Coca-Cola United automates over 50,000 orders in complex SAP invoicing process with Microsoft Power Platform

In this blog series, we are sharing examples of customers who have been able to Do More With Less by utilizing the Microsoft Power Platform in their organization to build applications, automate processes, determine insights and more. This week, we are highlighting Coca-Cola Bottling Company United (Coca-Cola United), who have used Power Platform to (a) automate on-demand shipment requests – reducing order validation time from half a day to seconds, and (b) automate a complex multi-step SAP invoicing process to handle over 50,000 orders – an achievement that would not have been otherwise possible with just one employee tasked with managing the process.


Coca-Cola Bottling Company United (Coca-Cola United) is one of the largest privately held Coca-Cola bottlers in the United States. Serving about 200,000 customers demands an impressive infrastructure: 5,000 trucks to deliver more than 600 product lines to a full spectrum of consumer channels, from small convenience stores and restaurants to mega-retailers.

Efficient Order processing from half a day to seconds

Coca-Cola United wanted a faster way to process on-demand shipment requests (or “forced shipments”) from customers. Previously, account reps had to submit orders and check inventories manually, which often led to shipping delays.

A solution was built in just a few weeks using Power Apps and a custom connector was used to integrate with the central SAP system. Here’s how it works:


The benefits of automation were dramatic. What used to take half a day to validate inventories and other order data can now be completed in seconds. Along with more efficient processing, the new solution has also resulted in fewer errors, faster delivery times—and higher customer satisfaction.

“The solution has helped restore customer confidence—which has driven even better sales,” says Bob Means, Director of Business Solutions at Coca-Cola Bottling Company United.

Automating a cumbersome 11-step manual process

Coca-Cola Freestyle is a strategic brand builder—a self-serve dispenser that reimagines single-serving beverage sales and offers more than 100 Coca-Cola product choices, from bottled water to Sprite, many in a variety of formulations. But more choice for consumers complicated distribution. 

The customer relationship management representatives had to go through a complex and manual 11-step process including cross-reference customer and material numbers, process the order and manually push it through the system, scanning the invoice and walking it to the Accounts Payable department.

graphical user interface, diagram
Multistep manual invoice process carried out by the customer relationship representative

To automate this cumbersome process, the solution was built by the company’s fusion teams of citizen developers and professional developers and its partner, by using a series of integrations between SAP and Azure with Microsoft Power Platform acting as the automation agent to automate the entire process.

Power Automate RPA took mundane, tedious tasks and enabled employees to focus on more strategic initiatives. Coca-Cola United can now schedule and trigger events that increase end-to-end automation of high-volume tasks—like its suddenly expanded orders for Freestyle. It also allowed Coca-Cola United to automatically process orders received from multiple channels – beyond having to have the agent to work on each order.

As a result, Coca-Cola United could benefit from immediately freeing up one full-time employee to work on more strategic activities, and better yet could profitably scale to execute the strategic local Coca-Cola Freestyle campaign where it would have taken a maximum of ten full time employees if done manually.

graphical user interface, application
Process automated by Power Automate

Since then, Coca-Cola United has gone on to automate other business processes with Microsoft Power Automate RPA capabilities.

“We are very excited about this solution that will dramatically reduce labor costs, minimize the various points of error in our current solution and will allow us to rapidly expand the Local Freestyle Campaign to better support our customers.”

– Kaylan Cannon: Customer Service Manager, Coca-Cola United

Read more about how Coca-Cola Bottling Company United dispenses streamlined order management with RPA in Microsoft Power Automate

You can also learn more about how Coca Cola United automated their process from a video presentation below:

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