BD: Good to speak with you Moshy! First off, what are the most important credentials that RCCI looks for in a bottler? We are looking for bottlers with the capability to produce our products meeting our stringent manufacturing, sanitation and quality standards. We are also looking for these bottlers to be able to distribute, sell and market our brands in a competitive, focused and professional manner. We want to work with bottlers that want to be players in the cola segment.
BD: Are there any specific technologies, equipment, standards that you specifically demand? RCCI has specific quality standards given to all of our bottlers to ensure high level of beverage quality and food safety. The most important factors in the manufacture of CSDs are the water and sugar – sweeteners if sugar is not used.
Since these two factors are very important, a bottler must have the right water treatment equipment to ensure RCCI water standards are met. If a bottler decides to perform sugar treatment then the bottler must have the right technology to meet RCCI sugar standards. Other than those two main factors a bottler must have acceptable filling and packaging equipment for CSDs.
BD: How do you work with bottlers to increase their line efficiency and ensure consistency – what kind of factors can you address? Our technical team assists our bottlers in many of the technical and manufacturing aspects of a bottling plant. We continuously visit the bottlers to perform plant audits that will help us identify issues and opportunities for improvement. From this point forward we collaborate with the bottler to develop a plan of action, and we work hand in hand with the bottler to implement the work plan.
BD: How big/small need one be to join the RCCI system? There is no specific size that we look for in a bottler. We will assign a protected sales territory that is proportionate to the manufacturing and distribution capabilities of a specific bottler in a specific market.
BD: To what extent is it true that flexibility is key, in terms of production scheduling and effecting line changeovers to meet the consumer demand for newness? In a market that is seeing a proliferation of products, flavors and package types it is imperative to be flexible in your production scheduling in order to accommodate changes in market demands. It is a difficult task to balance flexibility with the goal to attain cost efficiencies but this is the name of the game.
BD: Since you sell products in 60+ countries, how hard is it to ensure consistency in terms of the standards you apply, especially in emerging markets where training might be slightly more difficult? RCCI has strict food quality and food safety programs that includes a product sampling program. Each bottler must submit product samples at a certain frequency from the production lines and the market to our corporate laboratories. Corporate laboratories test the samples to ensure RCCI compliance.
BD: What are benefits to bottlers of joining the RCCI system? The bottlers in our system enjoy the benefits of working with highly skilled professionals in the areas of product development, manufacturing, marketing and sales & distribution. Bottlers also enjoy the benefits of working with very competitive brands that enjoy consumer satisfaction and recognition. Finally, bottlers become members of a network of companies that are willing to share best practices with other member bottlers thus enhancing the overall results of each individual bottler.