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In the beverage business, you don’t get much bigger than PepsiCo. In today’s client spotlight, we’re speaking with Butch Richardson of G&J Pepsi Cola Bottling, one of the largest Pepsi bottlers in the United States. Thank you for participating in our client spotlight, Butch. Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your […]

In the beverage business, you don’t get much bigger than PepsiCo. In today’s client spotlight, we’re speaking with Butch Richardson of G&J Pepsi Cola Bottling, one of the largest Pepsi bottlers in the United States.

Thank you for participating in our client spotlight, Butch. Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your role at G&J Pepsi?

My name is Butch Richardson and I am the Service Manager for G&J Pepsi Cola Bottling of Columbus, Ohio. My main responsibility is to ensure that the Pepsi Vending machines, glass door coolers , and Pepsi fountain dispensers that have been placed at our customers businesses are working properly.

We have a team of 13 Service Technicians for our marketing area that we dispatch to our customers’ locations when they request a service repair. Along with ensuring our Pepsi equipment is working properly, we try to respond to our customers’ requests for service as quickly as possible so that they are back in business selling ice cold Pepsi as soon as possible.

Over the past years we have maintained an average response time of less than four hours per service call on an annual basis for all service calls. In 2010 and 2011 we received the Service Excellence Award for being the best Pepsi Cola Service Organization in the country, thanks to our team of Service Technicians.

Everyone is familiar with the Pepsi brand, but few are aware of what goes into getting the product to consumers. What role does G&J Pepsi play in the process? What differs between G&J’s operation and that of PepsiCo?

G&J Pepsi has four bottling locations, one of which is here in Columbus, Ohio. Under the extremely strict policies and production directives of PepsiCo, our four production facilities produce all of our Pepsi carbonated drinks, including Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mt Dew and Dr Pepper to mention a few, and our Aquafina water.

We also produce virtually all of the Pepsi syrup flavors for use in the Pepsi Fountain dispenser at our local and national restaurants chains, sports venues, entertainment venues, convenience and gas locations, to mention a few. Products that are not produced at one facility are inter company shipped to other locations as sales direct. This allows us to use economies of scale to obtain the best yields and production cost available to our organization.

Additionally through some joint ventures with Lipton Tea, Sobe Lifewater, Gatorade, Mt Dew AMP and Rockstar Energy drinks, Muscle Milk, Ocean Spray and Dole Juices, Starbucks coffee drinks, and Schweppes mixers, we distribute these brands in various single serve packages along with the carbonated beverages and Aquafina water that we produce, directly to our customers.

We are a complete beverage company offering non-alcoholic beverages to fit virtually every consumer’s beverage needs. We do a direct store door delivery to our grocery chains and independent stores, mass merchandisers, drug stores, restaurants, schools, season accounts such as swimming pools and local sporting events, office complexes, apartment complexes, business and industrial complexes, convenience and gas locations, entertainment centers, and almost every type of business one can imagine.

Our delivery system consists of a combination of tractor trailers, 12 and 16 bay route trucks and some basic box type vehicles. Our sales force is continually engaged in seeking to gain more opportunities in our marketing area, on a daily basis, to secure additional placements of our Pepsi equipment, and products and to help our customers become more successful.

G&J Pepsi is family owned independent business and is a franchisee of PepsiCo. As noted above we adhere strictly to PepsiCo’s policies and directives for the products that we produce at each of our four productions facilities. There are various joint PepsiCo and franchisee committees that meet on a regular basis to discuss various aspects of the Pepsi beverage business regarding various local, national and political concerns that do, or may, affect our industry.

As far as the operations end of the business, there are not too many differences, as PepsiCo adheres to the same strict productions policies and directives. Basically, we both distribute the Pepsi product in a similar fashion.

Why is it important for G&J Pepsi to have 24×7 call center support? What types of situations arise after hours that require immediate attention?

