We love wine.
Just as we love music, a warm ray of sunshine and sitting by a cozy fireplace on a chilly, winter evening. Wine provides us a sense of calmness and serenity. The global crisis has made us all think deeply about what matters to us. And wine has proven to be essential to people and families around the world these past months. We took this opportunity to challenge Ana Machado, Product Development Manager at Parras Wines, to talk with us about innovation and how they are responding to this unusual, fast-paced time.
About Parra Wines
With 247 brands and 1300 SKU’s, the firm sells more than 19 million bottles per year, to 38 countries. Parras ranks among Portugal’s top ten companies in the Industry. They have taken a comprehensive approach, from wine production, to bulk wine transaction, packaging, logistics, bottling and marketing. They supervise the full cycle of production of its wines in different regions of the country, in partnership with local distinguished producers.
Flexibility and Agility are key to better anticipate and manage change
Parras is looking at today’s uncertain times as an opportunity to bring new, fresh energy to their creativity, reflecting on how to make consumer’s experiences more meaningful and how to innovate what’s next. What does Ana Machado see as the main challenges of new product development and innovation? Insight and speed. “We have to anticipate consumer needs and market trends” she replies without hesitation, “from identifying customer needs to putting the product on the consumer’s table.”
Parras has also needed to quickly focus throw resources and innovation into hot trends. While the on-premise market has been confined in several countries, people are spending more time at home. “The typology of wines that consumers look for has changed” says Ana. ”That has led to a growth of sales on the large capacity wines, as is the case of BIB’s (Bag in Box).”
Wine in box sales doubled in the last 5 months, and Parras was fast to respond: besides the usual large 5L/10L formats, they started to innovate in this category, developing new capacities, designing new packaging ideas and planning to do what was once unthinkable – put reserve and premium wines in a box.
“BIB’s are easy handling, easy to store and to chill” says Ana Machado. “Thanks to the valve that prevents air intake, the wine maintains its quality [longer than in a traditional bottle] with no symptoms of precocious oxidation”. Customers also like the ecological and convenience benefits: “Instead of transporting six or seven regular glass bottles of wine, consumers can get roughly the same amount of wine in a single box” says Ana. “This helps reduce waste, transportation and preserves the freshness longer.”
Product development automation
Ana remembers the days when product development was manual: “It was a struggle. A project could take up to 10 days to finish, especially to export to certain markets. Whenever we needed to change a product, we would do it all over again: reprocess, replicate tasks, several people would need to revalidate, etc. That often led to errors regarding product requirements and legislation compliance, which sometimes would cause the return of goods. In 400 shipments, 20 were returned!”.
Thankfully, Ana is describing the past! Parras Wines began working with b_create 2 years ago to bring products to market faster, more efficiently and to maintain compliance.
Parras creates an average of 60 projects a month, from harvests to new releases, special editions, client orders and private label projects. Today, they are a much faster, more nimble company. Projects get done in one fifth the time – a 5X improvement.
Parras’s positive experience in embracing technology, combined with the range of its business are proving to be a source of strength during the crisis. The company has deep experience in managing a complex network of suppliers, vendors, clients and partners. From leading international private label retailers to high-end restaurants and distributors all over the world, this diversity has helped them to master the art of creating distinctive wines and to adapt and get ahead of the latest consumer habits and trends.
We ended our vivid conversation talking about Parras’s plans to launch a whole new collection of products – each one a story in a bottle. We feel honored to be part of these stories, chapters in our collective journey.
It’s been a difficult season, but also one filled with new approaches and potential in the ever-changing world of wine. We will emerge stronger by sharing our insights and knowledge.
b_create provides us with an end-to-end centralized database, from bulk wine to the finished product. The platform brings transparency to the whole process and stakeholders, allowing a greater synergy of all departments and teams envolved in the process. All of us, in different areas, with different visions, can contribute to enrich the product, from the enology department to commercial, production...
This puts us in a far stronger positioned answer the fundamental product development questions: what can we do? What is the best design for the product? Do we have capacity to produce it? Will the market buy?”