Thursday, May 26, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Today we visited our second multinational of the trip, Coca-Cola Hellenic. We started the day touring their production plant. Before entering the production floor, we were presented with the company's history and the difference between the Coca-Cola Corporation we know in the United States and Coca-Cola Hellenic. The current relationship between Coca-Cola as a whole and Coca-Cola Hellenic is similar to the relationship between Coca-Cola Bottling Company and Coca-Cola prior to their merger. Coca-Cola Hellenic is a franchise that purchases the name and the "secret" concentrates to produce Coca-Cola before distributing them to around 28 countries and 77 facilities. After the presentations and some free Coke products, we were allowed to enter the production room cloaked in visitor lab coats and souvenir red hats. Some of the fun facts we learned on our tour are:
1. One unit of concentrate makes 2,000 liters of soda.
2. The machines can fill and seal 75,000 cans per hour.
3. The entire plant must be disinfected when switching products.
4. Plastic bottles are made starting with a test-tube shaped piece of plastic blown out using intense air pressure inside a metal mold.
We were all fascinated to hear and see exactly how the manufacturing portion of the supply chain for Coca-Cola Hellenic worked, especially since many of us haven't had a chance to tour a production plant like that before. Our hosts were extremely generous and gave us several souvenirs from the production floor along with all-you-can-eat sandwiches, chips, and coke. We all definitely left full, happy, and impressed. We then made our way to the corporate headquarters of Coca-Cola Hellenic, a site merely half an hour away from the bottling plant. As we arrived, we found our hosts very welcoming, although they were quick to poke fun at our previous blog picture featuring their competition, Pepsi. Once again, Coca-Cola products were quick to be offered, and this Greek hospitality was greatly appreciated. Our knowledge of Coca-Cola Hellenic financials and the overall European market was greatly augmented by the first speaker we had the pleasure of interacting with. He delved into the profitability of their various products, and explained how popularity of products differed across Europe. Our second presentation brought to light the corporate structure and Human Resources side of the corporation. Our main contact, a member of the Human Resources team, spoke to us about the company in general, and her personal experiences with Coca-Cola Hellenic. As our host was born and raised in New York, we could truly relate to her. We learned of her experiences in adjusting to Greek business life, which made for quite an informative conversation. On our way back from Coca-Cola we passed the facility for the opening ceremonies of the 2004 Olympics, along with several of the other Olympic venues. We weren't able to go into the stadium, but it was amazing to see how large all of the structures were. We also passed by the original Olympic stadium closer to our hotel, which was a sharp contrast from 2004's modern arenas. While they were impressive, we were surprised to learn that Greece spent over $6 billion on Olympic facilities, which is over $3 billion more than any other Olympic location. However, after reading our blog, Konstandinos Kartalis, the member of parliament whom we met yesterday, sent an email with a clarification. He said, "According to several studies, Athens spent less than Atlanta, Sydney or Beijing (20 billion euros) for the Olympic Games. In addition London is expected to spend 15 billion euros for OG 2012. The amount of 6 billion euros is indeed considerable, but it resulted in a major boost in the development of the country, it provided major infrastructure works which improved the shape of the city and the quality of life of its citizens, etc. In any case, 6 billion euros represent less than 0.6% of the cumulative GDP of the country for the period 2000-2004." After our usual rest, we were treated to a talk by one of Tatiana’s longtime friends about the European Union and its role in preserving the culture of Greece. We were all very interested to learn about some of the projects funded by 1.3 billion euros from the EU, including the Acropolis Museum we visited, the walkway in front of the Parthenon we walk on every day, and several other cultural sites around Greece. The EU continues to fund cultural projects, but because of the economic crisis the country is experiencing, the Greek government has had trouble financing its portion of these projects. Tomorrow we will visit Delphi, an important cultural site to Greece and a site that has received some of the aforementioned cultural improvement funds from the EU and the country itself. Team #1