Coke One North America (CONA), a tech firm tasked with the supply chain management of Coca-Cola's bottling enterprise, has turned its gaze to blockchain technology.
According to Business Insider, CONA—which supervises the myriad of firms responsible for the manufacturing of over 160,000 Coca-Cola products daily—has struck an accord with the German software company, SAP.
Using SAP's bespoke blockchain solution, CONA hopes to reduce order-reconciliation time from around two months to a mere handful of days. This is the time taken to verify that an order has been settled, shipped and funded.
"There are a number of transactions that are cross-companies and multiparty that are inefficient,” Andrei Semenov, senior manager at CONA, said speaking to BI, "They go through intermediaries; they are very slow. And we felt that we could improve this and save some money.”
An initial pilot program returned a positive outcome, with a higher number of bottles being shipped as a result. This wasn't the only positive. SAP's platform reported high levels of interest from other businesses following the trial run.
Blockchain technology will also enable CONA to gain a more thorough understanding of the 70 bottling franchises within its $21-billion-a-year network.
Given the fact that these firms are distinct from one another, the problem of data sharing arose. Semenov explains how a consensus was reached, ensuring all parties were satisfied.
"There was a negotiation and discussion, getting to a consensus of what data we wanted to share. We started with a huge list of data attributes, and we narrowed it down to the list that everybody agreed on."
It’s worth noting the accounting firm Ernst and Young is trying to create a similar blockchain-based way of connecting businesses together and it’s trying to solve the data sharing problem by building its own privacy tools for the public Ethereum blockchain. But until that’s ready, companies like Coca-Cola will have to make compromises, in order to stop their data being revealed to other parties.
It appears that Coca-cola may have been spurred on by industry rival, PepsiCo. Back in May, Pepsi's blockchain test run, dubbed “Project Proton,” returned similarly favorable results, increasing supply chain efficiency by around 28 percent.
Utilizing smart contracts built by blockchain-platform Zilliqa, payments were undertaken in "near real time," providing "major efficiency gains."
Project Proton is currently undergoing its second phase, including payments to publishers, as well as further performance metrics.
With Coca-cola hot on Pepsi's heels, it'll be interesting to see where this re-sparked rivalry will head next. Pepsi-coin, anyone?