since implementing SwipeGuide, 5S scores around the world have increased due to better access to work instructions, standard operating procedures, and hygiene best practices.

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CILT Standards.

Cleaning Inspection Lubrication and Tightening is a crucial process used to ensure the success of regular machine maintenance. CILT standards focus on the cleaning, lubrication, and inspection of critical points on the factory floor. Great instructions help employees execute these tasks with less hesitation and frustration, and with greater accuracy by clearly outlining the individual steps. The minimalist and highly visual design of the platform also encourages on-the-job learning that lasts longer than traditional classroom training.

With SwipeGuide, HEINEKEN has seen the execution of CILT improve steadily. This means their machines run more efficiently and with fewer expensive failures and instances of unplanned downtime.


Coaching and Training.
One of the most innovative applications of the SwipeGuide platform at HEINEKEN has been the implementation of daily coaching sessions and One Point Lessons, facilitated by SwipeGuide’s intuitive step-by-step interface. Employees simply scan a QR code and receive important lessons on working safer, smarter, and more efficiently.

“The main advantage of SwipeGuide is that we can access our procedures in a faster and more agile way.”

Machine Operator




A global narrative.

What do cupcakes have to do with digital transformation? Quite a bit, actually.

A critical part of any successful digital transformation is making sure that everyone within an organization is enthusiastic and informed about the tools in use on the shop floor. One brewery in South Africa stepped up to the challenge in a particularly...delicious way.

This brewery decided to throw a launch party to familiarize their staff with some of the key functionalities of the SwipeGuide platform by giving out cupcakes with QR codes attached, that they could scan with their phones to win prizes.

While it sounds like fun and games, this initiative helped new adopters learn-while-doing and see for themselves the potential of ridiculously simple knowledge delivery for the shop floor. It also helped inspire enthusiasm and awareness for the solution in other breweries.

Our journey started as a successful proof of value within the Alken Maes brewery in Belgium. After the success of this program, more and more sites around the world saw the value of our platform and how well it integrated with existing solutions and ways of working. 

SwipeGuide is now used in over 75 HEINEKEN breweries.  

This methodology has shaped our implementation strategy with HEINEKEN as a whole - we’ve demonstrated the value and power of the SwipeGuide solution, and inspired individual breweries to adopt digital work instructions from a bottom-up approach. 

As we grow within the global HEINEKEN network, we’re continuously improving our solution based on the real needs and feedback of breweries around the world.

We believe in a philosophy of continuous improvement that mirrors that of any successful manufacturer: we incorporate feedback and needs in real time, facilitated by regular check-ins, and use this information to shape our own development roadmap. Combined with a transparent approach to our feature roadmap, we ensure that we facilitate digital transformation and also guarantee SwipeGuide as a scalable and practical investment in the long term.




With the SwipeGuide platform, HEINEKEN can create and distribute standardized, up-to-date knowledge and specifications in real-time. Our visual drag-and drop-editor allows users to create effective instructions in just a few minutes. 

Our collaboration also represents HEINEKEN’s dedication to creating a scalable, enterprise digital transformation that empowers employees and keeps them as the heroes of their daily work. As an integral component of their Connected Worker and Connected Brewery programs, we allow for knowledge capture and sustainable, continuous improvement to happen on a daily basis.

We’re delivering work instructions for the future - for success in this industrial revolution and the next.