Coca-Cola Company: Project Management

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Introduction to the Organization

Project management capabilities are not solely limited to optimizing individual operations and improving current working conditions. This area of control involves implementing various innovations and mechanisms that are designed to expand the business potential of companies and help them achieve a high competitive advantage, which is often the ultimate goal. According to Kivilä, Martinsuo, and Vuorinen (2017), sustainable project management can be realized if the planned performance indicators are increased through the implemented steps to improve the current parameters of certain aspects of work. As an example of an organization to implement a project management program, the Coca-Cola corporation will be applied. This company has a global sales network and is one of the most well-known international brands, which makes any intervention meaningful and responsible.

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The Coca-Cola Company is one of the largest global brands specializing in the sale of soft drinks. The corporation began its local activities in 1886, and for almost a century and a half, it has transformed into one of the most authoritative participants in the global food market (Singaram et al., 2019). During its work, Coca-Cola has introduced new production concepts, changed designs, participated in numerous marketing campaigns, and promoted the idea of ​​corporate social responsibility, which speaks of the corporation’s active business position. Its products are sold in over 200 countries and, as Singaram et al. (2019) note, the trading portfolio of the organization includes more than 500 different soft drinks. At the same time, the company has always paid attention to project management and participated in campaigns and programs to optimize production and strengthen its market position. The proposed project involves developing and implementing a new product under the Coca-Cola brand to increase the competitive advantage and business potential by expanding sales and covering the interests of different target regions.

Project Identification

As a proposal within the framework of project management, the development, and introduction of Coca-Cola’s new product are planned. This activity involves evaluating the work plan, scheduling the implementation of all stages of the project, and estimating the required budget. At the same time, along with the basic stages of work, related aspects will be considered, and the value of individual practical approaches and methods will be analyzed.

During its market activity, Coca-Cola has introduced new products many times. However, not all its projects were successful, and individual cases confirm that an ill-considered scenario can be the cause of failure and significant losses. For instance, Li, Peng, and Cui (2017) cite the example of New Coke, a new beverage brand launched in 1985, and note that the corporation’s fiasco was caused by an ill-conceived launch strategy for this batch of drinks. This example confirms the importance of project management to organizations, and this area of ​​work is a strategic component of productive activity. In the context of dynamic market trends and constantly changing consumer interests, updating the product line is one of the most effective tools for attracting a new target audience. For Coca-Cola, such a mechanism may consist in the development and introduction of a new drink that may differ from classic tastes and arouse the interest of consumers in different countries. Therefore, the planned project management program will be based on the design of a new product as an element of enhancing brand value and increasing profits for the corporation on a local and global scale.

To develop the intended product, Coca-Cola’s technologists may look at current consumer trends in soft drinks. According to Singaram et al. (2019), today, consumers tend to purchase healthier products than decades ago due to the awareness of the population about the importance of following a healthy lifestyle and avoiding harmful products. In this regard, as the authors note, this trend “can be an advantage for Coca-Cola to introduce new products in the markets with a slight variation in taste” (Singaram et al., 2019, p. 64). To offer customers the tastiest and the most demanded drink, preliminary analytical work should be carried out to determine the preferences of certain categories of the population and identify potential interest in new products. For this purpose, media platforms are valuable resources that can help define people’s tastes, their views on possible product line updates, and other opinions on changes in the assortment. In addition, engaging digital platforms is a convenient mechanism for tracking consumer feedback as an element that may help obtain objective data on the relevance of specific changes. Therefore, the planned program of project management will be a complex and prepared activity.

Along with the assessment of customer interest, related parameters should be analyzed to implement the planned project effectively. As Kivilä, Martinsuo, and Vuorinen (2017) state, in project management, assigning roles to control individual stages of work is one of the priority activities. The tasks of a project manager include coordinating various stages of interventions and assigning responsible parties. Kivilä, Martinsuo, and Vuorinen (2017) remark that, in addition to general information about the interest of the target market, more specific data need to be taken into account, in particular, performance indicators. These parameters reflect how productive intervention is from the perspective of influencing the organization’s operations, and monitoring them is imperative for tracking the success of changes. Control mechanisms used by a project manager may include analyzing the share of purchases, the dynamics of demand, the number of consumers in different regions, and other essential criteria. For Coca-Cola, these aspects are crucial indicators that can help determine whether the introduction of a new product into the overall beverage line is in demand among the target audience.

