Introduction one of the largest fast moving consumer good


The job vacancy which I am about to apply is a sales
representative job specifically for events, nightlife and sports for Coca Cola
European Partners Company after I am graduated. Coca cola is already active in
Belgium for almost 91 years and continues to invest in local production,
distribution, sales and 18 brands. Coca-Cola European Partners states in “Welcome to Coca-Cola European
Partners” (n.d.), that they are the world’s largest independent bottler
of Coca-Cola, that the Coca-Cola system employs more than 2500 people in
Belgium and that they sell and distribute across thirteen countries the world’s
most loved drinks brands to more than 300 million people.

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This report seeks to critically analyse the viewpoint of
Human Resource Managers in the beverage sector in Belgium. The report will
first give a short explanation for the chosen sector and company, followed by a
detailed analysis on the current and future threats with solutions and
opportunities faced by the HRM department in the abovementioned industry.

Lastly, a conclusion will be given.

Industry profile

The beverage industry is a
subsector of the food sector. “Market Monitor Food Belgium 2016” (2016) contents that in
Belgium, the beverage industry has grown over time and produces soft drinks,
juices, syrups, milk, and squashes. However, the food sector has high energy
and labour costs, the beverage sector itself is a profitable subsector due to
the huge international demand and sport events helps to drive demand.

Company profile

According to
Coca-Cola European Partners facts of their company, “About us” (n.d.), they are the leader in one of the
largest fast moving consumer good sectors in Europe’s most significant markets.

As said by CCEP, “About us” (n.d.), they offer consumers some of the world’s
leading brands and a wide choice of high quality drinks, with or without sugar
and calories. Coca-Cola European Partners sells than 50 brands, has over 300
million consumers and has companies in thirteen countries throughout Europe
where they employ 24.500 people.

History in Europe

According to
Coca-Cola European Partners facts of their history in Europe, “Our heritage”
(2017), France
was the first Coca-Cola bottling company in Europe in 1919. Throughout time, Coca-Cola
European Partners tried to adapt and respond to the market changes by giving
creative solutions which increases the sales. Coca-Cola started a company in
Belgium in 1927, which was the third company in Europe. During the Second World
War, the first challenge was that they were running
out of raw materials. They made ‘Fanta’ to solve the problem, since this drink
needs other sources. When the war was over, they started the production of
Coca-Cola again. During the
World’s Fair in Brussels, people got to know the company more and especially
the taste of it, which increased the sales after de war. Due to the fact that people had a
negative view on the quantity of sugar in the drinks, they invented Diet Coke,
but launched in Europe as Coca-Cola Light. To gain more money to invest, the
Coca-Cola Enterprises was formed and went on the New York Stock Exchange. The
market became even bigger by selling in East Germany after the Berlin Wall came
down. To face the fact that the company needed to become more efficient to deal
with the higher sales, the Coca-Cola Enterprises and the Johnston Coca-Cola
Bottling Group merged. As Coca-Cola could provide drinks on the Olympic Games
in Barcelona, they invented Aquarius. The Coca-Cola Enterprises became bigger
by buying operations among other things in Belgium and France. Coca-Cola Zero
was born, due to the fact that people still had a negative view on the Coca-Cola
drinks. They became independent from North America. Even in Norway and Sweden
they got a step in the market of bottling. Also in the South of Europe in Spain
and Portugal they realised it by fusions of different bottlers and making a
legal agreement so that the name Coca Cola could be used. Coca-Cola Life was
launched in GB with a sugar reduction of almost the half. Coca-Cola, as people
still had the feeling that Coca-Cola could perform better in the amount of
sugar in the drinks. On May 28th 2016, Coca-Cola Enterprises,
Coca-Cola Iberian Partners and Coca-Cola Erfrischungsgetränke officially merged
to become the world’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler based on income.

History in Belgium

According to J. (2016), the company is already active in
Belgium for more than 90 years. Belgium is important for Coca-Cola European
partners due to the fact that the second biggest innovation is located in
Anderlecht, in which they invested a lot over the last 3 years. In Belgium, Coca
Cola sells in around 90 selling points, which is good for 10.5 million
consumptions per day. Almost 3000 people are working in the company in Belgium,
of which each job sustains 6 jobs in other sectors in transport, catering,
suppliers and retail. As you can calculate yourself, this gives around 17.000
jobs in whole Belgium. Every year they support the Belgian economy by paying 1.6
milliard euros.

Vision, mission and

HR presentation oc
COCA COLA (2014) contents
that HR managers show the vision that it is an attractive place to work, that
Coca Cola is a positive brand which creates a change and keep in mind to ensure
return for their stakeholders and investors. HR managers are also a part of the
mission. The need to be optimistic and ensure the employees that they show that
optimistic view throughout their brands and actions. HR managers need to value
passion by showing that they are “committed in heart and mind”, not being fake
and performing well in every task they finish.

