The past year has delivered solid results for Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) and this success has been based upon both strategic changes and the successful introduction of new products, with some notable impacts on the convenience channel.

In a post financial results release chat, C&I Week spoke to Martyn Roberts, Group Chief Financial Officer at CCA, to find out how the changes at CCA have impacted the convenience channel.

Significantly the Australian Beverages division of the business is ahead of schedule in delivering a three year, $100 million cost savings plan and the business is progressing steadily in the implementation of the strategies, first announced in an October 2014 review.

The stated objectives of the 2014 review included the need to stabilise earnings and return to growth; strengthen the company’s brand portfolio and increase appeal to a wider range of consumers; optimise revenue management by optimising price, pack architecture and strengthening promotional management; restructure the company’s cost base to deliver ongoing productivity gains and redesign the route to market model to improve cost to serve and better leverage CCA’s scale.

By resdesigning the route to market, CCA has achieved significant gains and these changes have impacted directly upon retailers. As Mr Roberts told C&I Week, while CCA hasn’t changed the way it delivers product, it certainly has changed the way it sells and that’s been a main focus of the last 12 months.

“What was happening before was customers (whether they be good, bad or indifferent) were getting a very similar level of service attention from our sales people. But what we have done now is we’ve categorised those customers into what we call gold, silver and bronze. The gold customers – who are our biggest customers – are now getting a lot more focus from our sales people and then the smaller customers, we are really encouraging them to move online or use our national sales centre and be more self-sufficient,” Mr Roberts said.

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According to Mr Roberts this change has enabled the company to grow sales by having more focus on the bigger customers.

“That’s enabled us to free up sales people [and] form a new team of new business hunters who can actually go out and look for new customers rather than having our sales people working in the same pool that they have been working in for years.”

Refocusing the sales team in this manner so that sales people are able to go out and try and find new outlets and expand the company’s reach is a huge operation.

Mr Roberts says “it has been a big reorganisation with most of the effort on that in the first half and that’s really settled down in the second half and will hopefully set us in good stead for this year and beyond.”

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This story first appeared in Convenience and Impulse Retailing.