Coca-Cola Is Killing Zombies

Coca-Cola Is Killing Zombies

September 28, 2018

Is Coca-Cola hunting zombies?

Yes, but in this case a zombie is a product whose sales have not grown over the last three years.  Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey requests “zombie reviews” for each market using a guide that was developed for these reviews.

Already this year, Coca-Cola’s Middle East and North Africa business units have identified over 125 zombies that have been or will be removed by the end of the year.

This post is based on the Beverage Daily article, Coca-Cola Steps Up the Zombie Hunt: More Than 100 Products Identified For Elimination, by Rachel Arthur, August 13, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / Gillian Entress.

Discussion Questions:

1. Why eliminate zombies?

Guidance: As the article states, removing zombies reduces complexity.  Resources that went to zombies could be diverted to “star” products or to introducing new products.  These resources cross the entire organization from the marketing department through the supply chain.  This reduction of complexity make it easier to efficiently run the entire supply chain.  Ideally, this will put the resources on the products that will produce the most revenues for the organization.

2. Any potential problems with killing the zombies?

Guidance Continue reading

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Re-inventing Lego Bricks for a New Generation

Re-inventing Lego Bricks for a New Generation

September 19, 2018

Lego has vowed to remain innovative while producing the same 86-year-old product.

Long-time favorites among children all over the world, Lego bricks have made successful appearances in movies and in video games to attract new generations. Despite the longevity of the legendary toys on the marketplace, Lego wants to cement its image as an educator by producing an environmentally friendly product.

Lego bricks are made of durable, safe, polished, and colorful petroleum-based plastic. The search for a plant-based alternative has proven challenging, but Lego is determined to keep trying.


Video Spotlight: Lego to launch sustainable bricks made from sugar cane


This post is based on the New York Times article, Lego Wants to Completely Remake Its Toy Bricks (Without Anyone Noticing), by S. Reed, August 31, 2018; and the YouTube video, Lego to launch sustainable bricks made from sugar cane, by Dezeen, March 5, 2018. Image source: Cr-Management GmbH & Co. KG/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. Which one(s) of the Three Rs does Lego pursue in its current manufacturing operations? How would you characterize the company’s carbon footprint?

Guidance: Review the three Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle. Currently, Lego reduces its use of petroleum-based plastic by using Continue reading

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China and Industry 4.0

China and Industry 4.0

September 3, 2018

China is leading the world in implementation of Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 is a digital factory concept that promises to dramatically increase productivity, decrease inventory holding costs, improve quality, and increase forecasting accuracy.  The IT architecture has to be built around the company’s unique business needs and processes instead of building a strategy around a particular technology to make Industry 4.0 work.

Investments in Industry 4.0 should have a payback period of less than two years.

This post is based on the McKinsey article, Imperatives for China’s factories of the future, by Anil Sikka, August 3, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / Phonlamai Photo.

Discussion Questions:

1.  Industry 4.0 requires a major investment in IT architecture, e.g. data, analytics, robots. Are there limitations to implementation of Industry 4.0 that were not mentioned in the article for companies in the United States?

Guidance: Review the concept of scalability.  Students should recognize that the costs of implementation may limit Industry 4.0 to larger companies.  Additional issues that should be noted are workforce availability to implement and operate the IT architecture, and the requirement for tighter supply chain integration.

2. What happens to break-even quantity when Industry Continue reading

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