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Kepler Weber: A unique player in the post-harvest solutions in Latin America

14 April 20208 min reading

Piero Abbondi, CEO of the Kepler Weber: “On its long journey, Kepler Weber developed a complete product portfolio that allows us to offer solutions in the grain storage and dry-bulk cargo handling operations in port terminals and transshipments hubs. Nowadays, we are the leaders in the post-harvest solutions in the productive grain chain in South America. The company has been selling equipment for more than 40 countries, in five continents. Our robustness, capacity and engineering qualification allows us to count on the best suppliers in the market. Our brand is recognized as a vanguard in innovation in Latin America post-crop market.”

We have an important guest for Miller Magazine’s Technology Platform section: Mr. Piero Abbondi, CEO of the Kepler Weber, leader of the post-harvest grain solutions in Latin America. The Brazilian company is specialized in manufacturing steel silos, horizontal and vertical conveyors, grain dryers and grain cleaning machines. With a 95-year history, the company holds a 40% share in the Brazilian market. The company exports for more than 40 countries, in five continents.

Labeling the company as ‘a unique player in the post-harvest solutions’, Mr. Abbondi highlights the Kepler Weber’s innovative character. When asked about the company’s success, “Kepler Weber achieved its leadership due to the combination of special client service and a unique capacity of innovation, presenting to our customers the most innovative solution and technology. Our brand is recognized as a vanguard in innovation in Latin America post-crop market.” he states. He proudly recalls their digital platform, called Sync. It is the first platform in Brazil prepared for connecting all post-harvest equipment by an IoT platform. “I believe that the main trend to grain storage is the data monitoring and automation process growth. I have no doubt that the equipment technology will be following this trend, reducing costs, increasing productivity, improving the operations and ensuring grain quality,” he underlines.

Here is the answers of Piero Abbondi, CEO of the Kepler Weber, to our questions.

Kepler Weber has 95 years of history. It has been a long journey. Can you tell us about your company’s history in the industry? Kepler Weber was founded in 1925 as a very small iron workshop in Neu Wurtemberg, a German background Village, nowadays Panambi, Brazil. As everybody knows Germans are very skilled people to work with iron and with much resilience and willpower. The Kepler family drove the company until 1996, some Brazilian pension funds acquired the company. Nowadays we are the unique player in this market segment as a listed Company at São Paulo stock exchange (KEPL3).

On its long journey, Kepler Weber developed a complete product portfolio that allows us to offer solutions in the grain storage and dry-bulk cargo handling operations in port terminals and transshipments hubs. Nowadays, we are the leaders in the post-harvest solutions in the productive grain chain in South America. The company has been selling equipment for more than 40 countries, in five continents.

Kepler Weber achieved its leadership due to the combination of special client service and a unique capacity of innovation, presenting to our customers the most innovative solution and technology.

What kind of role and place does Kepler Weber in its sector? Could you tell us how your company has come to its current position? What do you owe your success to? Kepler Weber is a Brazilian company that is celebrating the 95th anniversary in 2020. As a result of its successful journey, we achieved the 21st Century as the absolute leader of the post-harvest grain solutions in Brazil and Latin America. There are several reasons that lead us to the top of the market in our region, but I can highlight the focus on a client service and high investments in innovation and technology.

Can you give us some information about your production capacity and facilities? Kepler Weber is specialized in manufacturing equipment for post-harvest solutions such as steel silos, horizontal and vertical conveyors, grain dryers and grain cleaning machines. Our whole portfolio of solutions is produced on our two facilities, one located in the state of Rio Grande do Sul – where the company was founded – and the other in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. Kepler Weber has more than 1.000 employees in both factories. We also count on four Distribution Centers in Brazil - which facilitate the access of our customers to spare parts and technical assistance.

There are many companies in the grain storage and handling industry. What are the qualities and characteristics that make you different from your rivals? Kepler Weber is the absolute leader in the national post-harvest solutions market. With a 95-year history, the company holds a 40% share into the Brazilian market. In addition, the fact of been reference in the development of new technologies and customer service put the company in a unique position compared to its competitors. We have the capacity, technical expertise, engineering qualification, and know-how to deliver a superior value-added solution to our clients.

Kepler Weber is a market leader in Latin America but you have a global presence. In overseas markets, which regions are you most active in? Where are the most promising markets in terms of exports? Our focus remains on Latin America, however, we continue to operate in Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe. We have already exported to more than 40 countries, where we continue to provide the necessary support to our customers.

We see opportunities in all countries. Obviously, each one with its social, political and financial particularities. After all, the world needs food, and storage facilities are a key part of the food production chain. You export your products to many countries. It needs a solid supply chain. How do you manage this? We have a robust supply chain structure, carefully managed by our team, in accordance with the quality standards of our brand. Our robustness, capacity and engineering qualification allows us to count on the best suppliers in the market. The purchased materials are monitored by our team that constantly guide our purchasing decisions according to quality and performance criteria. You opened a technological center in 2012. It shows your passion for innovation. What can you say about the innovations and solutions that you have brought to the grain storage industry? Innovation is one of our priorities. Our brand is recognized as a vanguard in innovation Latin America post-crop market. Recently we launched our digital platform, called sync. Sync is the first platform in Brazil prepared for connecting all post-harvest equipment by an IoT platform. For us, sync is a great evolution to farmers and companies that are in the grain processing business. What can you say about the trends in grain storage? As all markets, I believe that the main trend to grain storage is the data monitoring and automation process growth. I have no doubt that the equipment technology will be following this trend, reducing costs, increasing productivity, improving the operations and ensuring grain quality.

You will celebrate the 100th anniversary in 2025. It is a great milestone for a company. Looking to the future, what do you believe the challenges and opportunities are for the company? Can you tell us about your plans and expectations for years to come? Based on the food demand world increase, we believe in the agribusiness market growth around the world, and we are certain that storage is a strategic business to ensure sustainable growth of the agribusiness supply chain.

Currently, the world changes very fast, and to be up to these changes, innovation has been one of our priorities, following global trends which position Kepler Weber as a reference on technology in our field.

Brazil has managed to become a top 3 exporter of major food and industrial commodities (soybeans, corn) but it has logistics and infrastructure challenges. How Kepler can help to overcome these challenges? Kepler has an important role in this issue, as the largest company in Brazil in the segment of solutions in the grain storage and dry-bulk cargo handling operations in port terminals and transshipments hubs. We have capacity and strength to support the market growth, but it also depends on economic and political factors, as long-term investment public programs to grain storage structures, greater confidence for the private sector to invest in the country and mindset changes of the grain producer to prioritize investments in grain storage. In Brazil, only 16% of storage capacity is located on farms, while in the USA for example, this number is 56%. We believe that there is already a movement and awareness for this to change, but it is necessary to speed up the process with clearer policies and more robust and sustainable plans.

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