Management Information Systems at The Coca-Cola Company Lewis Bianco Professor Rampersad CMS 315 Due: 12/7/10 As a world-wide leader in the soft drink and beverage industry, Coca Cola maintains a vast corporate and industrial structure which serves to run the business as smoothly as possible, and enhance all around internal performance. To make this happen, and to grow to where Coca Cola is as a business today, they have amassed a large variety of products, and reached deeply into the global market with these products.Some useful stats which help to realize the corporate landscape of The Coca-Cola Company are as follows: as of 2009 the company employed 92,800 people, featured a line of 3,300+ beverages, boasted 48 consecutive years of increased dividends, and had its products being sold in over 200 different countries (The Coca-Cola Company, 2009).
However, all of this expansion and growth as a business could not take place without significant internal structuring.The corporate structure of Coca-Cola utilizes a mix of high end technology and computer systems, collaboration with bottling companies and retailers which exists on a large and impressive scale, as well as a massive focus on advertisement that is constantly on the competitive edge and the horizon of social developments in order to represent their products most efficiently to customers.Customers are of course, the final and most important link in this chain, and Coca-Cola has excelled at finding new and creative ways to reach its customers, while at the same time growing and expanding as a business in order to retain its position as the global leader in its industry. An example of Coca Cola’s extremely large dominion over the beverage industry comes in the form of a statistic, one of several important statistics found on the Coca Cola corporate website which states that according to a 2009 study, people worldwide consumed an average of 1. billion servings of Coca Cola products per day (The Coca-Cola Company, 2009). In order to manage all of this capital effectively, Coca-Cola employs a highly technological, highly structured system that includes 300 bottling companies independent of Coca-Cola. The company works essentially by producing the syrups, concentrates, and base products used in Coca-Cola beverages. This is the main purpose of the Coca-Cola Company, along with advertisement and management. After the syrups and bases are manufactured, they are shipped to any of the 300 bottling companies, who finish and package the final product.In this way, Coca-Cola is able to exist on a global level, while still working with local bottling companies. This is an efficient way to manage such a huge distribution operation, and although corporate oversight obviously still exists to a certain extent, it breaks the huge process of distribution up into smaller, more manageable chunks which improve the over-all efficiency of the company. Bottling partners are for the majority not owned by Coca-Cola, and the company prides itself on allowing bottling partners to work completely independently in most cases.An important stat which highlights this corporate relationship between Coca-Cola and bottlers can be found in the Coca Cola 2007 Investor’s Review, where in a pie graph entitled “Company’s 2007 Worldwide Unit Case Volume by Bottler Relationship” it shows that a majority 54% of its bottling operation is in non-controlling equity interest. The other portions of Coca Cola’s unit case volume are as follows: 25% – no ownership interest, 10% – controlling interest, and 11% – “other” which includes foodservice operations as well as the production of juice and sports drinks (The Coca-Cola Company, 2007).As we can see, the importance of these “bottling partners” cannot be underestimated, as it is their responsibility to manufacture the product and package it to vendors, who are the next key member in the structure of The Coca-Cola Company. The vendors are less intimately involved with the workings of the company as a whole but are equally important as it is their job to actually sell the products to customers. In this way, we see that the organizational structure that exists from within and without The Coca-Cola Company is elegantly simple, and is prosperous for bottling companies who are allowed to take part in the ompany without being owned by it. This is definitely something that most consumers don’t know about Coca-Cola, but it is a defining factor that makes the company what it is today. It is obviously important to understand how this relates to management information systems and in the sense of that term, without such systems in place the process by which information is gathered that is needed to make decisions on behalf of 300 independent bottlers as well as retailers would be a much less easily manageable task.The Coca-Cola Company also has a unique relationship with its retailers and vendors, the people who actually sell its products. Through Coca-Cola’s superb information management, they are able to reliably track information about their products and make adjustments to their business strategy accordingly online accordingly. We see that management information systems are perfectly suited to a task like this as it allows Coca-Cola to gather bulk data on sales and details on the nature of those sales.This insight into the market is a big reason