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Our People: Craig Walker, Primary Packaging Manager

Our people

Our people are our greatest asset, and they each have a unique story to tell. Craig Walker, Futureworks Primary Packaging Manager in Supply Chain, shares his views on working at Amatil.

Our people are our greatest asset, and each has a unique story to tell. Craig Walker is Futureworks Primary Packaging Manager in Supply Chain, and has been with Coca-Cola Amatil for ten years. Craig recently agreed to answer a few questions about himself, his career path and his "Only At Amatil" moments.

Hi Craig, let's start with an easy one. What is your favourite beverage and who would you share it with?

These days my favourite beverages are the Mt Franklin Lightly Sparkling flavours in cans. However, I was a huge Coke Zero fan.

In the past I would have shared it with Steve Waugh to learn about his mental toughness and determination however, after recently reading their book 'Unmasked' I'd love to share it with Turia Pitt and Michael Hoskin. Such an incredible story.


Tell us about your career path before joining Coca-Cola Amatil?

I've always been technically oriented and steered my learning more towards the sciences during school.

I started my career working for a specialty concrete and construction chemical company where I held various roles. From there I progressed to be a Technical New Product Development Manager for the leading decorative concrete company in Australia. 

The biggest step change in my career was joining Visy PET as Product Development Manager looking after all development for Coca-Cola Amatil and Cadbury Schweppes plus water and alcohol categories.  Once Amatil started exploring vertically integrating our PET supply chain by moving to blow-fill technology I couldn't wait to join the team.


Why did you want to work with the team at Amatil?

I have always been a fan of Amatil and the heavy focus on people in it's culture. At Visy there were a large number of former-Amatil beverage packaging colleagues, so I felt like part of the team already. There are also very few companies where you get to work on truly iconic brands and packages or projects which touch most people.


What does the FutureWorks – Primary Packaging Manager role involve?

My role at Coca-Cola Amatil involves many key areas. I am the subject matter expert for all things PET. This ranges from development, preform and bottle design, sustainability, alternate resins and additives, recycling, through to bottle processing in our sites and operator training on PET processing. I support all NPD's from a packaging point of view and have technical responsibility for all primary packaging. Basically, if it touches the product it is my responsibility.


How does the FutureWorks team partner with the broader business?

Our small team works with many areas of the business covering manufacturing, technical, marketing, logistics, sales, our suppliers and The Coca-Cola Company. We act as the technical leads for all packaging providing support, guidance and advice in various capacities ranging from new product development, product and packaging optimisation, cost outs, supply chain and technical innovation, sustainability and reducing our overall impact on the environment. 


What is the team's area of focus for the next 12 months?

Over the next 12 months our FutureWorks team will continue to focus on three pillars:

  • New Product Development support. We provide technical, packaging and engineering support to all NPD projects from pre-gate 1 right through to launch and post launch review.
  • Cost outs. We are constantly striving to remove costs from the supply chain through packaging and processing optimisations. During our time we have cumulatively removed over $100M from supply chain packaging and raw material costs.
  • Technical support by acting as the business subject matter expert for technical and engineering packaging issues.

 What are your top three tips for being a positive role model at Amatil?

  1. Be your best
  2. Challenge the status quo and find a way to make things happen.
  3. Always think of the bigger picture and put Amatil first.


How will you enjoy your next annual leave day?

I have just returned from a trip to Nepal with my son and 26 others so haven't really thought about my next day off. It will likely involve some quiet time with my family.


What is your #onlyatamatil moment and why did it make a difference to you?

I have been fortunate enough that there have been many over the years. Two stand out;

The first was the launch of the Coca-Cola 'love' cans [in 2017] which happened unbelievably quickly and demonstrated what, as a combined system, we could do when we really wanted to.

The other was the relaunch of the Powerade bottle when we converted to blowfill a number of years ago. One of my bug bears was that the old bottle had a foil seal under the cap and these were constantly removed and simply chucked away as a litter item. I viewed these as a beverages version of the cigarette butt. We were able to challenge our designs and processes to ensure that the new pack didn't require a foil seal and this tiny piece of needless packaging was no more!