SA Wine Industry and Lean Production

Green Industries SA has supported the South Australian wine industry to assist with the uptake lean production tools and techniques to save resources, reduce wastage, and reduce costs.

A collaborative partnership with the SA Wine Industry Association and Wine Australia has supported a spread of small to large wineries from across the state with a series of Lean Production workshops and onsite support for 18 participating wineries. For the 18 wineries that received onsite support a total of over $11 million of potential resource savings per annum were identified.

A consultant worked with the winery team during vintage to benchmark their resource usage and efficiency, identify improvements by applying Lean tools and develop a prioritised plan for implementing improvements.

From our experience, when Lean Production principles are incorporated into the winery in the right way, you will experience a culture change amongst your team, continuous improvement initiatives will become the norm. Staff are empowered to do their job more efficiently and effectively and are actively involved in the identification and facilitation of operational improvements. Resource and cost savings will be achieved and generally involve little or no investment cost.

What is LEAN production?

Lean Production is a combination of tools, templates and practices to identify and eliminate wasteful activities. Your business will need less materials, less space, less capital, less human effort and less time to meet your customer's expectations.

Lean Production addresses wasteful and non-value adding activities including:

  • Inefficient or mis-use of materials
  • Producing more than necessary
  • Time in waiting
  • Movement
  • Re-work
  • Unnecessary processing

Key Lean Production tools most beneficial for winery operations of all sizes include, 5S, Visual Stream Mapping, Error Proofing, Fast Changeovers, Visual Management and Total Quality Control. Larger scale operators might look at tools like Production Levelling, Takt Time and Supermarket Signalling.
To learn about these tools and techniques, refer to Wine Australia’s Lean Guide.


Winery Resource Efficiency Benchmarking Report

This report provides average resource efficiency benchmarks for the wine industry based on the performance of 32 wineries across South Australia. Use this report as a guide to compare your winery’s resource efficiency performance to other local wineries of similar size.

Winery Resource Efficiency Benchmark Report Winery Resource Efficiency Benchmark Report (605 KB)


Waste Identification Summary

This table outlines some of the most common wasteful activities of winery operations. These examples are categorised under the seven wastes - overproduction, transportation, motion, waiting, over-processing, inventory and defects.

Seven Wastes Identification List - wineries Seven Wastes Identification List - wineries (27 KB)



Quotes from participants

A major aspect of LEAN is culture change. What started as an efficiency exercise has become much more than that, and it's guiding a cultural shift in the workplace. 

Stephen Cook, Pernod Ricard

Even without capital investment there's plenty of things that can be done to make improvements.
Bryn Richards, Chapel Hill

We now have a good understanding of the basic methodology of LEAN which helps to work out the business case for change. 

Tom Ravech, Wirra Wirra

One-on-one support during vintage has been invaluable. Having a new set of eyes looking at the way we do things has been great, as they see things with a fresh perspective.
Bryn Richards, Chapel Hill

More information

To enquire about joining our Business Sustainability Program and implementing Lean in your business please call 8204 2051


LEAN document library:

Seven Wastes Identification List - wineries Seven Wastes Identification List - wineries (27 KB)

The Lean Guide - A primer on Lean Production for the Australian Wine Industry The Lean Guide - A primer on Lean Production for the Australian Wine Industry (4789 KB)

Winery Resource Efficiency Benchmark Report Winery Resource Efficiency Benchmark Report (605 KB)