why it is possible for Coca-Cola to operate on such a large level with independent businesses working together in this way. The information gained through the use of management information systems is utilized by Coca-Cola in several different levels of the business structure which was mentioned in detail earlier.A simple and effective way of summing up this process is laid out in the publication “Management Information Systems, Controller’s Handbook” by the where it states “MIS also enhances job performance throughout an institution. At the most senior levels, it provides the data and information to help the board and management make strategic decisions. At other levels, MIS provides the means through which the institution’s activities are monitored and information is distributed to management, employees, and customers. (Comptroller of the Currency Administrator of National Banks). With this information, and general knowledge on the matter it is easy to see that this method of gaining large amounts of data is becoming an industry standard by necessity and those businesses who utilize management information systems will have a competitive edge in their markets. This is due to the foresight that this data offers into who is buying products, how many are being bought, and where they are being bought.Another important area where management information systems come into play with The Coca-Cola Company is that of online sales, and especially in today’s market no major business can afford to disregard this tool. As many companies do in today’s industry, Coca-Cola chose to find another business to help organize and run their e-commerce sector. This company’s job is to essentially serve as a massive inventory center for Coca-Cola, in order to help with their distribution and shipping of products that customers may buy online.The shift towards the importance of e-commerce created a change in the marketplace that successful companies were able to adapt to early on. The most noticeable change that companies had to undergo after the rise of e-commerce was the fact that focus and control shifted from the retailer to the customer in online markets. No longer were retailers allowed to choose the hours during which customers could purchase things, and the demand could not be affected by how much any given retailer ordered for stock.With the online shopping experience, the companies themselves had to bend to the will of the customer in an even more in depth way than ever before. With this challenge of course came the necessity for increased data from online sales. A company like Coca-Cola has prospered very well from a combination of using all possible information to react to the changing market, as well as utilize some of the same practices that make them so successful with offline sales.Perhaps the biggest perk to having the internet at Coca-Cola’s disposal for the purposes of collecting and utilizing data is the fact that the speed of the internet can make for a much smoother over-all operation. As it is stated in the book “E-Commerce” by Ritendra Goel, “delays in inventory tracking and management can ripple from the cash register all the way back to raw material production, creating inventory shortages at any stage of the value chain.The internet promises to increase business efficiency by reducing reporting delays and increasing reporting accuracy. Speed is clearly the business imperative for the value chain” (Goel, 2007). This is a very important concept to understand as it shows how important the collection of up to date data is for a company like Coca-Cola, especially when the nature of their corporate structure contains over 300 independent bottlers and even more numbers of vendors and retailers. Effective management of all of this data is what allows this unique structure to prosper.Being a global leader in its market, The Coca-Cola Company is in a unique position as a business. It has over 80 years of history behind it, and in that time has grown to become one of the most recognizable names in the world when it comes to beverages. Because of this, they can accelerate past much of the research and development that younger, less established companies must undergo. However, with such a huge business, the need for effective and fast data collection and storage is absolutely imperative.The unique structure of the business, with Coca-Cola primarily making syrups and concentrates, while 300 bottling companies make the finished product calls for even more careful management and analyses of this data in order to turn these numbers and figures into profit. After researching into what makes this company tick it is easy to see how Coca-Cola has become so successful in today’s market.Bibliography Comptroller of the Currency Administrator of National Banks. (n. d. ). Management Information Systems Controller’s Handbook. Retrieved December 2, 2010, from Office of the Comptroller of the Currency : http://www. occ. gov/static/publications/handbook/mis. pdf Goel, R. (2007). E-Commerce. New Age International . The Coca-Cola Company. (2009). Growth, Leadership, and Sustainability. Retrieved December 2, 2010, from The Coca-Cola Company: http://www. thecoca-colacompany. com/ourcompany/index. html The Coca-Cola Company. (2007). The Language of Refreshment 2007 Annual Review . Executive Communications, The Coca-Cola Company.