Before going to a central call center each G&J Pepsi location had a separate answering service and each did things a little different. This was fine until businesses started to expand into more than one marketing area, and, along with that, there were changes that we bottlers were experiencing in our industry, and how we were conducting our business.

Longer hours of operations for our customers soon turned into more service requests later in the day. Because of the various methods that we used to handle our service requests after hours, there were concerns with how we were treating our customers.

It became imperative to have everyone on the same page so that every customer request was being handled the same way and in a timely manner. By having a central call center, there is less confusion for our customers as to whom they should be calling after the normal business day, and the process for handling our customer requests is now uniform.

Additionally, if we have changes in our business that affect the service portion of our industry, we now only have to go to one source to get the process implemented for all of our customers. Tracking and monitoring has become much easier, and it’s faster to get feedback. If there are issues within our system, we can get them corrected quickly and efficiently.

Responding to our customers’ requests for service in a timely manner is paramount to the success of our business. In the evening we mainly focus on our restaurant and entertainment venues, and it is very important that we have the service request generated in as short a time frame as possible so that we can respond and make the necessary repairs that evening. Here in Central Ohio, and across the nation for that matter, more people spend more leisure time in the evenings and weekends being entertained at sporting events, concerts, and eating out, so as that segment of the business day expands, we have to as well if we are to continue to be as successful as we have been in the past.

There are a lot of options for handling calls after hours. You could send them directly to technicians, use a voicemail system, or run your own call center, among other things. In your opinion, what makes CMS the best option?

We have tried some of these systems in the past, but when we miss a call our customers suffer and they’re unable to sell our Pepsi products. So we need to have a reliable system in place that makes the chances of missing a service request extremely rare.

Call centers such as CMS have all the tools necessary to help us manage our needs. The technology that you have put in place helps us do a better job of managing our Customer Service Requests with a minimum amount of worry and a greater amount of accuracy. Because of your technological upgrades, your ability to work with us to meet our specific service needs, and your willingness to help us solve any issues that may arise, CMS is the best option to keep us number one in our marketing area.

Outsourcing is often a difficult thing to get right. CMS and G&J have worked together since 1989 and we’ll soon be adding support for 7 more of your locations. What do you feel has made our relationship successful? Do you have any advice for a company who is considering outsourcing?

CMS has been willing to do almost anything within their capabilities to help us resolve every issue we have encountered. We have had some issues in the past and I have always had the utmost respect for you standing up and making the corrections necessary to ensure we’re always moving forward.

Regardless of the size of the problem, you always take the time necessary to listen to our suggestions and then work towards a successful resolution for both of us. I guess the one thing that stands out above the many things we do is, at the end of the day, are our customers satisfied with your service?

During our normal days of operation we run the service portion of our business and are very good at it, but when we turn the calls over to an non-beverage organization, can you get the same results?

In our case with CMS, the answer is yes.

You are among the largest Pepsi bottlers in the United States. What sets G&J apart? What do you consider the keys to your success?

Being a family owned business I think makes a big difference, and having a large number of the family members involved in the day to day operation of the business is another reason we are successful. While profit is necessary to being successful, they treat their employees with respect and dignity, and offer competitive wages and benefits. They also expect us to produce the very best Pepsi products, and produce services that exceed our customers’ expectations, which I think is very reasonable.

We do what is asked, and sometimes it is above and beyond the call of duty, but we do it because we are Pepsi Proud! Making our customers successful makes us successful. While there are many individual successes, the real key is how the team pulls together to reach the goals and objectives that are necessary to keep our customers happy, and part of our Pepsi Family. I am only as successful as the Team is successful. The old adage that there is no “I” in team really is true here. I have been fortunate, and blessed, to have had the opportunity to work for G&J Pepsi.

For more information on G&J Pepsi, check out their website at http://www.gjpepsi.com/. Interested in participating in our next client spotlight? Contact our newsletter team at newsletter@continentalmessage.com.

 

By Last Updated: April 8, 2021Categories: Blog8.6 min read