New guide puts positive spin on LEAN times ahead for Australian wineries

A guide explaining the principles and application of LEAN in the Australian wine industry will be released next month, with a number of wineries  eager to reap the anticipated cost, energy and time savings.

Adelaide-based business and engineering consultancy, 2xE, is producing the guide as one of three projects it has been funded to deliver in the research and development area of wine process efficiencies, by the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA).

The two other projects are:

  1. an 18-month life-cycle cost analysis of wine processing to identify major opportunities for process efficiency improvements, and
  2. a broad review of beneficial techniques and technologies.

2xE chief executive Nick Palousis said that, in its simplest form, LEAN is a business process that seeks to identify and remove waste to improve overall customer value.

Although still relatively new as a concept, more industries are taking up the LEAN manufacturing principles, including several of the large wineries in Australia, Mr Palousis said.

“However, this isn’t just for large wineries. The guide will explain and showcase studies of where savings can be made by applying LEAN even to a small- or medium-sized winery,” he said.

“It encourages a shift in production mindset away from being supply-centric, towards being demand-centric from the point of view of what the customer wants, both in terms of volumes and quality.

“Anywhere work is being done, waste is being generated. Waste could come in the form of non- value-adding activities such as producing more product than is necessary, time in waiting, excessive transport, product loss, excessive processing, or even wasted materials.

“LEAN focuses on minimising these types of wastes and improving productivity through improving flow to and relationship with the customer.”

Mr Palousis said feedback from industry already suggests a huge amount of interest and willingness to learn more about LEAN.

“From the number of wineries we’ve spoken to, both in our work to gather case studies and in testing the Guide, it’s clear LEAN is an idea whose time has come for the industry. The cost of doing business is now just too great to ignore, and LEAN is particularly effective at getting a handle on these costs,” he said.

The guide has four key chapters:

  1. Starting to think Lean: Outlining what mindset is needed to apply LEAN in a business.
  2. How to identify waste: Describing the LEAN tools and techniques used to identify waste in a business.
  3. Eliminating waste: The LEAN techniques and tools needed to remove waste and adapt business processes.
  4. Introducing FLOW: The tools and advice to adapt LEAN across all areas of the wine business and make ongoing adjustments.

The Guide will be accessible on the AGWA R&D website and is designed to be easily navigated. Readers can skim the surface to gain an overview of each chapter or dive in deeper. Mr Palousis said the team was also working with AGWA to establish a plan for extension and rollout of the principles in the Guide across the industry.

If you’re interested in holding a workshop on applying LEAN principles in your region, please contact AGWA R&D at research@agwa.net.au.

Forklift movement (used in LEAN Guide)
Forklift movement (used in LEAN Guide)