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COCA-COLA BOTTLING COMPANY UNITED
Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED
The Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED is an independently owned bottling facility
for The Coca-Cola Company products, headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. The company
holds exclusive rights to bottle the company’s product and is one of the top three Coca-Cola
product bottlers, and the number one bottler that is independently owned—the others are owned
and operated by The Coca-Cola Company (“History,” 2012). The company maintains three
different production facilities and eighteen different sales centers to provide products to the
territory assigned to the company by The Coca-Cola Company, which covers regions of
Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED holds several rights granted to them as a
franchisee of The Coca-Cola Company. The company provides the concentrate for the various
products as well as the containers in which the product is to be bottled. Coca-Cola Bottling
Company UNITED is then responsible for mixing the concentrates with sweeteners, still water
and/or sparkling water to produce finished beverages, which Coca-Cola Bottling Company
UNITED then sells to merchants within their territory (“Form 10-K,” 2011).
The success of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED is highly dependent upon the
success of and their contract or relationship with The Coca-Cola Company. However, Coca-Cola
Bottling Company UNITED has independent initiatives as well. Some of the company’s
initiatives include maintaining green, sustainable operations and minimize waste, which have
contributed to LEED (Leadership in Energy, and Environmental Design), adding value to their
customers, and to offer meaningful employment to their associates. Additional initiatives include
improving processes, increasing efficiencies, improve customer service, and to generate greater
COCA-COLA BOTTLING COMPANY UNITED
returns for shareholders.
Administrative Law
While Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED will work to successfully achieve these
initiatives, they must do so within the parameters of the law. Many of the laws that the company
will need to adhere to are administrative laws (Kelley, Hayward, Hammer, and Hendy, 2011).
Such laws will cover numerous areas of Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED’s business,
including the company’s procedures for bottling, their disposal of waste, and their treat of
employees. The company must adhere to laws set forth by the Food & Drug Administration, the
Environmental Protection Agency, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Each of these agencies has passed laws and regulations that dictate behavior related to the
initiatives in place for Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED for the next five years.
Regulations from the Food & Drug Administration regulate bottling processes, which in turn
protects the health of consumers and improves the value for customers. Environmental
Protection Agency laws and regulations will determine how the company will use resources and
discard of waste. This can help the company continue their green efforts, reduce their waste, and
improve efficiencies. Meanwhile, the laws upheld by the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission ensure that all employees are treated equally and fairly. This will complement the
company’s efforts in providing meaningful employment opportunities to their employees.
Ideally, changes in any of these laws would benefit the company in more way than one
towards achieving their initiatives. However, the impact of changes in such laws may be
substantial. For instance, if the Food & Drug Administration would find fault with the sanitation
processes of the company and require new systems be put in place, the company would be
COCA-COLA BOTTLING COMPANY UNITED
delayed in providing their product, and the product that they have produced thus far could be
called into question. This would have adverse effects upon the company’s initiatives of
providing value for customers, improving efficiencies, and providing greater returns for
shareholders. On the other hand, such changes could also work positively for the company by
forcing new processes to be implemented, which in the end improve processes and efficiencies,
and generate a greater return for shareholders.
Applicable Sales, Licensing, and e-Commerce Laws
In addition to administrative laws that Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED must
uphold, there are also laws that are applicable to sales, licensing, and e-commerce. Coca-Cola
Bottling Company UNITED operates independently of The Coca-Cola Company, yet bottles
product for The Coca-Cola Company and sells to retailers within their territory. In other words,
there is a contract between Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED and The Coca-Cola
Company, which allows Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED to operate as a franchise. This
permits the company to create the Coca-Cola products, use the Coca-Cola packaging, and sell
the product on behalf of The Coca-Cola Company. Therefore, all laws relating to business
contracts and franchises would be applicable. Likewise, the contract will also deal with licensing
laws, since a special privilege or license is being given to Coca-Cola Bottling Company to
produce the goods.
Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED sells products to retailers at wholesale. However,
all related sales laws, including sales tax, must be upheld. The fact that the company sells at the
wholesale level coupled with the fact that the produced goods are perishable drastically
decreases the company’s likelihood of dealing with e-commerce laws. Even though e-commerce
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laws would likely not be applicable, any e-commerce laws would fully apply to the company.
All of these laws would need to be taken into consideration for the company to make a
viable plan in achieving the initiatives that they have chosen to implement over the next five
years. If such laws are not taken into consideration, then the plans or methodology devised by
the company to achieve these initiatives may not come to fruition due to legality issues.
Recommendations
Just as it is important to adhere to all of the aforementioned laws, it is also important to
recognize the threat of lawsuits that Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED has in regards to
privacy protection, product liability, and intellectual property rights. The company is dealing
closely with a protected product of The Coca-Cola Company. Likewise, their franchise
agreement would have specifications as to what is or is not allowed regarding the use of the
product provided to the bottling plant. For instance, the bottling plant is only permitted to
produce certain products and does not have the privilege to sell the fountain syrups (“Form 10-
K,” 2011). Any sales of such syrups would be a violation of the franchise agreement and
contract, and would open the company to a host of lawsuits including breach of contract, privacy
protection, product liability, and possibly even intellectual property rights.
In order to minimize this threat Coca-Cola Bottling Company should ensure that they are
meeting all stipulations laid forth in their contract with The Coca-Cola Company. Likewise, the
company must carefully market themselves and the products that they create to avoid crossing
any boundaries regarding intellectual property. The company should also take exceptional care
in how they package the Coca-Cola product to avoid any litigation concerning product liability
(Kinzie, and Hart, 2002). The best recommendation, however, is to have top-level executives be
COCA-COLA BOTTLING COMPANY UNITED
familiar with the laws which could affect operations and could potentially lead to lawsuits. The
Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED must then be carefully analyzed to ensure compliance
with all of these laws. Any areas where there is a question or that is not in compliance must be
rectified immediately to minimize any threat that it may pose to the company.
Conclusion
In conclusion, Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED must carefully plan the initiatives
that they make for the company. Initiatives must be confirmed only after careful analysis into the
legality of the action plan devised by management in achieving these initiatives. By taking into
consideration the various laws that could have effects upon the success of the initiatives in the
planning stage, litigation can be avoided and there is a possibility for the company to
successfully accomplish their goals and their initiatives.

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