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Bottled Better: Coca-Cola’s Connected Factory approach


May 17, 2019 - 0 Comments
Contributors: Kenn Dodson

When the largest Coca-Cola bottler in the United States recently increased their number of production centers from 5 to 13 (through acquisition) they knew that getting them to work together would be a challenge. With issues around proprietary infrastructure, an explosion of data, and the age old issue of IT vs. OT, integration had to start off solid. So they turned to a trusted partner, Cisco.

Digital manufacturing for better integration

For most of us, Coca-Cola is more than a product. It’s a lifelong memory, and a good one. For over 117 years, Coca-Cola Consolidated, Inc. (CCC) out of North Carolina, has been a part of building those memories.

Over that time, CCC has also put stewardship first, and they continue to as they make, sell and distribute 300 brands and flavors of beverages across 14 states for over 65 million consumers. Part of that stewardship has involved making the most of the resources they have by constantly increasing efficiency. This includes operating some of the most water-efficient plants in the world. And using new and innovative technologies to improve their operations.

But when it came time to integrate all thirteen of the plants, it was apparent that increasing efficiency required tackling some serious issues first, including:

  • A lack of transparency into plant operations
  • Routinely outdated data
  • Issues with proprietary infrastructure and specialized controllers/functions.

Throw in the typical back and forth between OT vs. IT goals, especially among so many production centers, and you can see the need for a more holistic approach to operations. One built on better data management and analytics driven by deeper real-time insights and collaboration.

Benefits of a digital factory

Smart_Factory_Digital_Manufacturing_Industry40

So CCC turned to a trusted partner, Cisco. Together, we are working towards full deployment of networking and communications capabilities that will help connect a wide array of systems already in operation throughout all thirteen plants.

Known as the “Connected Factory” concept, this approach is helping CCC integrate OT among all the production facilities to enable:

A big benefit for the CCC OT team has been Cisco’s proven experience in integrating OT and IT for manufacturing. Through the Cisco Connected Factory solutions, CCC OT and IT teams are improving collaboration while gaining a consolidated view of production performance. This enhanced approach to factory collaboration is helping them manage production assets better. And Cisco’s industry leading end-to-end cybersecurity is keeping them more secure while they do so.

Cisco’s Connected Factory solutions are also helping boost performance through a secure industrial network backbone. This lets CCC enable faster delivery of data and insights so they can make better decisions faster.

Bridging the gap between OT and IT

But CCC’s is not the only factory network benefiting from Cisco’s experience in OT and IT integration. Through its manufacturing solutions, Cisco is helping connect and secure factories around the world. This is because we understand the need to bridge the gap between OT and IT by:

  • Delivering visibility into your assets on the network so your OT team has a centralized view of network activity. This helps them better understand normal and abnormal activity.
  • Enabling your IT team to pre-define security policies, and dynamically assign them, based on input and intent from your OT team.

By deploying factory wireless tech you can drive real-time decision making plus much more. And by combining Cisco Industrial Network Director (IND), Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE), and Cisco Stealthwatch, you can deliver a comprehensive factory security solution built for the needs of both your IT and OT teams.

Since Coca-Cola Consolidated’s birth early last century, their namesake product has become a national institution. And thanks to innovative technologies that help increase collaboration and operational efficiencies, it will continue to be a part of our lives well into the next. So I invite you to enjoy a cool refreshing Coke today. One “bottled better” thanks to a little help from Cisco’s Connected Factory solutions.

You can read more about Coca-Cola Consolidated’s road to digital transformation in this IDC Customer Spotlight.

1 Source: IDC Customer Spotlight, sponsored by Cisco, “Connecting the Factories at Coca-Cola Consolidated”, February 2019

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