Evaluation of Coca-Colas Integration of Information Systems

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Coca Cola Company was started by one Dr. John Pemberton at around 1886 in Atlanta, Georgia, who developed its formula. The main ingredients were extracts from coca plant and the kola nut. It was initially meant as a tonic cure for headaches. Someone later added carbonated water in stead of water and the people who took it found it better. Eventually, it became a choice beverage for many people. With increased sales the Coca Cola Company saw expansion in almost every state in USA by 1895. The idea of bottling was later conceived that by close of the century, bottling plants were being established outside USA (Bell, 11).

Products

Coca Cola main products are beverages especially soft drinks. Coca cola soft drink going with the same brand name is the most popular and has the highest sales. It has a number of different flavors like Cola Lemon, Cola Lime, Cola Orange, Cola, Cola Green Tea and Cola raspberry. These types are available in many countries. Other products include diet, still and sparkling beverages, fruit juices, waters, energy drinks, coffees, milks and sports drinks. Each of this in turn goes with different brand names according to region of sale and they are so many to mention.

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Sales

The current portfolio includes 3,300 products in over 200 countries word wide. In 2009, the unit cases sold word wide stood at 24.4 billion. This generated over 5 billion dollars in income.

Location - Number of Divisions

Coca Cola Company is distributed in operating groups which are Eurasia and Africa, Europe, Latin America, North America, Enterprises and Pacific. Over 200 countries are covered under these groups.

Foreign Operations

The headquarters are in Atlanta, Georgia which oversees operations of all other subsidiary companies in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Each country has its own franchised company that makes the final products.

Information Flow of the Company

Information Flow is crucial to a company since it provides data, information and knowledge access to everybody from senior management to the least employee. It is this information that acts as"lifeblood" in the success of a company. Coca Cola Company has invested much in Information Technologies in order to realize its goals.

Number of Employees

The number of employees in Coca Cola Company stands at around 92,800. Much emphasis is placed on people who are thought of as not only employees, but a team that should be able to discover their talent, knowledge, skills and experience in the company. The diversity helps in the growth of the company through sharing of information.

Types of Software

SAP R/3 from IBM together with ERP system is the most widely used software in Coca Cola Company. These IT solutions have enabled the company in fast decision making and better product quality while at the same time reducing the costs of operation. All the entities thus; Operations, Marketing, Accounting, Inventory and Human resources have a common system that enables consistent reporting of management and operational units. Apart from this closing of books either locally or globally, purchasing, financing are all done concurrently. It also ensures that employees, customer, and suppliers are on the same frame of reference. In Atlanta, SAP application include Accounting, Planning and Budgeting, Procurement, Employee self service and others that run on an Internet network. Manufacturing plants have Project Systems implementation that oversees Inventory Management, Material Management, Production Planning and Sales and Distribution. The IBM server RS/6000 enables more than 1000 users concurrently.

Outsourcing services

Outsourcing is a strategic management tool that is being implemented at Coca Cola Company with an intention of gaining a competitive advantage by focusing more on activities that contribute to the success of the company. Coca Cola started outsourcing along time ago when it started to look for new markets. It considered that capital was not enough and time was not adequate to create bottling plants everywhere. By outsourcing bottling, it was able to concentrate on the key business in quality products and feeding the growing market. Later on, bottling became a key factor in their business that they built an internal capability to do the same. With the help of Information Technology, outsourcing has helped Coca Cola to become what it is now.

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Competitive advantage in the market

Coca Cola has beverage production as their competitive advantage in that they entered the market first and have maintained high quality and diverse product all over the world. Their marketing strategy is also severe in terms of advertisement which Coca Cola does in many amazing concepts.

Levels of management

Strategic Management is evident in Coca Cola Company and is defined as a process of identifying the objectives and having policies in place to realize them. Resources also need to be in place to achieve the objective. Coca Cola has a Chief Executive Officer and a team who provide the direction to be followed in its senior management. A Board of Directors composed of owners and shareholders is also in place to oversee governance of the company. Under the BOD there is Level Executives whose responsibility is to coordinate the product and market and the Corporate Planning who oversee administrative tasks. Further, the various Managers are entrusted in day to day working of the company.

Supply chain

The company produces the syrup which in turn is used in making beverages. The franchised companies then make the final product. This has been optimized by Information Technology implementation of SAP R/3. The movement of the final product from the manufacture to the customer encompasses supply chain. The Coca Cola Company employs a number of strategies that make this possible including compliance with local laws human rights and that all suppliers have contracts, are audited to form a comprehensive report. The suppliers are entrusted with provision of ingredients, ware and packaging. In turn, the company produces drinks which are taken to warehouses and distributors for availing to customers. The Coca Cola Manual Distribution Center model has seen the company sell even to the remotest part of the world.

Web sites

The Coca Cola Company has a very reliable website "www.coca-cola.com" which details all its operations. It is also well arranged and updated to ensue correct information reaches the viewer always.

Online- Business Store Front

Online business involves selling of products using Information Technology tools like the mobile phone and the Internet. The Coca Cola Company is in the initial stages of rolling out services to enable online transactions take place. In Finland for example, Coca Cola has implemented an accepted payment system using SMS for their products.

Data collection and process

Various types of data that can be analyzed at Coca Cola Company include production volume, water, packaging, raw material volumes and Environmental Safety data. All this data is collected individually from respective companies and traceability is attached to enable final analysis. Data is collected scientifically and analyzed using spreadsheets to give detailed results.

Customer care provision

Customer care is professionally provided in Coca Cola Company ranging from simple queries to more complex company processes. Through their website one can track his orders or even return a product at any time of the day. The service is sometimes outsourced to third parties to ensure every query and assistance is accorded.

Data storage

The coca cola company data center is the nerve center where servers and storage devices ensure the bulk of data is secured for the companies use. With a 10 Gb Ethernet connection by Cisco, costs have dramatically reduced and so has time spent on locating vital information.

Network protection

Network protection has been achieved by incorporating Barracuda Networks solutions. These ensure security to the network and storage facilities in Information Technology Systems. The Web Application firewall ensures complete protection from all unauthorized users, viruses, hackers etc.

Database use

Coca Cola Company used Oracle Databases which have SQL capabilities previously but due to its SAP application, they have moved to IBM's DB2. The act led to reduction of hardware and software cost and a better storage, retrieval and security of data. Databases provide all the information from products to employees hence they play a vital part. IBM DB2 has greater compression which would reduce database size and lower licensing renewals.

In conclusion, the Coca Cola Company has been successful due to implementation of Information Systems which are reliable and help the management make fast decisions in their day to day work while ensuring customer satisfaction. (Sadagopan, 22)

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