TPM at Sauza: An Interview with Mr. Alvarado, Bottling (Part 1)

por Equipo estratégico tequila Sauza | Dec 20, 2021 9:17:56 AM



We had the opportunity to interview Mr. José Luis Alvarado, Engineer, Manager of Sauza's Bottling Area. He was happy to share the following information with us:

  1. About himself, as a Sauza woker
  2. The beginnings of the implementation of TPM in Sauza
  3. How he understands and lives TPM
  4. The sharing of Sauza's information/knowledge with universities
  5. The current state of this strategy, the tangible results
  6. The value that Sauza sees in its people, GPTW
  7. Future projects with TPM

In this first part of the interview, we will address the first 4 issues mentioned above and, in a second part, the remaining 3. Without further ado, we give voice to Mr. Alvarado:

Who is José Luis Alvarado?

I am Sauza's Bottling Area Manager, a Food Engineer. I come from Mexico City and have been working at Casa Sauza for 11 years now. It was something new for me to move from Mexico City and to work in the food industry. I first worked in the dairy industry and then switched to the tequila industry. This switch was something new because we were going to implement and improve (I would even say innovate) the best manufacturing practices that were already being applied to the dairy industry (more specifically the yogurt industry) to the tequila industry.

How did your career trajectory started here in Sauza?

It's been 11 years, since in 2008. It represented a challenge both in a personal/professional level, as well as in the implementation of TPM level. The challenge was to go beyond applying a simple implementation of TPM, since we achieved a very efficient implementation, given that in other industries, the TPM implementation time is usually of 7 years, while here at Sauza, we finished the first stage in 5 years.

For me, working with this new methodology meant an improvement in people's working culture. Throughout these 11 years, we've learned that we haven't changed the working culture itself, we've just improved it here at Sauza.

How did TPM arrive to Sauza?

This story started about 18 years ago, at an ice cream manufacturing company. That's where the implementation of TPM began, where the first contact with the Japanese government was made. It started because I wanted to meet people who did things right at the first time, without doing so many "re-jobs".

It was there that I met different consultants, including Yuri Suru. When I made the first contact with the personalities of Japan, I liked it, I loved their systemic way of thinking in order to achieve easy results and in a simple way. In other words, I learned to not just work for a system, but learn how to work so that using the same system, you achieve better results. I loved the visual part, that everything is visual and presented in a systemic way.

I think the challenge here has been ... Japan has something that has been hard for Mexicans to understand. It's a value, it's a custom, it's a habit, and it is called discipline. I think a confrontation happens whenever Japan wants to apply TPM anywhere else in the world, due to the difference in values. Mexicans, although we are very creative, we also have a hard time working with this "tiny" thing called discipline.

So I loved all this Japanese philosophy and that was my "eureka" moment, the moment when I thought we should apply TPM to the dairy industry, to the food industry and as we do these days, to the spirits industry.

11 years ago, when I was given the challenge of applying the Toyota system to the tequila industry, I thought it was something quite innovative but, when I was told about applying it to a living being, to the agave plant, to the planting industry, I loved the idea!

So I consider that in these 11 years, far from making an implementation, what we have done has been an innovation. Not only in the tequila industry, but in the system of thought that Japan has with the rest of the world. That for me, I think it's a credit that Sauza has as a spearhead.

How does TPM Engineer Alvarado TPM live?

When I say "work", what I really say is "I enjoy what I do" because they pay me to do something that I love to do day and night, and they also give me a bonus here at the company! In other words, I would define TPM as finding a personal and professional balance. What does this mean?

It is for example like when you eat a lot of sugar, drink a lot of soda, or alcoholic beverages ... initially your body is designed to have basic, normal conditions, however, when there is an excess, there is an imbalance, there is an agglomeration of sugar, your Body. For me that means TPM, having those exact conditions in your personal life, those adequate amounts so that you can go out in your day-to-day life and you can have a bigger or at least happier life cycle.

In other words, if you find that balance in what surrounds you as a team and that balance you extend to your personal life, not too much, not too limited, I think then you are doing what we know as balance of life, balance. And when you find those exact proportions, that's when you have a flawless system. For me that is TPM: finding the right conditions for any system, be it a human body, be it a machinery, it doesn't matter what you're producing! be it ice cream, yogurt or a bottle of tequila.

Sauza and its links with Universities

Both the universities, especially the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, and the Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT), consider Casa Sauza as a benchmarking in terms of good practices.

It has been a lot of knowledge that we have developed in Sauza and we have shared something we call a social mortgage. Sauza has a lot of knowledge and for that reason, we decided to teach at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara (UAG) to be able to share these good practices, taking care of Casa Sauza's confidential information. Currently we have the opportunity to teach the subject of Packaging in the master's degree at the UAG and also in the diploma courses managed by the UAG together with the CRT. I think that is a watershed in marking Sauza's participation in the tequila industry.


With these words we ended the first part of the interview that Engineer Alvarado kindly granted us. Don't miss our next post to learn more about TPM in Sauza, especially in regards to:

Tangible results of this strategy
The value that Sauza places on the work of his people
What is expected in the future with this project.

If you want to know more about Sauza's production processes, we invite you to come to our plant and learn more about our facilities.

(CTA tours)


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