Innovation that matters
Great Plains Coca-Cola refreshes its customers’ inventory with real-time order processing.
■ Business Challenge A leader in the soft drink bottling industry, Great Plains Coca-Cola sought to extend that leadership by giving its customers the leanest, most efficient inventory practices possible. While its just-in-time processes were a good foundation, gaps in its order processing flow kept the company from achieving true optimization. ■ Solution Great Plains worked with IBM Business Partner eTech Solutions to redesign and integrate its order processes in a way that delivered seamless real-time data flow from the field to factory floor. This synchronized data throughout the company and tightened its just-intime processes. ■ Key Benefits • 30 percent reduction in inventory costs due to tighter just-in-time processes • Improved responsiveness to customer demand, evidenced by a doubling of the frequency of customer deliveries • Improved merchandising productivity It’s hard to find a business that’s quite like soft drink bottling. While changes in bottling technologies, production scale and other key factors have been the catalyst for its constant evolution, the bottling industry continues to follow the two-tiered production model set down more than a century ago. Under this model, “parent” beverage companies such as Coca Cola and Dr Pepper produce syrup concentrate, which is then sold to a host of bottling companies – each granted an exclusive regional franchise – which mix the concentrate with water and sweeteners and package the final product into bottles and cans.
Great Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Company is the sixth-largest Coca-Cola bottler in North America, with sales over US$250 million. With a field force of 1,000 and fleet of 350 trucks, the company serves 20,000 customers in central and northeast Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas.
“ Our large retail customers are demanding we adopt the most efficient replenishment...