Thursday, June 11, 2009

Coke Meets ‘The Jetsons’ with new Robodispenser

Coca-Cola recently announced a revolutionary new soda dispenser they will soon pilot in selected areas. See a great comprehensive article in the June 8, 2009 issue of Information Week magazine. It is a significant announcement for many reasons.

  • The Freestyle “Fountain” dispenses over 100 different beverages (sodas, juices, teas, and flavored waters) using thirty highly concentrated flavor cartridges.
  • The system uses RFID tags on the flavor cartridges to track inventory
  • The dispenser communicates with a central Corporate point-of-sale system and data warehouse via a dedicated wireless network recording quantity, types, time, and location of drinks sold

Customer Value

  • More choices
  • Special offers

Retailer Value

  • Inventory optimization
  • 100 choices in the same footprint as an eight to 12 drink dispenser
  • Information about sales patterns that can be used to provide special offers to the customers
  • Easier ordering process with recommendations based on ten day moving average of sales, cartridge inventory, and dispenser inventory.
  • Access to a portal with visibility to the consumption data and statistics that can be sliced and diced by cartridge, drink, dispenser, hour, day, week, etc.

Value to Coca-Cola

  • Faster, lower cost new product Research & Development, Market Research, product piloting and production rollout
  • Remotely adjust beverage formulas
  • Better understanding of regional customer preferences
  • First to market; four years in development
  • Better data to align supply with demand for Sales and Operations planning
  • Competitive advantage with offer of high retailer and customer value

When Information Technology is applied effectively in close cooperation with Business Operations, improvement initiatives offer opportunities for significant gains for all parties involved from the supply chain to the customer.

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