Black book is the new method of manufacturing orange juice

Monday, 11 February, 2013

Erratic weather, ever changing sources of supply, fickle consumer tastes… what’s an orange juice manufacturer to do so as to keep ahead of the game? Simple, devise an algorithm – that takes into account a mere one quintillion possible variables – in the production of their juice:

The Black Book model includes detailed data about the myriad flavors – more than 600 in all – that make up an orange, and consumer preferences. Those data are matched to a profile detailing acidity, sweetness, and other attributes of each batch of raw juice. The algorithm then tells Coke how to blend batches to replicate a certain taste and consistency, right down to pulp content. Another part of Black Book incorporates external factors such as weather patterns, expected crop yields, and cost pressures. This helps Coke plan so that supplies will be on hand as far ahead as 15 months. “If we have a hurricane or a freeze,” Bippert says, “we can quickly replan the business in 5 or 10 minutes just because we’ve mathematically modeled it.”

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