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CONA Services partners with Salesforce for real-time tracking

Coca-Cola IT service highlighted on Forbes’ Blockchain 50

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

CONA Services, which provides a specific framework of practices and IT services for all Coca-Cola suppliers and bottlers to allow a more efficient workflow, continues to add to its growest list of partnerships.

Earlier this month, CONA announced it was partnering with Salesforce, a leader in the customer relationship management space, to streamline operations and communications with contact centers.

This comes on the heels of previously announced partnerships in the past seven months with Blue Yonder and Plantensive — and may help explain why the Atlanta-based CONA was featured in Forbes’ Blockchain 50, a list of technology leaders that have a revenue or valuation of at least $1 billion.

Many on Forbes’ Blockchain 50 have used blockchain technologies to create more sustainable, global supply chains and to fix a number of logistical problems. Prior to CONA Services, many of Coca-Cola’s processes involved antiquated spreadsheets and regulations across the world, leading bottlers to bicker over lost product and unexpected costs.  

With the help of CONA’s blockchain initiatives, consumers can track their Coca-Cola products in real time.   

“The decision to move to Salesforce Consumer Goods Cloud makes sense for CONA,” Reinhart Meiser, chief executive officer of CONA, said when the partnership was announced Feb. 11. “Providing a 360-degree view of the consumer, Consumer Goods Cloud gives our bottlers a shared view of every customer interaction, increasing productivity, removing waste and simplifying our systems landscape.’’

Added Parker Harris, co-founder and chief technology officer of Salesforce: “Coca-Cola and CONA rely on grocery stores, restaurants, sports stadiums and more to represent their brand and deliver their products to consumers. We’re proud to work with Coca-Cola bottlers to help them build even closer relationships with merchandisers, streamline contact center operations, and ultimately, power their digital transformation.”

This has not been CONA’s only strategic partnership in the past year. In October, Plantensive, a supply chain and retail planning consulting provider, announced it had completed a core build phase of Blue Yonder’s planning solutions for the Coca-Cola service.

“We are excited to partner with CONA on their digital supply chain transformation journey,” said Terry Turner, president, Americas Retail, Blue Yonder. “Blue Yonder’s solutions will allow CONA to have an agile supply chain that can predict disruptions, creating end-to-end visibility into its planning and the ability to pivot to meet any challenges and demands.”

CONA also partnered with Unibright in August to develop enterprise blockchain applications aiming to create what they call a “Coca-Cola Bottling Harbor.” This initiative brought together the processes of Coca-Cola’s 12 largest bottlers within North America.  

Their goal is to create a low-barrier network-joining process for bottling suppliers. Purchase orders from the buyer’s ERP system are transformed into a common domain model that all participants are able to read and write, then sent to suppliers of the network through secure channels. They intend to create this same baseline for shipping and invoice updates as well.

Provide Technologies and Unibright explain CONA Services’ baseline protocol

All of Coca-Cola and CONA’s blockchain investments seem to be paying off in supply-chain efficiency. In the company’s Feb. 10 earnings call, James Quincey, chairman and chief executive officer of Coca-Cola, explained their bottling investment group further improved operating margin performance. 

“Seamless system connectivity helps us maintain the local relevance while benefiting from a global scale,” Quincey said. “We continue to engage with our bottling partners holistically to fuel the network for long-term growth. We’re working to lift and shift capabilities. We can focus on being successful today while also pursuing our ambitions for the future.”

Grace Sharkey

Grace is an entrepreneur and former supply chain executive who has held positions in sales, operations, and consulting. She is passionate about the future of the industry and how technology can improve the experience for all supply chain members. She believes supply chain is the one industry that affects every human directly, and is looking forward to creating content that mirrors that sentiment. If you have a story to share, please contact me at [email protected]