Winemakers in British Columbia have taken a big step in making their procurement activities more efficient.
A group of 20 independent wineries and industry consultants in the Okanagan region have formed a company to manage the purchasing of vineyard and winery equipment and supplies, as well as business products and services.
Known as the Okanagan Purchasing Group, the new organization hopes to streamline the administrative burden of purchasing and achieve bulk rate pricing from suppliers.
In the future, the group—which collectively produces more than 150,000 cases of wine each year—plans to offer its services to non-shareholder wineries that want to take advantage of the expertise and buying power of the company.
The origin of the group
The group started when wine consultant Michael Bartier approached his friend Stephen D’Boer, an engineer, about reusing wine bottles. Ian Stuart, professor of supply chain management at University of British Columbia Okanagan, got involved and recommended the pair form a supply purchasing group as a first step.
Over the past months, Bartier has recruited other wineries to become shareholders, raised capital and set out the rules of the company. On Friday, July 16, a group of 20 shareholders met to officially form the company.
“It was an idea that was long overdue,” notes Bartier. “The Okanagan is tiny when compared to global wine [producers]. Whatever we can do to work together just makes sense.
“Many of the wineries immediately saw the benefit of this and I am thrilled that we have the commitment and backing of our 20 shareholders.”
Photo courtesy of Tourism BC/JF Bergeron.