Client Interview – Bill Robertson – De Bortoli Wines

What do you manufacture?

A bit of background about us, we’re a 4th generation family wine maker who is a strongly vertically and horizontally integrated business.

For example, we have vineyards in multiple regions producing grapes for our multiple wineries.

The wineries produce bulk wine, which is also a tradeable commodity in its own right. We also have packaging plants in Australia as well as shareholding in a packaging plant in Europe. That’s just the various stages of our manufacturing. Then we have logistics centers spread around Australia, with a distributed sales team spread across Australia as well as a small but effective international Export team. On top of exporting to over 70 countries we’re also an importer. So as well as being a multistage manufacturer producing our own raw material, trading that raw material, we are a traditional FMCG manufacturer, distributor and retailer.


What do you love about your job?

The good news and the bad news are the same, the job has so many interesting components because we have to cover everything from farm systems through to agri-business manufacturing, through to traditional manufacturing, through to logistic and sales. It’s the sort of experience you might normally need to get across multiple companies. In effect we work like we are supporting multiple companies stacked end to end.

We also support cellar doors which are like our own little shops. Along with restaurants, accommodation, online shops and wine clubs, and EDI with the major chains. To be exposed to so many different components on so many different levels is a curse and a challenge and a joy all wrapped up together. It’s lots of fun but it’s also quite challenging.


What’s one piece of wisdom you would like to share?

We try to look forward long term to think about where technology might eventually lead us. With even a general idea of where you want to get to long term you have the opportunity to tweak those inevitable tactical moves.

To try and keep you heading towards your long term goals. i.e. accept that you’re going to have to make short term compromises, just try to minimize the damage they cause to your long term strategic objectives.


What are you working on at the moment?

The major project at the moment is our On Premise upgrade from QAD 2014SE to QAD Adaptive ERP with Adaptive UX. We have over 20 years of heavy customisations, especially around winemaking, grape receival, AR and integration. Some of those we can forklift across in the short term and some require significant business process reengineering.

Coming from QAD 2014SE, the AR, AP and GL are all new and require quite a bit of work. So yes, it’s probably the biggest project we’ve undertaken in 20 years. The problem of course is the business doesn’t stop and COVID hasn’t made things any simpler. We have a great team and strong support from the business and we are really appreciative of great support from everyone involved at QAD and Kettering, so it’s all been good.


How do you find working with the team at Kettering?

They’ve been great. Always good to deal with and very approachable and the depth of knowledge is really handy. They really get the product – really understand it, and they take the time to understand their customers.


Has COVID-19 presented De Bortoli with any unique challenges?

I don’t know if we’ve had unique challenges, but the heavy company integration added to the complications. With the vertical integration we have so many different parts of the business, from farms and factories to sales and logistics teams, to Cellar Doors and Restaurants. Every one of them has had their own distinct COVID challenges.


More News

Not sure what solution you are after?

Contact us and we can help identify your needs and select a solution.

Call us