• How is the most widely recognised product in the world made? • How are the required quality standards met for every single unit of that product? This case study answers these questions by outlining the manufacturing processes for Coca-Cola - the most widely recognised global brand from London to Lagos, Los Angeles to Lahore. It is sold in more and more markets, creating thousands of new jobs in the local economies. The brand is owned by The Coca-Cola Company which works with franchisees across the world. These franchisees perform the bottling and canning operations and are also known as packagers. This illustration shows how manufacturing operations convert inputs into finished outputs. Coca-Cola’s bottlers and canners are concerned with a range of processes involved in transforming resources into the bottles and cans of drink that we are familiar with. There is a difference between transforming resources and transformed resources: The transformed resources are the materials (the cans, bottles, liquids, etc.) and the information which are processed to create the finished product.
For many years, Coca-Cola was produced in glass bottles. Because of the high cost of distributing bulky bottles, they had to be manufactured close to where the bottling took place. Today, this is no longer so important since new packaging methods have revolutionised the process. Advanced bottling and canning technology makes Coca-Cola cans and bottles very light but extremely strong. The Company has invested a lot of time and money in research and development to ensure the most effective life cycle impact of its packaging. By using the minimum quantities of materials in packaging, the cans and plastic bottles are simple to crush or to reprocess at the end of the initial life cycle.
Primarily, Coca-Cola is manufactured by franchisees who are the world’s leading bottling and canning companies. This franchise business is strictly controlled by The Coca-Cola Company. Soft drinks manufacture is a competitive business. Manufacturing techniques are continually improved. This helps meet the highest quality standards for its products using the most cost effective production techniques. For example, very small changes in the shape of the can could save a canning factory millions of dollars in production costs. The production of Coca-Cola involves two major operations: • creating the packaging material
like an open cup ready to receive the liquid drink. They are not fully formed because the ring pull end has still to be fitted. After they have been inspected to check that there are no faults, each can goes through a rinsing machine to make sure it is clean and ready for filling.
Preparing the drink
Coca-Cola consists of a concentrated beverage base and a liquid sweetener which are combined to form the syrup from which the drink is made. The Company ships the concentrate to bottling and canning plants where the franchisees mix it with sugar and local water. The water is passed through a number of filters to make sure it is absolutely pure. Carbon dioxide, which makes it fizzy, is also delivered to the canning plant where it is stored and then piped into the manufacturing process through a carbonator and cooler. The Company specifies what equipment franchisees will use to carry out these processes.
Samples are taken regularly for chemical analysis, and staff make frequent spot checks to ensure that plants are maintaining the Company’s standards of cleanliness and quality. The Company provides its franchisees with the most up-to-date technology available and many of them use the latest computer technology and statistical process control methods.
Filling the cans
The packaging and the finished drink are combined by a rapid filling process. Every minute hundreds of cans pass along an automated production line and are filled with a...