Lean Production


Lean production is a way to identify and help to eliminate hidden, non-essential activities and production steps. It can be used to address a diverse range of practical problems around winery processes and procedures. 

Lean production is used to sharpen the focus of wineries to help rethink production, reduce high operating costs and simplify day-to-day tasks.

 It is designed to improve a business’s bottom line, but it is not just a cost-cutting exercise; it is a new way of thinking about existing operations.

What is lean production?

Lean production is a system of tools and practices to reduce human effort, space, materials and expenditure.

Anywhere work is being done, waste is being generated. Waste could come in the form of non-value adding activities such as:

  • Producing more than necessary
  • Time in waiting
  • Movement
  • Re-work or double handling
  • Unnecessary processing and
  • Misuse of materials (hard waste).

Lean production focuses on minimising these types of waste and improving productivity through improved flow and relationship to the customer. Once implemented, lean production can allow better decision-making to reduce expenditure, increase profitability and create a happier workplace. This short video helps explain lean production in wineries:

The adoption of lean production techniques and practices can help wineries reduce costs and improve productivity by delivering tangible outcomes including:

  • Elimination of waste and non-value adding activities
  • Streamlining of processes
  • Shifting of the business model from supply-focused to demand-focused
  • Improved resource efficiency, elimination of waste and cost-saving through reduced purchase of raw materials
  • Faster production lead times
  • Elimination of losses and deterioration of material while processing
  • Reductions in the amount of information between processes
  • Streamlining the use of limited physical space and machinery in the winery
  • Improved distribution of work among operators

This page contains the Wine Australia-funded The Lean Guide – a primer on lean production for the Australian wine industry and resources from our Lean Production for Wineries workshop.