Esporão is one of the largest and most prestigious estates in Portugal, with 12 brands and more than 50 products that are exported to over 50 countries. Known for innovating and diversifying its products and regions, the company strives to differentiate itself through the quality and image of its wines and olive oils and by anticipating the future.
Continuous investments in technology and the development of best practices have raised the quality of the company’s products, increased productivity and capacity and reduced environmental impacts. Quite simply, Esporão’s future orientation has led to the creation of more and better products.
To succeed in the intensely competitive global marketplace, Esporão must overcome many challenges. Effectively manage a growing portfolio. Accurately control legal and quality procedures. Align different departments and distributors in product development, and finally, promptly deliver products, without errors.
The Challenges of Managing a Growing Portfolio Manually
Esporão’s success, and the increasing demand for its products has led to robust expansion. The company has increased its wine and olive oil production capacity and recently entered the competitive beer market. The key for success will be through successfully managing this increasingly complex portfolio of products and customers.
The global wine market is incredibly demanding and complex. At Esporão, for example, 40 people from different departments and distributors are involved – from the initial product requirements definition until the product is shipped to different locations around the world. Before the company began working with b_ create this was a manual and fractured process.
Data was registered in wide ranging systems, from excel spreadsheets to emails and the company’s ERP system. This increased execution times and operational costs and made it tough for the company to see the big picture and make timely decisions. This lack of information and transparency often creates other problems, such as incorrect orders and product non-conformities. One small error can ripple across the entire supply chain, vastly increasing costs and delivery time.
Esporão’s high quality standards – and the increasing global popularity of its products makes it imperative to adopt a tool that makes possible a strict monitoring of procedures and validations throughout the entire product development cycle. Integrating communication and centralizing data is essential. Esporão has five core needs to achieve fast, efficient product development:
- VISIBILITY over projects.
- AGILE time to market.
- TRANSPARENCY on product requirements.
- CENTRALIZATION of all product information.
- EFFICIENCY on compliance reviews and validations.
Despite Esporão’s success in the market, extensive integration and automation in product management did not exist at the company before the team worked with b_create. Some product development projects could take more than three months for exports to certain countries. The lack of precise validations and communication integration often led to delays in delivering precise information to distributors. Equally important, key creative leaders at Esporão often lost so much time in routine product development tasks that they lacked the time and energy to fully explore profitable new product ideas and markets.
Change to Win: The Solution
Teams from Esporão and b_create worked together from the start to make sure the implementation process would proceed smoothly and ultimately succeed. Together they identified and prioritized critical success factors: naming a project manager on both sides. Engaging all the company stakeholders in the process optimization. Effective delegation of responsibilities, and alignment of expectations from different departments.
The first major step was to get an accurate big picture from all the different angles. b_create began by interviewing the key people from each department: commercial, marketing, production, winemaking, quality, client service and others. This customer-centric method and design enabled b_create to gather the main needs and actual problems, to be more precise in problem solving and prototyping the system for a customized solution.
Product development workstreams were optimized and validated to make sure everybody was on the same page. Esporão’s IT team and b_create worked towards assuring that their existing ERP system was ready to integrate with b_create platform. This collaborative process insured that both databases could communicate without problems and users wouldn’t have to input product information on the ERP again.
After designing the prototype, b_create presented it to the key Esporão users, so that they could validate the key features and the new workflows. A small pilot group began using and testing the system, and then b_create onboarded the entire team.
Business Improvements, Efficiencies, Innovation Potential
Esporão’s talented team embraced this technology shift wholeheartedly. They came to the project with an open, collaborative mindset that, along with the user-friendliness and ease of use of b_create technology, played a central role in the success of the implementation.
The full deployment of b_create has resulted in several immediate benefits for Esporão. First, the platform’s advanced process automation and integration has enabled Esporão to reduce its product development cycle times by an average of 40%. Second, real time information generated through effective reporting and dashboards has eliminated procurement mistakes and product order changes. These immediate improvements in efficiency and quality do more than simply save resources and money.
They provide the company the critical time and confident mindset to better innovate promising new products, effectively increasing the number of projects per year. And since b_create’s collaborative, flexible system makes it easy to bring in different stakeholders on the same page, more people are involved and informed during the product development process.
The b_create team‘s commitment to our implementation and concerns have made the adoption phase go as smooth as possible and the continuous development of new and relevant features keeps as assured that we are being fully and completely supported for the next years.”