Coca Cola and the Ever-Expanding Area of Operations

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The Coca Cola Company has continually strived to be one of the most respected leaders within the beverage industry. Obtaining the status of one of the most valuable brands in the world, it has come to my attention as Vice President of Operations that there are a few items that need addressing. In an examination of the mission and vision of Coca-Cola, there are certain tasks that have been implemented thus far that do no align superbly with our operational strategy. Operational strategy, as has been described in our guide is essentially created to maximize the effectiveness of both production and the elements of support while also ensuring that costs are also minimized. The three tasks that are not aligning with the operation strategy are the production of Cherry Coke versus the other flavors; ascertaining consumer demand to ensure that our suppliers are fully stocked with all Coca Cola products and the process by which we are collecting data on a monthly and annual basis with regard to entire operations.

In analyzing these tasks with regard to our operational strategy, it stands to reason that there are weaknesses associated with them which is why they are problematic. When Coca-Cola "made a better-late-than never decision to put Cherry Coke in bottles and cans, in its first flavored variation of the soft drink" ("Soft Drinks: I Gave My Love a Cherry Coke," 1985) it was due to the fact that we had determined that other flavors such as lemon, lime, and vanilla were not as a popular as cherry was. Our current operations per data reports show that Cherry Coke is still quite popular among the general public but that we are not making enough in our operations given its popularity as "altogether 1.7 billion servings of Coke products are consumed every day [by customers and we] have a firm lead in the U.S. carbonated drinks market with 42.8% market share" (Bhasin, 2011). Therefore, in our examination of the popular demand of Cherry Coke, we have decided to implement a more measurable process within our supply chain management elements. This weakness of Cherry Coke products not being as available as they should be has enlightened myself and my colleagues about the shift in supply chain that we need to execute in order to keep our competitive advantage. "Specifically, by collaborating both internally and externally with supplier, distributors, retailers and customers; and measuring and exceeding [our] goals for customer loyalty and retention" (Shankar, 2001). In doing so, this will instill that time is focused on increasing Cherry Coke production, that quality remains intact, and that costs are kept within the current structure that we have in place.

A second problem with our current operations is overall demand versus supply. We have not kept up with the times with regard to demand forecasting software. Much of the previous forecasting methodology has been primarily long term based, but it needs to be short and midterm also. To fix this weakness, we are going to be studying "information about the economic data of previous [short and midterm] periods; [perform] numeric expressions of economic data [as it relates to the demand of Coca Cola products] and [develop a] time span module within our production to deal with season, cyclic and random trends associated with consumer demand of a quantitative and qualitative nature" (Pilinkienė, 2008). This will hopefully allow for a better understanding of where we sit within the consumer marketplace in our entire product line by ensuring that suppliers are well stocked with Coca Cola products and keep us meeting the Chinese market demand and being the global leader that we are. 

Thirdly, it has been decided that our data collection process as it stands has been insufficient. We need to know what is going on with regard to overall "performance and progress on a monthly and annual basis [and the only way to do that is by] gather[ing] data and evaluating it" (Pilinkienė, 2008) through a more amenable data mining process. To do this we have established three different enablers. The first will be an outside consulting firm known as Back Office Associates, that will "offer a clear and detailed approach to data extraction, cleansing, conversion and migration" ("Food & Beverage," 2013). This will allow us to better know what is going on within our operations and in turn, our performance as a company within the business industry. The problem with this particular enabler, however, is that the data is only as good as what is actually being analyzed. The challenge will be only keeping the data that is necessary in order to evaluate performance and progress.

The second enabler will be a more profound IT area. It has come to my attention as VP of Operations that IT departments are not as valued within businesses as they should be. IT departments are key because they often dictate the flow of the overall business strategy. In this case, a clearer and more defined outlook of the aforementioned tasks will be definitively executed. There are of course some problems with IT with the most important one being that with the change in market pace for Coca Cola products that the systems we integrate might not be able to be "changed fast enough" (Abate, 2009).  

The third enabler will be an environmental slant on business. Given that we are in the beverage industry, as the tasks are shifted and more production occurs, it will become explicitly important to keep within environmental regulations of "energy consumption, raw material, input, waste management [and] the environmental impact" (Gawaikar et al., 2008). For this reason, an environmental force will be hired in the form of six individuals under my stewardship who will evaluate what we are doing right and wrong with regard to environmental output and sustainability. This enabler could potentially become a problem if the indicators of environmental performance are not kept up timely and if the team does not understand the pertinent information regarding the beverage industry and the environment.

Ultimately, the current methods that exist within the Coca-Cola Company need to be changed. The enablers should per analysis allow for these tasks to be implemented properly. It is my hope with these aforementioned tasks executed, that we can continue to be a driving force within the intercontinental landscape as it relates to soft drinks and other beverage products. 

References

Abate, R. (2009, June 8). IT Should be an Enabler to the Business. Retrieved July 28, 2013, from SourceMedia website: http://www.information-management.com/blogs/IT_business-10015571-1.html

Bhasin, K. (2011, June 9). 15 Facts About Coca-Cola That Will Blow Your Mind.Business Insider, Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/facts-about-coca-cola-2011-6?op=1

Food & Beverage. (2013). Retrieved July 28, 2013, from Back Office Associates website: http://www.boaweb.com/products/industry-type-2/food-beverage/

Gawaikar, V., Bhole, A. G., & Lakhe, R. R. (2008). Quantifiable Pollution Management through Various Performance Indicators in the Perspective of ISO 14001: A Review.Journal of International Environmental Application and Science, 3(4), 315-324.

Pilinkienė, V. (2008). Selection of Market Demand Forecast Methods: Criteria and Application. ENGINEERING ECONOMICS, 3(58), 19-25.

Shankar, V. (2001, September). Integrating Demand and Supply Chain Management.Supply Chain Management Review, 76-81.

Soft Drinks: I Gave My Love a Cherry Coke. (1985, March 4). Time, Retrieved from http://www.time.com/time/