How Coca-Cola United Streamlined Freestyle Order Management

a sign on the side of a building

Coca-Cola Bottling Company United shared details behind the digital transformation that streamlined its order management process.

Although Coca-Cola United is a privately owned company that’s not owned by The Coca-Cola Company, it is a longtime supplier of Coca-Cola products directly to retailers and restaurants. Founded in 1902 and headquartered in Birmingham, AL, the company is the third largest bottler of Coca-Cola products in the United States.

When The Coca-Cola Company introduced its Freestyle vending machine, Coca-Cola United needed to streamline its order and invoicing procedures.

Creating APIs for legacy applications proved to be too costly, and the company also had to navigate a third-party website, said Allan McDaniel, manager of development for BI and master data at Coca-Cola United. The company instead teamed with digital transformation provider Happiest Minds Technologies to streamline its order management, using Microsoft Power Automate RPA bots to automate the process.

Desktop flows in Power Automate are designed to automates repetitive processes in Windows and web applications. Coca-Cola Bottling Company United collaborated with Happiest Minds to create a master automated service agent — they’ve named it “Asa” — that consists of several bots.

Built on Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Power Platform, Asa leverages Azure Key Vault to help secure and control passwords and other sensitive data, and it relies on Azure DevOps for continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD).

Watch: Coca-Cola's Newest Freestyle Machine

The new process in turn frees the dedicated CRM agent, allowing orders from all channels, such as inbound and outbound call center agents, field service sales representatives at customer sites, and via a customer self-service portal.

"We avoided having to hire 10 full-time employees. Better still, the existing CRM agent is now free to work on other projects,” said McDaniel.

Using Power Virtual Agents, Happiest Minds helped the company develop a bot that served as an intelligent front end to the new solution, with Power Automate used to drive the entire process.

By interoperating with other Azure services, such as Azure Key Vault, the system is designed to securely access both internal and external systems and orchestrate the entire order process, from purchase order to reconciliation, in SAP.

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