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Winemaker grows for the future

Winemaker grows for the future

For Delegat's Wine Estate, it's mission critical that the company is on top of balancing supply and demand. Forward planning is a key part of the business, says Matt Boswell, Delegat's corporate financial planner.

For Delegat’s Wine Estate, it’s mission critical that the company is on top of balancing supply and demand. Forward planning is a key part of the business, says Matt Boswell, Delegat’s corporate financial planner. Three years ago, the wine company implemented an IBM Cognos TM1 analytics solution to help make better business decisions, based on more accurate information.

The analytics solution balances supply and demand by taking into account the stocks of all grapes from Delegat’s vineyards in Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay; leased vineyards and contract growers, and all growing costs. It breaks all that down by varietal blocks and by region, explains Boswell.

On the demand-side, the company’s global sales teams report their forecasted sales figures. Should the company need to secure more supply, for example, the team can start looking for land or finding new growers in good time. It takes about five years to get a vineyard off the ground — from when you plant it to the time when it’s fully yielding, Boswell says.

A strong benefit of the system is that it provides a fully consolidated set of financial accounts, stretching out 10 years, he says.

“This is very useful for presenting information to the bank and shareholders. These numbers are hard to argue with because they have the full detail behind them.”

The technology, which was implemented by Cortell, has also helped shorten Delegat’s planning cycle by around six weeks. The previous solution was a detailed Excel spreadsheet that took a long time to update, he says.

“It would burn weeks of people’s time. Now, that same process can be done within a matter of hours. That frees up valuable resource to focus on more value-add activities. It has improved people’s roles — now they can be working on the business rather than checking that the model reconciles.”

Implementation went well but had its fair share of challenges. Boswell says it’s crucial that you get along with the implementation team that you are dealing with — because both sides are going to be under stress at times.

“Also check that you have the right skills within the business and within the implementation team.”

Ideally, the structure of both teams should cover both IT and finance, in order to understand what you are trying to achieve, Boswell says. Document your requirements in detail before the implementation team comes on-site, he says. That way everyone knows upfront what is required.

Without doubt, the investment in the analytics solution has been worth it, he says.

“This is a critical business tool now. It hasn’t changed the business — we have always made good wine and been a successful exporter of it — however, it has provided more timely and accurate information to base our business decisions on.”

Delegat’s has just rolled out a new ERP system to provide better feeds into the planning tool. This means Boswell and his team can plan certain areas in even more detail, which could lead to some changes in decision-making.

“We have a general idea of what we think will happen but this will provide black and white analysis around that.”

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