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When Coca-Cola came only in little green bottles and was the soft-drink maker's single brand, replenishing stores was a simple matter. Drivers loaded their trucks with product and dropped whatever was needed at the businesses on their route.
The environment at Coke's bottlers and distributors today is far more complex, as evidenced by Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated in Charlotte, N.C. CCBCC is Coca-Cola's second-largest bottler in the U.S. and one of the highest per-capita soft drink bottlers in the world. It bottles, packages and distributes 13,000 SKUs to 200,000 customers throughout 11 Southeastern states, delivering more than 125 million cases of product each year. Nearly all of its customers engage in frequent promotions and aggressive discounting - often with little or no notice to the bottler - that can result in dramatic swings in volume for particular products. With five bottling plants and 60 distribution centers, knowing what to produce and how much to ship to which locations are critical issues.
Before implementing a collaborative demand planning and forecasting system from Manugistics, Rockville, Md., two years ago, these issues were "pain points" for the bottling company. "We were very efficient at producing product, but we really didn't know what we should be making," says Brian Wieland, director of demand planning at CCBCC.
|It wanted a collaborative solution on the front end to enable its field sales staff to have real-time, dynamic input into the forecasting process.|
|"With the Collaborate application, our sales managers are able to provide local intelligence to the system."|
- Brian Wieland of CCBCC
|"Given the dynamic marketplace we operate in, being able to react on the fly like that is really an important benefit."|
- CCBCC's Wieland
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