Coca-Colas Inventory: Human Resource, and Technology

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Coca-Colas inventory implementation provides the company with an opportunity to manage the supply chain in a seamless manner. However, this does not shield the company from the risks that are associated with the supply chain and the inventory. Some measures have been taken to mitigate these risks. These measures have incorporated the leveraging of the inventory, people, and technology. The purpose of this paper is to identify the ways in which Coca-Cola has achieved the leveraging process. The paper also identifies the ways in which the leveraging process can be improved to provide better results. The Coca-Cola supply chain incorporates several parties. Therefore, the solutions that are to benefit the company should involve all those participating in the supply chain, including the distributors and retailers. This is crucial considering the dynamic nature of such an expansive business.

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Coca-Colas products are sold all over the world in quantities that most companies would take years to achieve. This makes Coca-Cola one of the most coveted companies in the beverage industry. To achieve such a big distribution, the company has developed a supply chain that is both effective and dynamic (Yadav, Stapleton, & Van Wassenhove 2013). One of the key strategies that the company has managed to use and implement is the franchising strategy (Yadav, Stapleton, & Van Wassenhove 2013). This strategy has allowed the company to increase the income and thus the way in which the company interacts with those in the industry. While this makes the implementation of the inventory become effective, it has not helped in reducing the exposure of the companys inventory to risks such as fraud and obsolescence. While franchising has provided a localization of the final product, it has inadvertently increased the risks faced by the inventory system.

The leveraging of human resource in order to mitigate the risk faced by the inventory of Coca-Cola is a popular solution to this problem. Coca-Cola has one of the largest workforces among the companies in the beverage industry. To solve the problem with the risks faced with the inventory, the company has often implemented localized solutions that incorporate the human resource. For instance, the company has been found to train distribution teams on the ways of filing out inventories as well as other activities that are associated with the ordering process (Blanco and Fransoo 2013). Such solutions reduce the complexities that are associated with the central command of inventory taking. However, there are many other solutions that have been implemented in the hope of ensuring the effectiveness of the supply chain. Another solution that has been implemented to leverage people is the use of network marketing which fosters a relationship between those in the supply chain thus making an effective supply chain (Selladurai 2012).

Advancements in technology have made it easier to identify solutions that would help in mitigating the risks faced by the inventory within the supply chain. One of the ways the company has worked to implement technology is by introducing information technology systems within the supply chain (Moreira et al. 2013). The introduction of information technology systems has ensured that the company has enjoyed some benefits. For instance, the company has enjoyed an increase in profit as well as an improvement of the effectiveness in delivery of its products. Information technology has also increased the effectiveness of the inventory system (Moreira et al. 2013).

Literature Review

One of the strategies that could be effective in improving the effectiveness of an inventory system includes the incorporation of a training process that ensures that the personnel are effective at communicating (Sarangi, Patro, and Kumar 2014). The incorporation of individuals that can communicate effectively within a supply chain reduces the chances of human error that may expose the company to the errors that may expose the companys inventory system to risks such as fraud. The argument by Sarangi, Patro, and Kumar (2014) that communication is crucial in a supply chain is factual. For instance, the lack of communication skills among the players in a supply chain may result in the lack of sharing of information that may be crucial in the reporting of instances of fraud in the supply chain. One of the operational benefits of enhancing communication skills is that this relationship transcends to a buyer-supplier relationship which in turn indirectly increases the value of the training by increasing the returns enjoyed by the company (Badole, Jain, Rathore, and Nepal 2013). The view by Sarangi, Patro, and Kumar (2014) provides the supply chain with the most basic solution that would be effective for a company that transcends the globe, and thus incorporates individuals of different cultures speaking different languages.

Labor trafficking is one of the major issues that open up a companys inventory to the different risks that include fraud (Latonero, Wex, and Dank 2015). Instances of labor trafficking within and without a company that operates in a global frontier would provide the company instances of having to replace crucial personnel on a regular basis. Trafficked labor will often carry with them the information they have amassed regarding the supply chain of a given company (Latonero, Wex, and Dank 2015). One of the solutions that Latonero, Wex, and Dank, (2015) have suggested include the systemic identification of instances of labor exploitation within the supply chain. The view by the authors regarding the identification of labor exploitation is reasonable as most employees chose to partake in acts of fraud as a result of feelings of being exploited. The implementation of this suggestion would result in the retention of crucial employees. It has been found that most employees continue working with specific companies because they have a good relationship with their employers (Latonero, Wex, and Dank 2015). Therefore, leveraging technology to collect information that would help in defining some of the solutions that would address the problem would be a welcome idea. This has a direct operational benefit of increasing the companys effectiveness without the need for continued training of new employees who would be replacing trafficked veterans.

