Coca-Cola UNITED Refreshes Its Emergency Communication Strategy With AlertMedia
- SafetyEnables 24/7 situational awareness to keep associates safe and informed, no matter where or how they work.
- ContinuityKeeps production and distribution operations running smoothly during disruptive events.
- ReliabilityEnsures HR, IT, and Security teams can always reach employees, even if standard communication channels are inaccessible.
- EfficiencyAllows the organization to quickly send notifications to targeted groups of its workforce across multiple channels.
- ProductsEmergency Communication Software, Global Threat Intelligence
- Primary UsesEmergency, Business Continuity, Operations, IT Outages, Inclement Weather
Coca-Cola UNITED Safeguards Communication During Critical Events
Founded in 1902 and headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED (Coca-Cola UNITED) is one of the largest bottlers and distributors of Coca-Cola products in the United States. Engaged in the production, marketing, sales, and distribution of a diverse portfolio of Coca-Cola brands, the company employs approximately 10,000 associates distributed across the Southeast. Each day, associates ensure more than 1,200 types of beverage products are produced and delivered to more than 150,000 retail customers.
After Hurricane Michael hit Florida in 2018 and impacted large portions of its large, dispersed, and highly mobile workforce and operations, Coca-Cola UNITED recognized it needed to revise its emergency communication strategy. When the hurricane wiped out cell towers, local HR leaders and supervisors had a hard time reaching employees through manual phone trees to confirm their safety and inform them of facility closures. Using AlertMedia’s multichannel emergency communication solution with integrated threat intelligence, Coca-Cola UNITED can now identify relevant, emerging threats faster while also improving the accuracy and reliability of employee communications. As a result, the organization has been able to ensure employee safety and business continuity.
Instantly Reaching Thousands Across a Large Geographic Footprint
Operating in the Southeastern United States, a region vulnerable to tornadoes and hurricanes, severe weather is a very real threat to safety and operations at Coca-Cola UNITED. With approximately 10,000 associates spread across 60 facilities in six Southeastern states, emergency communication at Coca-Cola UNITED is complex. As a 24/7 operation with employees that have varied job responsibilities, getting critical messages to associates quickly and accurately was difficult. Reaching production workers with limited access to email and field-based merchandisers that are highly mobile, for example, requires a different approach to communication than that for traditional desk-based workers.
“Severe weather, including hurricanes, tornadoes, and winter storms, threatens our business every year, but our ability to keep track of these events and inform employees at a moment’s notice became increasingly challenging.”
Without a uniform approach to emergency communication, reaching employees during critical events was inefficient and unreliable. Prior to AlertMedia, each region’s HR leaders and team supervisors would manually call and email associates to inform them of weather-related closures, delays, and operational changes. Employees could also call into the toll-free employee emergency phone number to hear recorded updates, but this required employees to proactively monitor and inquire about critical situations that could impact operations.
“Severe weather, including hurricanes, tornadoes, and winter storms, threatens our business every year, but our ability to keep track of these events and inform employees at a moment’s notice became increasingly challenging,” says Gianetta Jones, Vice President and Chief People Officer of Coca-Cola UNITED.
When Hurricane Michael struck Florida in 2018, the company’s need for a modern emergency communication solution became even more clear. The hurricane destroyed cell towers, making it difficult and often impossible to reach employees by phone. “In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, we recognized how important it is to be able to reach our associates across multiple communication channels. We need to be able to reliably communicate with every employee, even if a channel is down or inaccessible,” adds Jones.
Accurate Messaging With Multichannel Notifications and Dynamic Groups
After Hurricane Michael, Coca-Cola UNITED evaluated a number of different emergency communication solution providers. Of the solutions considered, AlertMedia stood out most for its ease of use, multichannel messaging capabilities, dynamic group functionality, and integrated threat intelligence and location mapping features.
