Coca-Cola has been part of the Philippines’ culture for more than a hundred years and the brand, aside from producing beverages, has touched a lot of lives, especially those who have been given opportunities to represent Coca-Cola in the market and sari-sari stores.
A few days ago, we went to Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines Sta. Rosa and Coca-Cola FEMSA Canlubang Plant to see up close how the bottles and beverages are produced, from a walk through of the plant’s bottling line to the comprehensive overview of production process, starting from raw materials, ingredients (the beverages are composed mainly of water, sweeteners, and natural flavors), then on to the bottled washer, where the bottles are thoroughly cleaned, then filled, capped, and inspected using stat-of-the-art equipment and strictest quality control measures, and all the way to the warehouse where trucks are waiting to load the products to to be delivered to the market.
It’s actually a long process and it’s good to know them, first-hand, the journey of the Coca-Cola bottles.
The biggest plant in the country
Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines Sta. Rosa is the biggest soft-drink plant in the country which opened in 1990. It occupies a total land area of 35 hectares and employing 730 associates. The iconic complex welcomes motorists after the tollway exit in Sta. Rosa, where the first thing you will notice are three gigantic cans of Coca-Cola, Sprite, and Royal Tru-Orange.
Trivia No. 1: It is widely believed that these giant cans contain the actual beverage. they are actually water tanks.
The plant primarily produces beverages in glass bottles as well as aluminum cans.
The fastest bottling line in the world
The Coca-Cola FEMSA Canlubang Plant, is the world’s fastest bottling line, capable of producing 81,000 bottles per hour, bringing the plant’s annual physical capacity to over 265 million physical cases from the previous 170 million. The main difference between the Coca-Cola FEMSA Canlubang Plant and the Sta. Rosa Plant is the former primarily produces beverages in PET packaging.
Trivia No. 2: Coca-Cola bottling plants are present in 10 countries which include Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Argentina, Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and the Philippines.
The journey moves along from the Coca-Coal FEMSA Canlubang Plant to the company’s Distribution Center just right around the corner of the plant’s vicinity. When the products arrive, they are tagged and subsequently loaded onto another truck in accordance with the orders of the customers for that day, and then dispatched for delivery to retail establishments in nearby provinces within the Distribution Center’s geographic coverage.
This one in particular, the Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines Silangan Distribution Center, serves the beverage requirements of close to 35,000 establishments, not just in the nearby areas of Laguna but even as far as Mindoro and Palawan.
Trivia No. 3: There are 19 Manufacturing Plants all over the Philippines with 60 Sales Offices/Distribution Centers.
The journey of success
During the plant visit, we were also given the opportunity to meet some of the establishments that are served by Coca-Coal FEMSA Philippines’ distribution center, such as the likes of Manang Yeye, Aling Lilian, and Aling Carmen who opened their canteens along the roadside, treating their customers with their lunch meal specialties and serving Coke, and expanded from sari-sari stores to know popular eateries in Canlubang.
These women thank Coca-Cola FEMSA for helping them grow their businesses, eventually were able to expand to a successful small business in the area.
Trivia No. 4: There are 4,500 Suppliers and 1,015 Delivery Partners delivering these products to 800,000 Sari-Sari Store and Food Outlets (Carinderias), as well as to the 24,000 Retail Outlets nationwide.
Journey of a bottle
More than its secret formula and world-class quality, a Coca-Cola, and all the other beverages produced by Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines, is actually made up of so much more. They are made by Nicco, Bottling Line Operator at the Coca-Cola FEMSA Plant in Sta. Rosa, who has been diligently doing his job for the past 25 years. Or Grace, who we met at the distribution center, a second generation Coca-Cola FEMSA Employee. And the likes of Manang Yeye, Lilian, and Aling Carmen, hard-working women who have put their kids through school with their determination, and who have a ll built a livelihood founded on providing nourishing meals and delicious refreshment in partnership with Coca-Cola FEMSA.
Trivia No. 5: There are about 10,000 Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines Employees working for Coca-Cola company that provide livelihood for 100,000 family members in the Philippines.
“It is seeing success stories such as these that push us to keep improving everyday,” said Juan Dominguez, Corporate Affairs Director for Coca-Cola FEMSA Asia Division. “Our business is not just about manufacturing beverages. Our business is intertwined with the lives of millions of Filipinos, from those that are employed by us, supply raw material to us, and those whose livelihoods include delivering or selling our products. Their success is our success, and we want to support them every step of the way.”
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