Coke One North America (CONA), the IT company responsible for Coca-Cola’s manufacturing supply chain processes, has recently initiated a pilot project in collaboration with software provider SAP. The project, which is based on blockchain technology, manages Coca-Cola’s massive supply chain and was designed to boost efficiency and transparency.
The pilot project was tested with two bottlers, Coca-Cola United and C.C. Clark, but CONA aims to expand it across 70 manufacturers who ship more than 160,00 bottles of Coke every day. In a Business Insider report published Tuesday, November 5th, Andrei Semenov, senior manager at CONA, had this to say:
“There are a number of transactions that are cross-companies and multiparty that are inefficient. They go through intermediaries; they are very slow. And we felt that we could improve this and save some money.”
Torsten Zube, head of the SAP Innovation Center Network, also explained that:
“What we achieved here with blockchain is creating a document flow across the supply chain. […] The information that has been shared, it’s clear and transparent everywhere.”
Currently, CONA has a long and intricate order reconciliation process worth $21 billion, and using Blockchain technology could shorten it dramatically, from months to days. This way, they will see the transactions made by different bottlers on a distributed ledger in real-time and if one bottler is low on stock, they will quickly receive other options. This effective and transparent approach would not only help CONA keep up with increasing supply chain demands, but also attract companies the likes of Walmart and Target to join the SAP platform.
This isn’t the first time when a beverage company uses Blockchain to streamline supply management. Earlier in May, Coca-Cola’s main competitor, PepsiCo, conducted “Project Proton” to boost supply chain efficiency and address industry challenges. Running on Zilliqua’s blockchain platform, the test was conducted in the Asia-Pacific region, and the company reported a 28% boost in supply chain efficiency.
It’s not the first time that Coca-Cola is involved in a Blockchain test either. In March 2018, the U.S. State Department announced that they are partnering with Coca-Cola and two other companies to launch a Blockchain-based program to create a secure registry for workers to battle against forced labor worldwide.
Although Blockchain is typically associated with its use of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, as well as the increasing number of investors who work with reliable crypto trading brokers, projects such as these confirm the versatility of Blockchain applications and show how large companies can integrate it to optimize working conditions.
Coca-Cola is one of the several household names that have recently been benefiting from Blockchain. According to a Forbes analysis, all ten of the largest companies in the world are now exploring Blockchain, in spite of expressing their doubts regarding the platform earlier on. For example, JPMorgan now has its own internally developed Blockchain platform Quorum, although CEO Jamie Dimon publicly declared his skepticism of Bitcoin. Even Warren Buffet, who was so adamant against crypto that he even compared it to rat poison in an interview, has companies that are exploring the potential of Blockchain. Berkshire Hathaway, for instance, uses Blockchain to trace the origin of freight deliveries on Buffet’s railroads.
As far as retailers go, Walmart stands out the most. Starting with 2016, the supermarket chain has been working on Blockchain-based projects that streamline smart deliveries in the US and track food supply in China.
The efficiency of these Blockchain projects needn’t be limited to the company’s internal processes and supplier relations, but it can also include its clients. For example, the same Blockchain solution from IBM was adopted by several coffee companies, who use it to inform consumers regarding product provenance and price.
Meanwhile, SAP has also stood out recently for its Blockchain pharmaceutical solution to help identify counterfeit medicine on the US market and its collaboration with companies Bumble Bee and Nataïs.