The Coca-Cola Amatil Way

Delivering Australia’s most popular refreshments is a challenging job. Carly Cummings, Coca-Cola Amatil’s National Linehaul and Network Optimisation Manager presents her experience and advice for success.

Globally recognised soft drink, Coca-Cola, first appeared on Australia’s shores in the early 1900s. Initially the drink was imported to Australia from the United States, but in 1938 The Coca-Cola Company began producing the drink locally in a small building on the corner of Crescent and Downing Street in Waterloo, Sydney.

What started off as one production line, 10 staff and four trucks, has now become an international production and logistics powerhouse, run by Australian-based manufacturer Coca-Cola Amatil. The company makes and distributes bottled water, juice, tea, sports and energy drinks as well as sparkling beverages, and boasts more than 30 production lines in Australia, six distribution centres and 700 trucks delivering to Australian postcodes every day.

“We deliver to 75 per cent of Australian postcodes every week, and 96 per cent every fortnight,” Carly Cummings, National Linehaul and Network Optimisation Manager – Supply Chain at Coca-Cola Amatil, says.

Impressively Coca-Cola Amatil manages its entire logistics operation internally. “We operate one of the biggest networks in Australia. We work with our transport partners to make sure all our drivers are focused on safety and presenting a positive and engaging face for Coca-Cola Amatil,” Carly says.

Plan for success

Coca-Cola Amatil’s supply chain and logistics operation has undergone recent transformation. “As a result, the logistics arm of the business is highly advanced, due to a recent strategic transformation and establishment of a Supply Chain 2020 vision.”

The transformation strategy was part of a business-wide cost optimisation program which aimed to save $100 million, including $70 million from supply chain. To realise this vision, the company put together an advanced strategy.

“Success had to be based on planning and resourcing. You need a vision and you need to stick to it,” Carly says.

The cost optimisation target for the supply chain division meant that the logistics aspect of the business had a huge responsibility in contributing to the company’s overall success, Carly says. “Through our BEx (Lean Business Excellence) program we established that there were more than 100 different projects across the business that had to be completed to reach our goal. That’s a big responsibility.”

“We also knew we needed to have a number of major projects running simultaneously, so we used a ‘Pain and gain’ matrix to categorise the projects based on our BEx program, classifying and prioritising projects into ‘loss and waste hoppers’ based on their size and impact. A combination of value stream mapping and input from our finance team on the commercial impact of each project enabled us to identify which projects were our big “rocks”.”

Nine projects were identified as critical business priority “rocks”, of which seven fell within the supply chain, Carly says.

The first four were logistics optimisation, customer flexibility and enabler of future strategy; ICP as the single rhythm for a system view of commercial performance; an engaged workforce with a focus on standardisation; and consistency and leveraging of technology and operational automation. The final three were new automated distribution centre; major infrastructure changes to simplify network and work force of the future.

Coca-Cola Amatil’s brand-new Richlands Distribution Centre in Queensland was officially opened in October this year and delivers against several of these key “rocks”.

“At Amatil we have done a lot of work on the soft side of the supply chain. Sales and logistics work closely together so that we can help each other,” Carly says.

Integrating departments allowed the sales team to have better visibility across the supply chain. Carly says this gives them the ability to offer better deals and deliver a more-informed service. “We also have many ex-sales and ex-customer service employees in our logistics team, which allows us to better understand the needs of our sales teams and customers.”

Digital journey

At Coca-Cola Amatil, the digital opportunity has been broken down into five disruptive technologies. These are analytics, internet of things, process digitisation, tobotics and automation and business model innovation

The new distribution centre in Richlands is already utilising many of these technologies. With an investment of $165m, the centre is heavily automated and features an Automated Storage and Retrieval System, Automated Guided Vehicles, an advanced Warehouse Management System and Automated Case Picking.

Amatil Logistics

Carly says Coca-Cola Amatil is responsive to adopting innovative ideas and is great at change management. Her key focus is finding and implementing opportunities across the Australian supply chain marketplace where logistics networks can be shared and optimised collaboratively between companies.

“I want to find and minimise empty space and empty trucks on the road and build genuine partnerships where everyone benefits. We need to share our networks, fill our trucks and ultimately reduce costs and emissions,” she says.

For Carly, this is where the industry needs to go. “We need to share resources and consequently make our networks perform better and more efficiently. Let’s form partnerships and share our trucks and warehouses.”