The Coca-Cola Company only produces a syrup concentrate, which it sells to bottlers throughout the world, who hold Coca-Cola franchises for one or more geographical areas. The bottlers produce the final drink by mixing the syrup with filtered water and sweeteners, and then carbonate it before putting it in cans and bottles, which the bottlers then sell and distribute to retail stores, vending machines, restaurants and food service distributors
The Company operates a worldwide franchise system supplying syrups and concentrates to over 1,200 bottling operations, (there are more than 350 in the US alone!) which thus involves local companies and suppliers in the 200 countries in which Coca-Cola is sold.
The bottling companies distribute the world’s favourite brand using the most sophisticated technology and distribution networks available. The Company supports its international bottler network with sophisticated marketing programmes seeking to guarantee the Company’s brands are available where anyone is seeking refreshment. Coca-Cola’s bottling system is the largest and most widespread production and distribution network in the world.
The Coca-Cola Company isn’t one giant company; it’s a system of small companies. This pattern helps it scale new products, new communications, new equipment, etc. Designing for this pattern is critical; when it wants to scale fast, it can.