Coca-Cola chooses Renault Trucks
No more than 30 minutes. This is the limit when it comes to the time customers should have to wait for their deliveries from Coca-Cola HBC Switzerland. “We have to be able to rely on our trucks to deliver what they promise,” says Richard Oppliger, distribution manager, who has recently replaced the whole of his fleet with Renault trucks.
The largest city in Switzerland, Zürich, the centre of the country’s finances, has a beautiful location, surrounded by high, snow-covered mountains. Just outside the centre, Coca-Cola HBC Switzerland has its headquarters, plus a total of three plants elsewhere in the country. This is where the world-famous drink, Coca-Cola, is poured into plastic bottles and packed in large crates, ready for delivery to customers.
400 million liters
Every year, the company delivers some 400 million litres of drink to thirsty Swiss consumers and 50 per cent of it is from the Coca-Cola family, but other fizzy drinks and the country’s own water, known as Valser, are also included.
Switzerland is a small country with just over seven million inhabitants. As land is expensive, large storage facilities also cost a great deal of money. Coca-Cola HBC uses four distribution centres in different parts of Switzerland and it also focuses very heavily on just-in-time deliveries, direct from production to the customer.
“Our trucks are basically never stationary,” says Rickard Oppliger and explains that by far the most important thing for the company is that deliveries arrive in time.
“A delay of 30 minutes is acceptable, but, if it takes any longer, we are in trouble. Customers are impatient and don’t want to wait. If it takes several hours, it’s a catastrophe. That’s why we have to be able to rely on our trucks,” he says.
Directly to the door
The company’s customers range from large food shops and restaurants to private individuals.
“Being able to drive right up to a family’s door and deliver the drinks directly is an important service,” says Rickard Oppliger and explains that this is one of the reasons the company chose vehicles from Renault Trucks.
“They offer us the complete range of large, heavy-duty trucks that can carry a large number of bottles and crates to small trucks that can get through narrow city streets,” he says.
Five years ago, Richard Oppliger decided to replace his heavy-duty fleet of around 38 trucks and it did not take him long to choose Renault Trucks as a supplier.
“The combination of fine quality, good fuel consumption and a complete range of different models was the decisive factor, as we think it gives us the best value for money,” he adds.
62 Renault Mascott
The partnership between Coca-Cola HBC and Tarcis Berberat, sales director at Renault Trucks in Switzerland, began in earnest at the same time. After replacing the heavy-duty trucks, he turned his attention to updating the lighter models.
“He ordered 62 Renault Mascott trucks, the small distribution vehicles, in one go and our partnership has simply continued,” says Tarcis Berberat with a smile.
The whole fleet, just over 100 trucks, now consists of vehicles from Renault Trucks – everything from the heavy-duty distribution truck, the Renault Premium, to the small Renault Mascott and Maxity variants. The company also recently ordered 12 new Renault Midlums, the medium-duty truck.
As Richard Oppliger sees it, the service and support Renault Trucks provides is essential in his work.
“I expect them to solve my problems. If one of my trucks breaks down, I need to be able to make a quick phone call and get help. So far, I am really satisfied. I trust Tarcis and his employees,” he says.
Diesel the best
Right now, all the trucks at Coca-Cola in Switzerland run on diesel. Richard has seen Renault Trucks’ range of both hybrids and pure electric trucks and he thinks it is a good thing that the company is investing in alternatives. However, as far as he is concerned, diesel is still the best fuel.
“It goes without saying that the company has an environmental policy and that we implement it. However, in the heavy-duty segment, it is no alternative to replace diesel with ecological fuel,” he says.
Business is going well for Coca-Cola HBC, according to Richard Oppliger. The company is steadily expanding by between three and four per cent a year. The peak season is from March to September, with another peak around Christmas and the New Year.
The red trucks with the Coca-Cola brand also stand out in the traffic. In Switzerland, there are not that many trucks weighing up to 40 tonnes. According to Tarcis Berberat, the domestic population only totals 1,000 trucks.
When the Global team finally made their way into the yard to take photographs after the interview, we had to hurry. Several of the trucks had been loaded and were ready to leave.
“Customers are waiting for their deliveries. I need to make sure they leave,” says Richard Oppliger.
Coca-Cola HBC Switzerland is one of the largest suppliers of non-alcoholic beverages in Switzerland, with a market share of 50 per cent. In the Cola segment 80 percent. The company distributes around 400 million litres a year to shops and restaurants and directly to private households. The main brands are Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite, but Valser water and Nestea are also included in the range.
The company has been established in Switzerland since 1936 and it is what is known as a franchise company of the parent Coca-Cola Company in the USA. This means that the Swiss company has the sales rights to the products in its range.
Coca-Cola HBC Switzerland has three plants in Switzerland which produce drinks and employ some 1,300 people in production, sales and distribution.
Coca-Cola HBC Switzerland is also part of the Coca-Cola Hellenic Group, which has its headquarters in Athens, Greece, and runs operations in 28 countries worldwide.