We checked out of the Hotel Feller in São Paulo at 7 a.m. to head for the PepsiCo snack production facility in Sorocaba, São Paulo. An hour and a half bus ride turned into two and a half hours due to a highway accident detour.
The PepsiCo site at Sorocaba, built in 1966, is responsible for 15% of PepsiCo’s national snack production. The plant manager made it very clear in his presentation that the plant is taking important measures to improve employee satisfaction such as increases in benefits, family work days, and promotion & recognition at annual receptions. Another notable aspect of employee empowerment at the plant is the self-management model for operators. The plant hopes to automate all packaging processes by 2017 in order to increase efficiency.
Next it was time to suit up for a facility tour! We were able to view the production and packaging of many prominent Brazilian treats (and were even able to taste some snacks warm off the assembly line!)
After finishing our visit with a lunch in the PepsiCo cafeteria, we boarded the bus and headed to Piracicaba; along the way, getting a Portuguese lesson from our guide, André. We picked up some Brazilian friends at ESALQ (the agricultural university in Piracicaba), who had helped coordinate a visit to a sugar cane production, harvest and ethanol plant, Granelli Mill in Charqueada. We were able to view the entire ethanol production line while our tour guides and friends from ESALQ explained the processes to us. The plant is capable of producing cachaça (alcoholic beverage used in the famous Brazilian Caipirinha drinks), ethanol, syrup and finally, sugar!We ended a long, eventful and exciting day with a late evening dinner at a burger joint near the hotel in Piracicaba. It was a great day full of amazing experiences and we can’t wait to meet up with our new Brazilian friends at ESALQ tomorrow!