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Coca-Cola bottlers adopt SAP blockchain for supply chain

coca cola truck

Yesterday, Business Insider reported that the bottlers for Coca-Cola have adopted SAP’s blockchain platform. The project hopes to streamline the relationship between the 70 franchised bottling companies and was implemented by the tech partner to twelve of them, Coke One North America (CONA). With SAP’s solution, the CONA bottlers have increased transparency and efficiency in their intricate production line. Update: there are now plans to integrate this Hyperledger Fabric solution with the Ethereum Baseline Protocol.

CONA oversees the digital platform which manages the cola supply chain, while separate entity Coca-Cola does the marketing, budgeting, and owns the recipes. Combine this with multiple private bottlers across the US, which often trade with each other, and you get a complicated supply chain.

Thanks to SAP’s blockchain, inventory information is stored immutably in a single platform. So there is a clear record of stock, meaning orders can be filled quickly and reliably. This also reduces reconciliation time; CONA hopes to see the typical 50 days decreased to under a week.

The solution was originally trialed with two bottling franchises, Coca-Cola United and C.C. Clark, but after its success it is being scaled to all 70. With a supply chain operation worth $21 billion in yearly revenue, even a small increase in efficiency could save the firms millions.

“What we achieved here with blockchain is creating a document flow across the supply chain,” said Torsten Zube, head of the SAP Innovation Center Network. As to invoice or order disagreements, he explained: “There’s usually not that dispute anymore because the information that has been shared, it’s clear and transparent everywhere.”

The software firm is a big name in blockchain. It has a high profile pharmaceutical solution to tackle counterfeits in the US market, which joined with MediLedger two months ago. Meanwhile, SAP’s traceability blockchain is used for tuna by Bumble Bee and popcorn with Nataïs. It previously ran an aviation-focused challenge, but more recently partnered with standards body GS1 to track the life cycle of tires.

At the most recent CordaCon, it was revealed that SAP and Accenture plan to use R3’s platform to develop a real-time gross settlement (RTGS) solution. This could overhaul one of the critical aspects of central bank settlements.