A walk in The Park
There’s a reason why some of the biggest names in wine choose to work with The Park. The award-winning company offers end-to-end supply chain management from grape to glass, with expert advice all the way.
Encompassing more than 400 employees, and with the capacity to package more than 30 million 9-litre cases per year, Bristol-based manufacturing, warehousing and distribution facility The Park is an impressive operation.
What really makes it shine, however, is its meticulous attention to detail, transparent cost calculations and arsenal of experts who are poised to advise on every step of your product’s journey. These are just a handful of reasons why The Park continues to count the likes of Freixenet Copestick, Treasury Wine Estates, Sainsbury’s, and Accolade Wines among its customers.
“We offer a bespoke and tailored service to all our contract packaging customers, which varies depending on their specific needs. Some involve complete end-to-end management of their supply chain,” says general manager Richard Lloyd.
From its fully kitted-out Wine Laboratory to an Innovation Centre that would make Mark Zuckerberg green with envy, The Park prides itself on its creativity as well as its speed and agility in decision-making. “The key is to understand what each drinks brand and its consumers truly value, then make sure you are absolutely delivering that without wasting time, effort and design on factors that are not valued,” says Lloyd. “We’re transparent with our customers about the cost of each element in our supply chain so that together we can make a balanced decision on the various aspects that can then be flexed, depending on individual requirements.”
Lloyd, who has worked at The Park’s site “since it was a muddy field 15 years ago”, has a Masters degree in lean operations, which, he says, “remains at the core” of the company’s philosophy. However, The Park’s swift response times do not mean that corners are cut when it comes to cutting-edge innovation – far from it. “It’s very important that we’re at the forefront of understanding when it comes to innovation across all packaging formats, and how these can help us to tailor our customers’ products to their ever-changing needs,” says Lloyd.
The Park’s Innovation Centre provides a forum for suppliers, designers, marketers and operational experts to come together to design products in an environment that aids creativity and collaboration. “Physically within the room we have shopping aisles mocked up from different retailers, the very latest printing technology, market sales trend data, and even a display showing the complete wine supply chain modelled from Lego,” says Lloyd.
The team’s enthusiasm and expertise carries over into the Wine Lab, where skilled technicians provide full laboratory analytics for The Park’s customers and their wines. “As a wine specialist, every employee at The Park has a wine qualification, which is something we believe generates the passion you feel from us on site,” says Lloyd. “We have designed our own courses with WSET that are bespoke to our team, and we have colleagues that go all the way up through the WSET qualifications hierarchy, as well as two resident winemakers on site.”
This calibre of expertise is vital to The Park’s approach, because as Lloyd says: “Ultimately our customers are trusting us with their wine. It’s crucial that they have complete faith in our processes and our people to package their wine to the highest standards.”
A state-of-the-art blending facility allows The Park to respond to the latest consumer trends, and produce wine-based drinks in-house such as hard seltzers, low- and no-alcohol wines, and fruit-infused wine drinks. Once the product has been created, The Park’s quality control is second to none, with three vision-inspection systems, and 25 separate assessments carried out for fill heights, closure fitting, and quality of barcodes, label print and placement to ensure every detail is perfect.
“It allows our operators to make focused quality decisions, and keep waste to a minimum in terms of time, materials and end product,” says Lloyd; a perk that is handed down to the The Park’s customers, who, in turn, save on unnecessary costs, helping them to trim their final invoice. Packaging experts who advise on the best finish and price enable The Park to optimise existing specifications, reducing cost without compromising quality.
“The past couple of years have been a challenge for any supply chain, but at The Park we have grown stronger by designing new ways to manage the volatility that is increasingly present, not only in supply, but also in demand,” says Lloyd. “We are always interested in finding new businesses with similar strategic visions and values to grow along with us.”