Got You Covered: URC Expands its Reach Thanks to its Regional Distributors

A significant push in nationwide distribution is helping URC achieve its growth targets

In vast archipelagoes such as the Philippines, companies often face many challenges in getting their products to consumers. Fortunately for Universal Robina Corporation, it has built relationships over the years with regional distributors all over the country so that many Filipinos, especially those in far-flung areas, can enjoy their favorite URC snacks and beverages at any time of the year.

To further improve ties with its distributors, URC’s Branded Consumer Foods Group held its 2nd annual Regional Distributor Owners’ Summit at the Blue Leaf Cosmopolitan events venue in Bridgetowne, Quezon City, with 50 distributors from across the Philippines attending the whole-day event. It was a big day for both URC and the company’s exclusive distributor partners coming from as far as Isabela, Cagayan, in the north and down to Zamboanga in the southwestern tip of the country.

URC President and CEO Irwin Lee congratulates the company's exclusive regional distributors for helping URC achieve significant growth in 2019.

Kicking off the summit were presentations by URC President and CEO Irwin Lee and URC Chairman Lance Y. Gokongwei. The company’s performance over the past year and the strategies and expectations for the coming months were some of the pressing issues tackled in their talks. Later in the day, other URC executives led discussions on operations concerns, which sought to improve each regional dealer’s business and provide further strategies to ensure their continuous growth. The topics included General Trade Sales Directions, Sales Operations, Supply Chain and IT concerns, and Trade Marketing tips. A presentation from Robinsons Bank President Elfren “Boyie” Sarte and his team also informed the audience about innovative banking products and services that could help them streamline their operations.   

URC Chairman Lance Y. Gokongwei encouraged the distributors to continue their important role in helping achieve the goals not just of URC, but of the parent conglomerate, JG Summit Holdings.

In the keynote speech, URC Chairman Lance Y. Gokongwei underlined the importance of the regional distributors’ part in meeting the goals not just of the company, but of the conglomerate to which it belongs, JG Summit Holdings. “Looking at the role of URC within our portfolio, URC is classified as our main core business and provides 42% of our revenue,” said Gokongwei. “We expect URC to maintain its role as a consistent growth provider contributing both to top-line revenue and core income, as well as being a consistent dividend provider in the years to come.” 

To continue its growth in the Philippines, URC is determined to become a “partner of choice,” which it intends to do by providing its customers and clients with high-quality products and filling orders on time. Addressing the audience, Gokongwei stressed how its regional dealers are vital to fulfilling the latter task. “We see you as our business partners and our extension to drive our strategies like our Route to Market Availability and Service, which is geared towards increasing our coverage, better productivity and sales quality,” said the URC chairman. “As you can all see, the excellent results of 2019 gave us all the belief that with the right mindset, plans, and discipline, we can achieve our goals even if we face giants and with that, I am very passionate about what 2020 and beyond will bring.”

The chairman’s positivity was shared by URC’s president and CEO, who earlier disclosed URC’s latest performance reports with the Regional Distributors. He said URC BCFG is doing extremely well, marking the first time in three years that URC experienced significant growth.

The growth is attributable to a number of factors, chief among them being the turn-around of the coffee business after the relaunch of Great Taste White and the significant increase in the number of buying accounts serviced by URC and its regional dealers.

URC BCFG's top brass, led by Chairman Lance Gokongwei and President & CEO Irwin Lee, pose with the company's regional dealers.

Lee deflected taking credit for the company’s improvement in the past year, using a Mandarin saying to drive home his point. Translated as “It is better to arrive at the right time, than to arrive early,” Lee explained he had benefited from good timing, thanking his predecessor in the job, the current URC chairman, for laying the groundwork “during the tough times” with the benefits being felt today.

Gokongwei, however, reminded the distributors that despite URC’s current success, everyone should always “keep our eye on the ball.” In parting, he left them with some encouraging food for thought: “Let’s keep stretching ourselves because we can never know what we can generally achieve until we push ourselves to our limits. Some of you may face challenges or missteps along the way, but that is inevitable, especially when you dream big. I look forward to your achievements and know that with support and encouragement of each other on this journey, your success will be our success.”

For more information on URC and its portfolio of products, visit