Current and future challenges facing the
HRM department

Research by Ali (2015) supports that there is a lot of competition in the
food and beverage industry. The HRM department of the company needs to find
creative solutions to face the current and future challenges to compete in this
highly competitive industry. Below a few threats are presented to which the HRM
department of the Coca Cola European Partners needs to find solutions.

Changing consumer preferences and the health
impact of soft drinks

According to the
annual report of the Coca-Cola European Partners, “Principal Risks and
Uncertainties” (2016), the
company distributes products unhealthy ingredients which are seen as negative. Because
the product range cannot be changed fast enough, the HR department is
responsible to educate the employees about the changes in consumer behaviours,
how to quickly respond on it and they need to make the communication faster if
the change is happening.

Legal and regulatory interventions

The government regulates parts of the production,
transportation and distribution of the Coca-Cola European company. It can mean
a huge impact on the company, if there are changes in regulation. For example,
higher taxes can influence the price they need to ask to the consumers. For
this challenge, there are no solutions found which can be influenced by the HRM


Cyber and social engineering attacks

The company’s biggest treats are the potential attackers’
skills and tools which are changing every day. This can cause entrance to data,
damage it and can result in damage of the company reputation, according to the annual report
of the Coca-Cola European Partners, “Principal Risks and Uncertainties” (2016).

Making the employees aware of what can happen by an attack and train the
employees how to solve that problem is the only solution in relation with the
HRM department to solve the cyber and social engineering attacks.


Building strong customer relationships is the key factor
to higher the prices. It is the task of the HR managers to train the employees to
make them able to negotiate with the customers, so they can still sustain their
relationship with them, even if the prices increase.

Product quality

Due to fact that safety requirements need to be followed and that there are so
many different kinds of products, it is dangerous that they can miss one of the
requirements which can damage their brand reputation. According to the
annual report of the Coca-Cola European Partners, “Principal Risks and Uncertainties”
(2016), the HR managers need raise
awareness of the hygiene regimes and monitor the consumers to solve this


Labour shortage

explained in his presentation of “The
workforce crisis of 2030” (n.d.), that labour shortage means that the labour demand is bigger than the labour supply. In
the future, this gap will only increase because the baby boomers will retire in
about 2030. So to face this challenge, Coca-Cola European Partners set up the
goal to have at least 40% women in management and other
leading functions in Belgium and Luxemburg by 2025. But not only women will
fill the gap, also older people need to be attracted to stay in the company as
long as possible by creating new norms on work hours for them, more training
for technology and so on.

Opportunities facing the business

Sustainability is the most important
opportunity facing the Coca Cola European Partners. It is a huge opportunity
for companies to stand out of the others. Coca-Cola European Partners tries to
be as much sustainable as possible. According to Coca-Cola European Partners, “Sustainability awards”
(2017), the company was for the
second year in a row part of the Dow Jones Sustainable Index in Europe and in
the World. This index is known all over the world of which every company wants
to be part. Joe Franses,
Vice-President of Sustainability (2017), says that almost 3500 companies
were evaluated and Coca-Cola European Partners was one of the three beverage
companies who reached the index last year. Of those three companies, they achieved the highest

Joe Franses
states that the company listens to their consumers and listens to leading
health authorities, including the Worth Health Organisation, due to the fact
that people want more natural ingredients in their drinks and less sugar. They
not only listen to the customers, but also to the stakeholders. They asked them
what they expect from the Coca-Cola European Partners. The feedback of the
stakeholders was that the company was seen as a good business but want that the
company develops their sustainable strategy to become a great company.


The company does not only want
to reach this sustainability index, they also look further and understand that
they have an impact on the environment and the societies in which they operate.

Therefore, they want to improve the world for everybody by also finding
solutions for climate change, lack of water, waste and pollution affect. Coca-Cola European Partners
states in their “Action on Climate” (2016), that their goal is to reduce
their carbon footprint and use 100% renewable energy. The company also wants to
reduce the sugar in their drinks by 10% between 2015 and 2020, for the
well-being of the consumers and because the production of sugar needs a lot of
energy and water. All these actions are set out in their sustainability action
plan, called ‘Forward’, which ensures a responsible and sustainable way to


After reviewing the complete report one thing is clear that
the strategies of the Coca Cola European Partners company are working very well
even the company faces a lot of challenges. To overcome these challenges, the
employees are playing a big role and they are also part of working out the
further strategies. Further education of employees and quickly respond on the
feedback they get from the sales managers will be important to cope with future
situations. The atmosphere needs to stay attractive for older people as well,
so they stay in the company until retirement age. This will also help to teach
the young people the skills they need for the job. To keep people more
motivated to keep longer on the work, they need to offer more sport facilities
and promote to sport after work. Another future opportunity for the company is
that they can enlarge and prepare their Human Resource Department to expand to
the other European countries in the future. This preparation will include more
culture awareness and preparing for a bigger amount of sales, which means more
work for the employees.