Optimizing Coca-Cola Consolidated’s Post-Expansion Distribution Network
Red Classic created a complex regional transportation solution to optimize Coca-Cola Consolidated’s distribution network following a multi-year expansion effort.
Coca-Cola Consolidated is the largest Coca-Cola bottler in the United States. The company makes, sells and distributes more than 300 of the world’s best brands and flavors to more than 66 million consumers in 14 states and the District of Columbia. In 2018, Coca-Cola Consolidated completed a five-year system transformation effort, which included the acquisition of new sales territory and the integration of new production facilities and distribution centers. As expected, the expansion caused significant changes to the beverage leader’s supply chain, putting new demands on its transportation strategy.
As a wholly owned subsidiary of Coca-Cola Consolidated and its dedicated transportation provider, Red Classic developed a new transportation solution to match Consolidated’s larger and more complex distribution network. The objectives were to improve operational efficiency, effectively manage seasonal volume fluctuations and decrease out-of-stock percentages at Consolidated’s warehouse facilities.
The solution included five key actions. First, Red Classic created a dedicated team to manage the Coca-Cola Consolidated business, integrating asset, brokerage and customer service functions. Second, the two companies aligned priorities and goals by developing a set of common metrics. The most important of these was a shared Supply Chain On-Time metric for which both companies agreed, including both the data set and parameters.
Third, Coke Consolidated implemented FourKites, an enhanced track-and-trace technology solution to provide real-time freight visibility as well as automated freight matching. FourKites was integrated with Consolidated’s Transportation Management System, BluJay. This integration reduced check calls and provided automated alerts, allowing faster response to delays, weather events and inventory shortages.
Fourth, weekly sales and operations execution (S&OE) calls engaged teams in reviewing past performance and addressing weekly demand and supply fluctuations. With greater awareness of mission-critical performance data, teams could make timely inventory and transport adjustments based on real-time data.
Finally, in order to build stronger, more collaborative relationships between the two organizations, a cross-training program was created to allow regional counterparts within the planning and transport functions to problem solve collaboratively and facilitate knowledge sharing. Regional workshops were also held to gather teammates from both companies to review broader challenges and opportunities.
The results included significantly improved supply chain visibility and a reduction in the number of communication touchpoints required to service daily volume. Teams saved time by aligning efforts around common metrics, addressing bottlenecks and reviewing advanced performance data. The improved collaboration yielded a 40% reduction in warehouse out-of-stocks over the prior year.