Elena Kirova: At Coca-Cola HBC we make things simple and workable

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We are developing the skills to “see” opportunities and implement new technologies for improved productivity and efficiency at all levels, says the Digital & Technology Platform Director

Ms. Kirova, you have nearly 15 years of experience at Coca-Cola HBC, to what extent has the company and its processes gone digital and what are the biggest benefits of this?

As a company that not only follows but creates trends, we have always been very ambitious in our digital plans and evolution. If I turn back and look at warehouse processes and their digitization, for example, we can see how all activities in the preparation of deliveries have moved to an autonomous solution with mobile devices and scanning instead of paper. Subsequently, we also upgraded these technologies by introducing smart glasses and voice commands. This has helped us be more productive, achieve over 99% delivery accuracy, and increase customer satisfaction. These technologies are now an integral part of the organization in 24/7 mode. We have gone through a transformation to SAP including SAP S/4HANA, what to talk about automated robotic solutions, digitization of document workflow with our customers, e-signing, and many more. The list is long, and the benefits invariably support the business and its development and expansion with new categories, channels, and markets, with much more efficient processes and systems, and with a constant focus on improving the interaction with our partners and customers, who always come first for us.

Innovate or you are late is the motto of your team. How, through innovation, do you protect the company from delays in development and difficulties in its work when introducing any innovation?

First and foremost is good planning and change management, combined with the involvement of the organization at all levels, careful monitoring of end-to-end work processes, continuous improvement of employees' knowledge and skills, active feedback seeking, and flexibility for subsequent optimizations, where necessary. In case of complex and major changes, we necessarily plan the possible negative scenarios as well as crisis management. But our common goal is to make things simple and workable.

What innovations are Coca-Cola HBC Bulgaria proud of, and how does the team maintain its “thirst” for innovation? The entire interview with Elena Kirova can be found in the new issue of Economy magazine.