167: How HEINEKEN and SwipeGuide Are Putting Frontline Workers at the Center of the Connected Brewery

For manufacturing to succeed in 2024 and beyond, it’s crucial we empower our frontline workers. But how can technology and data enhance their work experiences, capitalize on their strengths and build a positive culture? 

We’re delighted to be joined by not one, but two guests in this episode. Joris Stolk, Plant Manager at Lagunitas Brewing Company, and Willemijn Schneyder, CEO and founder of SwipeGuide, join Manufacturing Happy Hour to explore the importance of the frontline worker and how technology can play an integral role in ensuring they are front and center to manufacturing’s future. 

They explore the benefits of empowering the frontline workforce to experiment and how to ensure scalability when testing new ideas. Plus, they take a look at the current landscape of connectivity in manufacturing and share unmissable tips on overseeing digital innovation. 


Apple | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | YouTube

3 Quick Things from this Episode

  1. Frontline enablement is crucial to keep the future of manufacturing on a positive track. 
  2. Removing the guardrails and experimenting can aid success. 
  3. In short, a ‘connected brewery’ is one that uses data and tech to enhance work experiences and processes. 

Enjoying the show? Please leave us a review here. Even one sentence helps. It’s feedback from Manufacturing All-Stars like you that keeps us going!

Tweetable Quotes

  • “The enablement of the frontline workforce is about how we leverage the expertise and inherent skill sets people already have and use technology to expand them.” – Willemijn Schneyder 
  • “It’s fundamental that you know your people well. Do you listen to the right people and know what they’re struggling with?” – Joris Stolk 
  • “If you prioritize an engaged workforce, your climate and your culture will make progress.” – Joris Stolk 

Please Scroll Down for Recommended Resources from this Episode

3M’s Clash of the Grinders: Student Edition is a high-stakes grinding and welding competition that pits soon to be pros against each other to find the next best in the skilled trades. 3M is committed to skilled trade education with a goal of creating 5 million skilled trades and STEM learning experiences designed to inspire curiosity, improve educational outcomes, and provide transformational opportunities for underrepresented individuals. Make sure to subscribe to the 3M Abrasives YouTube channel to catch Clash of the Grinders today. 

EPLAN provides software and service solutions in the fields of electrical engineering, automation, and mechatronics engineering. They’ve developed one of the world’s leading design software solutions for machine, plant, and panel builders, providing data-driven panel design capabilities to manufacturers. Click here to listen to our full interview with EPLAN’s International Solutions Architect Sean Mulherrin. 

What We Discuss with Joris and Willemijn

  • Joris explains how he met Willemijn and they share stories from their early meetings to how they continue to share and grow on their journey today 
  • Willemijn shares why frontline enablement is essential as we head into 2024, and why labor shortages mean employee satisfaction and retention should be front of mind at all times 
  • Joris shares the story behind Lagunitas Brewing Company and tells us the true definition of a ‘connected brewery’, exploring how he uses data and technology to enhance work experiences 
  • The story behind the ‘Digital David’ persona and how it has helped Joris and Willemijn target real pain points 
  • How ‘the connected brewery’ places frontline workers at the center of its operations, digital experiments and expansions 
  • How Joris and Willemijn avoid pilot purgatory and ensure scalability when prioritizing experimentation in ‘connected breweries’ 
  • Joris and Willemijn describe a day in the life of the ‘connected worker’, exploring how the technological and data-driven aspects of their duties have evolved their roles 
  • Hear practical tips from Joris and Willemijn on overseeing an innovative digital initiative, exploring why clarity, excitement and support are integral to success 
  • Joris and Willemijn provide a macro view of how other companies are approaching connectivity and why there has been wholescale change in the past two to three years 

Recommended Resources

  • SwipeGuide, the frontline “how to” platform, including clear-cut instructions, checklists, and skills development 
  • Lagunitas Brewing Company, iconic craft brewery that first began in Petaluma, CA that is now part of HEINEKEN’s global operation with a large brewery and taproom in Chicago, IL 

Connect with  Joris and Willemijn

LinkedIn | Twitter | Joris Stolk | Willemijn Schneyder