Smells like team spirit: db meets The Park
The level of expertise at The Park, and its personal relationships with customers is just one thing that makes the company stand out from the crowd.
400 employees are part of the team at Bristol’s drinks manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution facility The Park. Among them are experts in every part of the supply chain, from product innovation and design to engineering.
With the capacity to package more than 30 million nine-litre cases per year, The Park counts Freixenet Copestick, Treasury Wine Estates, Sainsbury’s, Accolade Wines and more among its customers.
Having the right people with the right experience and a shared passion for drinks is vital for the company. “Ultimately, our customers are trusting us with their wine so they need to have complete faith in our processes and our people to package their wine to the highest standards,” says Richard Lloyd, general manager. “As a wine specialist, every employee at The Park has a wine qualification, which we believe generates the passion you feel on site.”
Innovation is the lifeblood of the business, and this is made possible through a team that drives creativity tirelessly on a daily basis. “The tangible hunger of everyone on site to keep finding new ways to improve our performance is The Park’s greatest strength and something that sets us apart from our competitors,” says Lloyd.
According to Peter Ball, who leads operations planning and product development for the company, “the range of skills and functions under one roof” at The Park is unparalleled. “It means that whatever challenge I come up against I know there is someone on site to help me resolve it,” he says.
The drinks business caught up with members of The Park’s senior management team to find out what makes them tick and why the company’s people are its strongest asset.
Richard Lloyd, general manager
“I’m responsible for the overall operation of the site and the wonderful employees based there. Before joining The Park I worked with Constellation Wines before a couple of changes in ownership transformed the company into Accolade Wines, which now has us as its independent packaging site. Before Constellation I was with Imperial Tobacco, and I also played rugby professionally, which still benefits me to this day in terms of working closely with different personalities, and being able to translate customer requirements all the way back up the supply chain. One of my biggest challenges in the past few years has been providing a consistent communication drumbeat above the noise of the global shipping crisis and excessive cost inflation. I’ve also strived to ensure there is total transparency on company performance. I believe it’s central to the long-term success of the business that everyone understands the rationale behind some of the more difficult short-term decisions we’ve had to make.”
Carl Cawsey, head of operations
“I look after the receipt of bulk wine to The Park all the way through to dispatch of the finished product to the customer. This includes all aspects of product quality, manufacturing, engineering, inventory control and warehousing. I graduated with a chemistry degree, and started out working in the lab at The Park before working my way up to quality manager and then jumping over to the ‘dark side’ of manufacturing, as a production manager. “The real challenge operationally, has been recruitment. Throughout the Covid pandemic, The Park has been in a period of good volume growth and customer expansion at a time when the UK labour pool has been significantly reduced. We switched our focus to in-house training, honing in on upskilling and internal talent management, with increased emphasis on staff engagement – keeping staff updated, listening to them and acting on feedback. I love seeing people develop to be all that they can be, and am committed to digging out in others what they can’t always see in themselves. We have an amazing team that’s genuinely driven by the need to continuously improve. It gives us the mental agility and resilience to react to whatever curveballs life throws at us.”
Peter Ball, head of product development
“My team converts the vision our customers have into tangible products for The Park to pack and distribute. We provide the next five weeks’ plan, and any materials and specifications needed to deliver on it. I started my career in the process team at Gaymers Cider, and when Gaymers was divested by Constellation Wines in 2009 I became R&D Manager at The Park. Since then, I’ve worked across technical, planning and production, which has given me a holistic view of the business. The legacies of Covid and the war in Ukraine have sparked volatility in the drinks sector, but customer expectations haven’t dropped, so the culture of continuous improvement embedded at The Park is more important than ever. The pace of product development and the breadth and scale of supply mean I get to see an idea through to stock on shelves in a matter of months. It’s highly rewarding.”
Claire Gittins, head of procurement
“My role covers anything and everything linked to the bill of materials eg. glass bottles, labels, closures, and cartons, as well as indirect procurement activities, such as finding engineering parts, forklift trucks, security, cleaning services, and so much more. “I started my career in the steel industry, then retail, before entering the food industry, where I was approached to join The Park and the world of packaging wine. Having strong experience in FMCG and working cross-functionally to negotiate the best commercial outcomes stood me in good stead. With supply chains being savaged in the last couple of years, ensuring security of supply has at times taken priority over costs in order to honour our commitments. Both I and the business are strong believers in our supplier relationships, and it’s when hardships occur that we shine the most, working closely with our partners to find the best solution. These relationships have helped to shield us from suffering supply chain disruption to the extent that other companies have experienced. It is partnerships in the true sense of the word, based on mutual respect, that helps us to flourish.”