The Art, Science and Software Behind Placing Coca-Cola Products on Store Shelves

The team charged with keeping Coca-Cola products stocked and moving from stores uses art and technology to make the most of shelf real estate. New software helps them plan ahead while boosting results.

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Since its founding, Coca-Cola has operated what's called a "direct store delivery" system with its North American retailing partners. That means that CCE employees are the ones who deliver the Coca-Cola products to each store and right to the shelves. "We are in control to make sure that we deliver our products to each of the stores," Eichman says. This also means that CCE can ensure that its planogram strategies are correctly implemented.

Eichman stresses, however, that everything is done as a recommendation to and with the permission of CCE's retailing partners. "In terms of making sure it happens and gets deployed, it depends on our retailer customers and what other initiatives that they have," she says. "So what we do is we try to partner with them to ensure we're both moving forward in the same direction and getting everybody [to achieve their] yearly objectives."

The advantage of selling more and reducing out-of-stock products is obvious for retailers, but it is even more critical for manufacturers like CCE. With Wal-Mart, Eichman says, CCE's amount of shelf space is recalculated every year. "You get more space or less space," she says, "depending on how you did the previous year."

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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