Obsolescence of the technological instruments and applications within the supply chain and thus the inventory system is a real problem that may face a company that has an expansive supply chain (Pinar and Guner 2013). One of the main reasons behind the quickness in the obsolescence of technological tools is the fact that technology is dynamic. According to Pinar and Guner (2013), obsolescence is a problem that can be prevented if the company in question resolves to present the software before there is a possibility of becoming obsolete. Companies that implement technology are always faced with a possibility of having their technological tools becoming obsolete. Therefore, the view by the two authors of pre-empting the occurrence of obsolescence and having a lead time before launching the product in question is factual. The implementation of such a solution would see the company realize maximum use of the technological element of the supply chain. According to Pickett et al. (2013), it would also be possible to mitigate this risk by introducing redundancy in the supply chain. This would ensure that failure in the technological element would not affect the supply chain in adverse manner. The operational benefit of mitigating the risk of obsolescence using technology as suggested by Pinar and Guner (2013) is an early realization of return on investment made on the tool before it becomes obsolete.

The inventory system has been found to face the risk of fraud in the supply chain as a result of a difference in the results identified in the consolidation of financial record with that of cashless systems (Antao et al. 2013). The problem here is that the company may have to compare the records of manually collected cash with that of cashless systems which cannot always be readily available (Antao et al. 2013). In order to identify the best ways of addressing this issue, the company in question would need to perform a secondary auditory process (Antao et al. 2013). However, most of the companies that provide a means for accepting and disbursing cashless monies do not allow for independent money transfer (Antao et al. 2013). One of the best ways to address this problem includes the identification of break points in between the consolidation of the inventory as well as the financial records (Pickett et al. 2013). This would require that the companies in question identify the best intervals between the consolidation processes where it would be easiest to identify the monies in the accounts. The leveraging of human resource to address issues regarding the inventory systems with an aim of mitigating risks as well as ensuring sustainability is effective (Mazur 2014).

One of the problems and thus a risk that companies with a huge supply chain have had to handle is the possibility of having to handle possibility of fraud in customer driven supply chains (Levin 2013). Customer driven supply chains have often had to deal with a situation where the customer base demand will change randomly. This has often resulted in companies with large supply chains having a supply chain that does not provide the expected results. For instance, whenever the company Coca-Cola has an influx of demand between the products that are required by the clients in comparison to that provided by the vending machines, there emerges an instance and thus an opening for fraud (Levin 2013). Therefore, it has become necessary to identify ways in which to address issues that are associated with inventory management. For instance, the tagging of inventory goods via an electronic tag would allow for the management to track down every product before it is availed to the client in question. There is also the option of having some of the merchandisers providing feedback in the form of pictures to resolve the problem and thus mitigate any eventuality of having fraud (Levin 2013). The process would require the leveraging of the personnel at the merchandisers so that they can take it upon their initiative to take the pictures and forward them to the parent company.

Companies that have a huge supply chain will almost always have a large number of individuals making the decisions regarding the inventory (Yadav, Stapleton, and Van Wassenhove 2013). Having a large number of individuals in the decision making that is associated with an inventory opens up a company to a host of risks (Yadav, Stapleton, and Van Wassenhove 2013). Therefore, it becomes a problem for the company in question to identify any point of fraud if it does happen within the company. It has been found that instances of fraud in a company that has a large number of players in its supply chain takes longer than it normally should (Antao et al. 2014). The end result is that the company will continue to have the instance of fraud until it is too late to reverse the fraud in question. The authors suggestion to introduce a framework that would address this and other similar issues is realistic. This is because a set framework would see to it that the company continues to become sensitive to practices that deviate from the set procedures (Yadav, Stapleton, and Van Wassenhove 2013). Therefore, the authors have provided a realistic way of addressing the issues regarding fraud facing companies with large supply chains.

The process of monitoring and evaluating the supply chain, which includes he inventory, becomes difficu...

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