How Does Supply Chain Data Influence the Way You Buy Wine

Dustin Caudell
Wed, Nov 11, 2015
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Consumers want a variety of information when they shop for wine.

Wine consumers consider a variety of factors when deciding on a product. A recent research report conducted by the University of Adelaide studied numerous purchasers at different phases of the supply chain to see what data lead to their final decisions.

The report found restaurant managers buy wine based on taste, while people dining out prefer to stick to brands they are familiar with. Retailers disregard label and packaging in favor of price and availability. Individual consumers love to explore the origin and different flavors of products.

At each point of the supply chain, different sets of data became important to decision-makers. If wineries and suppliers understand what their consumers look for, they can be certain to have the proper stock on hand. Complete visibility of inventory management means businesses will have all the data they need to communicate quality to any audience.

Growing Conditions and Availability
The region in which the wine was grown, the year it was bottled, the ingredients and the bottling process have all been found to greatly impact the appeal of a wine. Consumers of this libation are notoriously picky and venues do their best to supply shoppers with the information they want. Manufacturers and suppliers need to supply production and distribution data to meet the demands of consumers, restaurants and retailers.

Starting with the details of initial production, the information delivered to purchasing parties must be complete. If a manufacturer uses an automated data collection solution during wine production it must account for numerous outside factors. ERP systems should integrate time frames, formulation processes, supplier details, weather conditions and storage factors. Wineries need a flexible automated data collection system to ensure every worker has access to data reporting and capturing capabilities.

The automated data collection solution must also account for feedback from consumers and buyers. Inbound Logistics said it can be quite difficult to balance the supply and demand of wine, especially big-ticket products. If manufacturers create a number of high-priced bottles they can't move, it ties up a good deal of capital. On the other hand, suppliers have to be ready should a new product prove to be a hit with customers. An integrated automated data collection solution allows wineries to communicate with buyers and receive prompt feedback.

Obstacles in Shipment
When consumers choose a wine based on brand, they purchase a product with a proven track record of quality. The superiority of merchandise is not just contingent on the ingredients and creation process. Buyers want a product that has been handled with care from the plucking of the first grape to the final uncorking.

The Wine Supply Chain Council said wine is a fairly fragile product that needs very specialized shipping accommodations. First of all, wine containers are breakable glass bottles and require sensitive handling. Secondly, some merchandise must remain in refrigerated warehouse containers or shipping trucks; most products should avoid drastic temperature changes or the cork will move and allow oxygen into the bottle. Finally, wine is a consumable, so supply chain supervision must prevent dangerous contamination and meet government regulations.

Maintaining Visibility at Every Distribution Step
If a brand wants to keep its standard of quality, it must communicate its manufacturing and distribution processes. Data should show the fresh ingredients and delicate procedures used in wine creation and the careful handling and oversight of warehouse management and shipping.

An RFgen customer case study shared the example of a winery, Chateau Ste. Michelle, that uses a JD Edwards World enterprise resource planning software suite to gain complete supervision of its inventory. The winery worked with RFgen to create specialized automated data collection features to guide storage, shipping and picking practices. The system easily integrated into the existing infrastructure and allowed the company to track each individual bottle through its production facilities and warehouse. The solution improved efficiency and provided information that managers could easily share with any interested party. 

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