Many incentives and purposes challenge the beverage industry production and distribution facilities. High frequency changes and resulting costs are caused by a variety of factors and sources. However, in a high volume consumer product like beverages, the main objective is to satisfy the consumer at almost any cost.
Using the supply chain as the pathway that requires comprehensive coordination can provide an example of why such an approach is necessary. As a start, the processing of a product in any segment historically has been based on what the customer wants and will buy. Projections often are inaccurate and can be costly to operations. But how important is the manufacturing and marketing interface?
Practically, any beverage facility involving these operational functions is driven by the product, the package, and finally the promotions and incentives used.
Because processing initiates the product, the manufacturing unit must have the capability and technology to formulate and prepare for packaging. All of which could require modifications, additions or replacement equipment and machinery.
To accommodate product packaging, in addition to the machinery and equipment, the marketing unit must ensure that graphics of a package are available and applicable to their requirements. The graphics could have a dramatic and costly impact on the capabilities of the manufacturing units. With all the machinery, graphics and physical requirements, it stresses the importance of an integrated team to execute the essential manufacturing and marketing interface.
But where does it start and where does it end? As stated, product and package configurations start with the customer and marketing. In the beverage industry, the origin of product and package changes will probably never end ― it’s cyclical and could be infinite. The possibility raises on-going questions: Who is responsible? When is best time to schedule change? Are the changes feasible to accomplish?
From an operations perspective, marketing, insofar as possible should establish a product and package plan over time. The plan step is necessary for the manufacturing unit to perform due diligence on operating conditions such as what is needed and what exists?
Time is an essential element because most product and package changes usually will require management decisions on capital and support of marketing programs; therefore, a simple important decision in manufacturing and marketing interface hinges on when is the best time to embark on product and package plans that might demand dramatic impacts on manufacturing physical capabilities.
Because manufacturing depends on marketing decisions, it is prudent to set up a team effort that will ensure necessary elements and decisions are considered. Such an approach can minimize the impacts of marketing decisions and ensure that timely decisions are made.
Because the cycle of change emanates from marketing and sales, consideration also must be given to the seasonality of beverages. Major projects involving modifications, additions or even physical facilities can become quite complex involving time, availability of materials and even the state of considered technology. These factors also can affect the project cost and return on investment,
Needless to say, but often overlooked, scheduling complex projects should be avoided during high volume seasons. And finally, major product and package changes should be coordinated with manufacturers and suppliers of packaging materials. They too must have capabilities to cope with beverage producers demands ― they might be required to retool their facility to remain a supplier.