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Wine and Food Supply Chain Council

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We are a research organization composed of supply chain professionals committed to improving international supply chains for wine. We share the results of our research (but protect the data of our partners and collaborators).

There are great opportunities to make wine (and food in general) supply chains lean. This concept is associated with the world of  manufacturing, where it was introduced by Toyota. But some of the same issues apply to supply chains, though in new and sometimes unexpected ways.

The issues on which we focus are:

Elimination of waste

This includes double-handling, such as moving wine among tanks, repacking bottles, repalletising cartons.

Management of variability

Process time variability means downstream customers must endure occasional stock-outs or else protect themselves with extra inventory, an additional expense. Temperature variability damages wine by creating piston-like movements of the cork, which admits oxygen to the bottle.

Synchronisation and alignment

All participants in the supply chain must coordinate to match production with consumption. But wine production requires long lead times and depends on unforeseeable factors such as weather. Furthermore, many of the markets for alcohol are regulated in complex and arbitrary ways. Such factors create dilemmas all along the supply chain. For example, should the winery make-to-stock or make-to-order?  Or should it produce unlabeled bottles for later customization? How can internet sales be facilitated? What will be the role of the distributor if the 3-tier system of distribution, now common in the US, is dismantled?

Continuous improvement

There must be processes in place to constantly review and evaluate supply chain performance as a whole, and not just the independent enterprises along the chain. And the supply chain must look ahead to new challenges, such as carbon-based costs, or a reorganization of the current 3-tier distribution system in the US.















    • WSCC Plans Seventh International Meeting for June 2011
      Bologna, Italy (March 2011) – The next meeting of the Wine Supply Chain Council will be in Italy. We will first attend the annual meeting of the American Association of Wine Economists 22–25 June, in Bolzano. Then we will continue 26 June–01 July, at Bertinoro (Forli-Cesena) and Orvieto (Terni), Italy, where Professor Riccardo Manzini and his colleagues at the University of Bologna have planned an international workshop on food supply chains. (Note that registration is open to all.)