Upon selecting AlertMedia, Coca-Cola UNITED also discovered the advantages of having dedicated, one-on-one support from AlertMedia. The dedicated Customer Success Manager (CSM) assigned to Coca-Cola UNITED helped the company get up and running quickly, configuring the solution to their unique needs and training the company’s primary users. “The implementation was incredibly smooth and the ongoing training and support we receive from AlertMedia is outstanding. Our CSM provides white-glove service, continually helping us get the most out of our investment,” says Janice Lewis, Coca-Cola UNITED’s Corporate Director of Human Resources.
“With almost 10,000 employees across six states, you can imagine how difficult this would be for our safety teams and the alert fatigue our associates would experience if we couldn’t target our messages with precision.”
One of the features of AlertMedia that Coca-Cola UNITED finds particularly valuable is the ability to segment employees into dynamic groups. “AlertMedia empowers us to target employees by region, facility, job function, or any other attribute, so we can get relevant messages to the right people, at the right time,” says Lewis. “With almost 10,000 employees across six states, you can imagine how difficult this would be for our safety teams and the alert fatigue our associates would experience if we couldn’t target our messages with precision.”
AlertMedia’s two-way, multichannel communication capabilities allow Coca-Cola UNITED to reach all of its associates quickly in the event of severe weather or other emergency situations. In a matter of seconds, the HR team can now send targeted notifications via email, phone call, text, mobile app, and even desktop alerts. “By diversifying our communication channels, AlertMedia ensures we can always reach associates during critical events,” says Jones.
With the desktop alerts feature, for example, Coca-Cola UNITED’s IT team can rapidly notify employees of IT issues or cybersecurity threats. Desktop alerts—which temporarily take over employees’ computer screens until they’ve confirmed the message has been read—capture the attention of the intended recipient immediately, ensuring time-sensitive notifications won’t be missed. If email is down for example, IT can send a notification via desktop alerts to let employees know they are aware of the issue and are working on a resolution.
Integrated Threat Intelligence Delivers 24/7 Situational Awareness
The response from employees since implementing AlertMedia has been overwhelmingly positive. “From an administrator’s perspective, AlertMedia is very user-friendly and it’s easy to get notifications out quickly. Our employees love it because they are always kept informed of events that may impact their safety or operations. They can be confident coming to work knowing that we care about their well-being,” says Lewis.
AlertMedia also enables Coca-Cola UNITED to take a much more proactive approach to employee safety. With AlertMedia’s threat intelligence functionality, Coca-Cola UNITED can identify and monitor emerging threats that may impact its locations and associates. “Combining analyst-vetted threat intelligence with emergency communication capabilities has given us heightened visibility into every emerging threat. With heightened visibility into every emerging threat, from hurricanes to tornadoes to nearby active shooter incidents, we can further protect our employees and maintain a safe environment,” says Jones.
“Our Security team can’t be everywhere at once. AlertMedia’s threat intelligence allows them to see all the potential threats across our footprint. With real-time insights automatically pushed to our safety leaders around the clock, we can more effectively identify the most impactful events happening near our people and instantly notify at-risk employees,” adds Jones.
With AlertMedia, Coca-Cola UNITED can now reach every employee—from the production floor to the executive suite—when critical events arise. “AlertMedia helps us identify and respond to disruptive events in real-time, and we’re now better able to take proactive measures to ensure our employees stay safe and out of harm’s way—no matter the emergency,” says Jones.
Prepared for Any Workplace Emergency and Critical Event
“With a large, highly mobile, and public-facing workforce, there are a wide variety of hazards that could impact our people in the course of their daily business activities,” says Jones. That’s why, after first rolling out AlertMedia to communicate with associates about severe weather events, Coca-Cola UNITED is now expanding its use of AlertMedia to communicate about a wider range of critical events.
From severe weather and IT outages to active shooter events and civil disturbances, AlertMedia can provide the threat intelligence and emergency communication capabilities needed to protect Coca-Cola UNITED’s people from any threat that may emerge. Concludes Jones, “When you’re separated geographically, a tool like AlertMedia helps organizations communicate faster, better, and more clearly. And that directly translates into a safer, happier, and more productive work environment.”
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