Project identification makes it possible to determine the relevance of changes in the company’s work and highlight the key factors influencing the success and effectiveness of the forthcoming operational activities. For Coca-Cola, the work of introducing a new product does not have to be global since evaluating a specific intervention at a local level is a safer solution. Therefore, an individual region can be selected as a target for organizing all the necessary procedures. At the same time, according to Li, Peng, and Cui (2017), several accompanying critical aspects need to be considered. They are the adaptation of production to the updated work, a possible problem-solving mechanism, and other factors that may allow creating a stable operational algorithm. In such conditions, the risks of developing an implementation program will be minimized, and the likelihood of success will be increased. A detailed project plan can help get a comprehensive picture of the work ahead, and the basic steps can be thought out to avoid unexpected outcomes.

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Project Plan

Since project management includes not only the preparation and control over specific development programs but also related operations, for instance, the introduction of marketing campaigns, the corresponding work should be conducted. Cooper (2017) argues that launching a new product requires an effective advertising plan that may help popularize the future product among the target audience and increase consumer interest in the brand. Accordingly, initially, the project plan for Coca-Cola may include the development of a marketing campaign. To achieve this objective, specific channels for disseminating relevant information should be selected, and social media platforms are convenient sites for publishing promotional materials. As evidence of the effectiveness of this strategy, Komańda (2017) cites the example of the European Football Championship 2016, where Coca-Cola advertised its products on social media by popularizing the sports event. In addition, the researcher notes the value of interaction with sponsors during this marketing campaign (Komańda, 2017). Therefore, active promotional operations through relevant platforms and the establishment of partnerships are procedures to be implemented at the initial stage of the launch of the company’s new product.

After starting work in the marketing direction, the production of the corresponding product should be established. As Cooper (2017) states, concentrating new product efforts involves creating the required product line and design. After the technological department of the organization has decided on the specific composition of the new drink, Coca-Cola can make a trial batch of the advertised product. The new taste is expected to meet the preferences of a large number of consumers. To assess this criterion, social media reviews need to be examined to assess the expected rating of a new product and consumers’ opinions regarding the drink. Based on this feedback, during the manufacturing phase, individual changes can be made. If the trial batch of drinks justifies the investment of the corporation and gains recognition from a wide range of consumers, additional lines can be opened at other Coca-Cola factories. Since one region is supposed to be used for the intervention, the expansion of production involves opening new places of drink manufacturing. Steady demand for the updated product line will be a key criterion for the need to increase the volume of production.

The next step in Coca-Cola’s new product introduction plan is organizing supplies. According to Tolonen et al. (2017), project management includes procedures for establishing logistics processes so that products could arrive at all the outlets on time and in the right volume. Therefore, the establishment of supply chains is a valuable objective to achieve a sustainable distribution system and deliver new products to target markets. To realize this goal, related tasks need to be solved, in particular, designating the delivery time of batches to outlets, determining the costs of transporting goods, preparing the necessary documentation, and performing other significant procedures. Tolonen et al. (2017) argue that effective project management implies assessing all the potential risks, including those with the organization of transportation and delivery of products. Accordingly, to secure goods and eliminate problems, for instance, the shortage or, conversely, excess of goods in warehouses, preliminary analytical work should be carried out as an important preventive measure. The aforementioned activities can help Coca-Cola create a modern and reliable distribution mechanism and organize a sustainable sales algorithm based on the demand for a new product.

In completing the project plan for Coca-Cola’s new product, drawing up a monitoring and evaluation strategy is necessary. This activity involves analyzing the sustainability of the proposed intervention program, and the project manager’s task is to assess the effectiveness of specific measures to address risks and prevent potential operational challenges. Silva, Bianchi, and Amaral (2019) suggest considering evaluation and monitoring schemes for different interventions in new product introduction programs. In Figure 1, an example of a general implementation strategy is proposed, and in this diagram, monitoring is essential and one of the key aspects of effective planning and implementation activities (Silva, Bianchi, and Amaral, 2019). For the project under consideration, the improvement evaluation algorithm is proposed, which consists in taking the necessary measures to optimize the sales of a new drink if needed, for instance, by expanding or redistributing sales. This solution is an important step for creating a sustainable implementation mechanism within the framework of project management. Moreover, the use of an adequate monitoring system increases the likelihood of ensuring the stable operation of Coca-Cola’s updated production line.

