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"IT made Ezy says Australian wineries"

Publish Date: June 1, 2006
Author: Lauren Corsey


Australian wineries are looking for flexibility in use and the ability to trace costs from their Information Technology (IT) systems, says Paul Aloisi, business analyst of industry powerhouse, Casella Wines. It seems gone are the days of cumbersome and resource-expending paper trails often used only for tracking the volume of wine in tanks and just as often causing human error and miscalculations, if indeed there was any prior knowledge of wine inventory.

Times have changed for 250 wineries worldwide, many of these in Australia, who have installed the suite of Ezy Systems’ IT management products, aimed at streamlining and automating stock control and costing and providing reliable and timely information for management’s use. Bendigo-based CEO of Ezy Systems, Nick Cugura, says the reason for Ezy Systems’ appeal is the ensuing defunctness of past IT systems involving disjointed and uncommunicable programs.

“From a costing point of view, a lot of wineries prior to installing Ezy Systems’ programs did not know what was happening in their business,” Cugura said. “Many winery owners tell us at the start of our relationship with them that they do not know how much a bottle of wine costs them to produce.”

Paul Aloisi concurred with Cugura saying one of the main benefits of using a completely integrated IT system is the comprehensive data available at the company’s fingertips, from grape receival through to selling the finished wine product and keeping track of bottle inventory.

“Ezy Systems’ programs were installed at Casella Wines in 1994, a few years before I commenced employment with the company, however, there has been virtually zero disruption to the staff in their day-to-day operations despite the company rising from the production of 100 tonnes in 1994 to the 152,000 tonnes we have just processed this vintage. The system has expanded along with the winery,” Aloisi said.

Aloisi was previously employed by Miranda Wines, now named Dal Broi Family Wines and oversaw the installation of Ezy Systems’ products at the winery. Even though Casella and Dal Broi dramatically vary in terms of wine output, their fundamental IT requirements are consistent.

“The modules of the overall system can be modified to suit the individual client’s needs,” Cugura said. “This is a two-way benefit, as the improvement to the system means Ezy Systems can offer it to other clients if it will assist them with better business management.”

“It is important for all wineries to have an IT system that is compliant with the demands placed upon it and accuracy, user-friendliness and comprehensive data analysis is critical to business success,” Aloisi said. “The program is flexible enough to manage adjunct systems and still keep the business information running smoothly.”

Cugura told the Wine Industry Journal that he sees Australian businesses becoming more ‘departmentalised’ in the same way US businesses operate, meaning there is more individual effort towards the end goal rather than taking a team approach.

“The ease of use of Ezy Systems’ software means the need for a heavily resourced IT department is a thing of the past. Casella, for example, has an IT team of just two people because the company is no longer dependent on complicated IT programs. The staff have a better understanding of how their work impacts on others as the traceability of every transaction is available for all to see.

“Company management has more reliable and timely information at hand including payroll, purchasing, buying and export data. Ezy Systems’ programs provide better stock control than using spreadsheets because every piece of information behind the data is available for view.”

Mark Graetz, company secretary of Henschke in South Australia’s Barossa Valley chose to install Ezy Systems’ IT range in 1998. Prior to this time, the company was running proprietary-type software with individual cellar door modules and accountancy modules for needs such as payroll. Graetz said there was no feature in the past IT set up to handle production data and calculate dry goods usage, meaning a great deal of time spent in double handling information between IT packages.

“We looked around for a well-integrated, flexible IT system and many of the available packages seemed to be only suited to large wineries. Ezy Systems was built locally which was one of the main reasons behind our choice,” Graetz said.

While he admits Henschke is not using the system to its full potential due to the programs featuring aspects that are not relevant to company’s needs, Graetz enjoys having the ability to easily find past records and finds it particularly useful in tracing stock inventory from cellar door sales.

“Many of our sales are not cash and carry, so the interface between the sale and the processing of the order before distribution is set up so there is no double handling of customer information or stock numbers.”

Pricing starts at $15,000 for EzyCellar (vineyard and winemaking) and from $28,000 for EzyWine (vineyard, winemaking, bottling, plant servicing and accounting). Pricing is based on the number of users and wineries generally recover the cost of the system within two years as a result of the time saving in reconciliation of data, automatic statutory reports and need to use spreadsheets.


Source: The Australian & New Zealand Wine Industry Journal

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