September 11-15, 2017
Category: Supply Chain

Coke and Bottlers Develop ERP Solution

Troy Hornback, senior merchandiser at Tulahoma’s Elizabethtown,
Kentucky facility verifies the count on an outgoing shipment through
the North Star application.


The Coca-Cola Company and its independent bottlers realized they needed a modern ERP system to leverage the latest in open-architecture technology in order to evolve and grow with the bottlers’ market landscape.  

A project team to handle the software selection process was formed with The Coca-Cola Company acting as a project facilitator and ultimate choices regarding which solution to implement made by the participating bottlers on the team. Ultimately, Rutherford & Associates’ eoStar software (route accounting, warehouse management, full-service vending, etc.) in tandem with Microsoft Dynamics GP (human resources, manufacturing & financial controls) was chosen, and the solution is known as “North Star” within the bottler community. 

“Our previous system lacked real-time inventory capabilities,” says Jim Watkins, General Manager, Lufkin Coca Cola Company. “With eoStar, our sales and product acquisition teams have increased their accuracy and become more efficient with their ordering process. The capability to drill-down into data and generate different reports is also a big boost for planning by management.” North Star also enables highly visible tracking of multiple sales promotions. “Utilizing the eoStar system affords us the ability to track marketing programs in a more efficient manner than before,” says Edie Pennick, director of sales and marketing for Coca-Cola Bottling Works of Tullahoma, Inc.

Additionally, with eoStar, personnel in the field can accurately access real time sales and inventory numbers while generating invoices. This field mobility capability helps speed cash flow and tighten the supply chain.

To strengthen the links in the supply chain, Rutherford and The Coca-Cola Company implemented a cloud-based master product database, with centralized and standardized data maintenance. This permits bottlers to easily download product information to add new products to their portfolio and Coke to get consistent data for reporting purposes. North Star is fully operational with 12 bottlers in 16 states, and four more on track to be implemented by the end of 2014. Five more are slated to begin the implementation process during the year.

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