Project plan scheme
Figure 1: Project plan scheme (Silva, Bianchi, and Amaral, 2019).

Project Schedule

To implement the presented plan in the framework of the project management program in Coca-Cola, the schedule for each of the stages of the intervention should be compiled. At the initial stage that involves promoting a new drink through social media, time is needed to publish relevant materials and establish relationships with sponsors. One month may be required to prepare promotional videos and search for potential partners. In the future, analytical procedures for collecting data can take place along with the subsequent stages of the plan. The production step is the longest since some conventions need to be resolved. In particular, the preparation of premises, the re-equipment of individual lines, the signing of the necessary documentation, and other important activities can take approximately two months. This period is essential to create a stable production mechanism and train the employees of Coca-Cola factories and other stakeholders in the technology of manufacturing a new product.

The following stage implies organizing supply chains and resolving all the logistics conventions can take from three weeks to one month. Even though Coca-Cola has a wide network of warehouses in all sales regions, the availability of storage space needs to be checked to eliminate the risks of goods shortage. In addition, transportation should be reorganized slightly since the delivery of new products to specific outlets has to be sustainable. The suppliers of the raw materials should be aware of the upcoming project, and the delivery of the necessary goods to Coca-Cola’s factories is to be arranged properly. Finally, the evaluation and monitoring phase is termless and should be launched after the start of sales. In case problems or violations of pre-planned working conditions are detected in the work of any department, the project manager has to take immediate measures to establish the operational process. Thus, continuous monitoring is a mandatory aspect of a successful implementation.

Project Budget

For the project of introducing a new product in Coca-Cola, significant financial resources are required. However, a part of this budget can be obtained due to interaction with sponsors who can provide the necessary support through mutually beneficial advertising terms. Nevertheless, internal business processes, including production and logistics, require investment. To develop and distribute commercials and other social media advertisements, from $500,000 to $1,000,000 may be required. This amount includes the basic costs of filming and materials placement and does not contain the cost of paying for the services of media persons promoting a new product. To establish production, at least $5,000,000 may be needed to reorganize factory lines and create a sustainable system that allows the manufacturing technology to be followed carefully. To monitor the success of the implementation, no high costs are required, but for the organization of updated supply chains, funds are needed. The purchase of new tracking equipment, the provision of additional storage space, and other procedures may require from $5,000,000 to $7,000,000. All of these costs are an integral part of effective intervention in the framework of the project management program.

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Conclusions

The considered intervention program involves introducing a new product in the Coca-Cola corporation as part of the project management plan. The description of the intervention, along with a detailed rationale for the plan, schedule, and budget of each of the stages, allows demonstrating the significance of specific measures. The need for planning to achieve optimal working conditions in the updated model is justified due to the phased implementation of the tasks set. The funds to realize the plan are significant, but for Coca-Cola, enhancing brand value and maintaining a highly competitive position are the crucial aspects of doing business. Therefore, adherence to the terms of project management in this organization implies utilizing effective risk assessment methods and workflow algorithms. The success of the implementation program can expand the sales share of Coca-Cola’s products and attract new customers, thereby increasing profits.

Reference List

Cooper, R. G. (2019) ‘The drivers of success in new-product development’, Industrial Marketing Management, 76, pp. 36-47.

Kivilä, J., Martinsuo, M. and Vuorinen, L. (2017) ‘Sustainable project management through project control in infrastructure projects’, International Journal of Project Management, 35(6), pp. 1167-1183.

Komańda, M. (2017) ‘Brand sponsorship and social media. Coca Cola and Carlsberg illustrated with an example of the European Football Championship 2016’, Trends Economics and Management, 11(28), pp. 37-46.

Li, C., Peng, L. and Cui, G. (2017) ‘Picking winners: new product concept testing with item response theory’, International Journal of Market Research, 59(3), pp. 335-353.

Silva, F. B., Bianchi, M. J. and Amaral, D. C. (2019) ‘Evaluating combined project management models: strategies for agile and plan-driven integration’, Product: Management and Development, 17(1), pp. 15-30.

Singaram, R. et al. (2019) ‘Coca Cola: a study on the marketing strategies for millenniums focusing on India’, International Journal of Advanced Research and Development, 4(1), pp. 62-68.

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Tolonen, A. et al. (2017) ‘Supply chain capability creation – the creation of the supply chain readiness for a new product during product development process’, International Journal of Production Economics, 194, pp. 237-245.

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