Lean for Winery Production

Lean for Winery Production

By Walt Tarpley, Vice President of Client Services for Manex

Manex’s Lean experts recognize that each industry within manufacturing has unique operational challenges and opportunities. Winery production clients generally seek improvement in four categories: linking strategic value and activity, people talent management, process capacity or capability, and performance through better decision making. Fortunately, Lean production uses an entire suite of methods to identify and eliminate hidden, non-essential activities and process steps.

How can Lean for winery production help your winery operation?

Lean for winery production can be used to address a diverse range of practical problems around winery processes and procedures and can help how your team create more predictable customer results. Lean production is used to sharpen the focus of wineries to help rethink production, reduce high operating costs and simplify day-to-day tasks. It is designed to improve a business’s bottom line, but it is not just a cost-cutting exercise; it is a new way of thinking about existing operations.

Common winery production issues emerge in three areas: harvest to crush, production to bottling, and support to distribution. Lean production is a system to focus on aligning customer value with how that value is created, because anywhere work is being done, waste is being generated. By leveraging Lean tools and methods, projects will reduce human effort, space, materials and expenditures. Waste could come in the form of non-value adding activities such producing more than necessary, time in waiting, movement, re-work or double handling, unnecessary processing and misuse of materials (hard waste). Lean production focuses on minimizing these types of waste and improving productivity through improved flow and relationship to the customer. Once implemented, lean production can allow better decision-making to reduce expenditure, increase profitability and create a happier workplace.

Reduce labor costs, optimize product flow with Lean for winery production

The harvest to crush cycle is filled with opportunity to optimize processes for labor constraints or product flow. One client was about to purchase over $100,000 of extra containers for harvest; through Manex helping their team analyze flow was able to get the harvest in on time and not escalate labor costs, while eliminating the need for extra containers. Another client reduced their harvest labor cost 11%, while meeting harvest timelines and saving over $400,000 per year.

Typical production to bottling projects involve product quality, food safety, and capacity planning. Wine maker’s expert decisions and perfect execution of those activities can affect wine quality barrel yields and prevent grading losses. We extract your expert decisions and actions into work standards to help you build backup resource requirements to minimize risks to product quality. Food safety post-graduate microbiologists who are GFSI and PCQI certified professionals help to resolve issues with fermentation, spoilage, consumer safety, plant sanitation, HACCP/HARPC/FSMA, process improvements, and crisis or incident management. Scaling of operational volumes to meet desired targets seems simple on the surface — until you are executing, then learn that things don’t scale nicely with people, process, and production issues.

Support and distribution processes benefit from Lean for winery production in three main ways: people strategy, executive coaching and sustainability.

Selecting talent for cultural fit and developing skills requires insights beyond what interviews bring. Selecting the right person for your desired role and cultural fit is critical to your brand image; Manex brings the leading behavioral prediction index tool to identify and select talent. This tool has documented sales increases with many clients across numerous hospitality industries. Executives today are most successful when they have trusted advisors across numerous business areas. Lean perspectives bring insights to your business, helping separate essential projects from the “nice-to-haves.” Sustainable infrastructure is created by how you manage delivering quality results to your customers. Consistency over time is impossible without documenting critical operational practices using methods to purposefully extract key knowledge. Most family businesses fail before they can be passed to the third generation. Manex excels in building process memory into organizations for better scalability.

What benefits from implementing lean for winery production could a winery expect? Businesses received 6:1 return on investment for every project dollar spent over the past 25 years, resulting in well over $1 billion in client documented benefits. The benefits of Lean are found in operational, administrative, strategic, and financial areas. Operational results most often desired involve improvements in process cycle times, improvement in quality to reduce rejects and rework, and reduction in product to market time. Administrative improvement results include customers’ satisfaction improvement, fewer processing errors, and streamlined administrative functions or decision making. Strategic results most often create benefits of increased market share, quicker changeovers as competitive advantage, and promoting competitive differentiation in the market. Financial results fall into the category of reducing costs, increasing revenues, and improving margins.


About the Author

Walt Tarpley has over 25 years of extensive manufacturing experience and expertise in general management, manufacturing operations, quality systems, engineering, and continuous improvement initiatives, including Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma. As an experienced change agent, he has led numerous process improvement initiatives resulting in top-line and bottom-line growth across a range of industry sectors and geographies, in 40 U.S. states, South Africa, Canada, Caribbean, Europe and the United Kingdom. Walt can be reached at wtarpley@manexconsulting.com.


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