News International Sugar Journal

Guatemala – La Union wins the national award for operational excellence of its sugar mill

The sugar producer Ingenio La Unión was conferred the winner of the Ricardo Castillo Sinibaldi Productivity and Competitiveness Award during a ceremony on 5th December ’18 in the Guatemala City. The award is presented annually by the Technical Institute for Training and Productivity (Intecap).

The Award was created 15 years ago to recognize companies that have contributed to the development of the country through operational excellence in various areas such as productivity, innovation, competitiveness.

The runner up was the sugar mill Ingenio Magdalena. Therefore, with 12 companies nominated for the award, the two nominees from the sugar industry were acknowledged to be the best.

La Unión received the award for its “commitment to operational excellence for the creation of economic, social, labour and environmental value”, said Intecap.

“We have based our competitiveness strategy on the development of our personnel and it is not just a way of saying things, but it is really a fact,” said the CEO of Ingenio La Unión, Álvaro Ruiz, at the ceremony.

Guatemala’s Minister of Labour and President of the Board of Directors of Intecap, Gabriel Aguilera, highlighted the importance of training and development of personnel at the event.

The Ingenio La Unión is vertically integrated – producing both sugarcane and cane sugar along with cogenerating power. During the campaign period, the company employs over 7500 people.

La Unión’s beginnings were in the Los Tarros farm in 1950 under the guidance of José García, who went from being a prosperous grocery merchant to cultivating cane to be turned into panela and sugar. However, the factory commenced operations in 1970 at Finca Belén, located in Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa, Escuintla. Sugar output in the first campaign was 16,000 tonnes of sugar. Last year, La Union produced 340,000 tonnes sugar.

In the 2017-2018 campaign, the country’s 11 operating sugar mills produced 2,752,575 tonnes sugar.