£100m investment is the real thing

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SOME DRINKS come and go but Coca-Cola is forever, according to Ian Johnson, the operations director at the soft drink giant’s bottling plant in Yorkshire.

Coca-Cola Enterprises has invested £100m in the factory over the last five years, including £30m in a new automated storage and retrieval warehouse.

The site is the largest of its kind in Europe and the third biggest in the world.

The new warehouse doubles the site’s storage capacity and allows manufactured products to be delivered directly to customers.

Mr Johnson said it will save 500,000 road miles every year.

He is excited about the development of a new production line at the facility, which represents a £12.5m investment.

CCE is also investing in a combined heat and power system, which will save 1,500 tonnes of CO2 a year, a 5.6 per cent reduction.

The company is celebrating 25 years in Yorkshire this year.

Mr Johnson said the company chose Wakefield because it is at the crossroads of the M62 and M1. “For transport, it’s an ideal location,” he said.

Asked why he thought Coca-Cola has had such longevity, Mr Johnson said: “It’s a fantastic product.

“For me, it’s one of those enduring products where the flavour seems to go across generations.

“Some food stuffs come and go, but Coca-Cola seems to be forever.”

CCE has 10 apprentices at the factory, including eight adults.

Mr Johnson said: “We take some of our operatives from production and send them to Wakefield College with our young apprentices. We are upskilling our people.”

CCE plans to take on another two young apprentices and a further four adult apprentices this year.

The company cited independent research claiming that manufacturing and selling Coca-Cola products adds £2.4bn to the UK economy every year.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, the Labour MP for Morley and Outwood, will join John Brock, the chairman and chief executive of CCE, to officially unveil the new warehouse next week. The factory employs 419 people.

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