At The Manufacturer MX Awards 2018, the overall winner of the night was Accolade Wines, the Bristol-based wine seller. The company calls itself the ‘leading provider of New World premium, commercial and value wines – the #1 by volume in the UK and Australia.’
As well as winning The Manufacturer of the Year 2018, the business also took home the awards for Achieving Customer Value and Sustainable Manufacturing.
Harry Wise spoke to Richard Lloyd, General Manager of Accolade Wines’ European Operations & Supply about the company’s fantastic success.
How does it feel for Accolade Wines to have taken home three awards, including The Manufacturer of the Year?
Richard Lloyd: If you were to come to Accolade Park, you would see a smile on the faces of everyone following the big win – the pride behind that smile is huge. When you look at the scale of the awards The Manufacturer runs and the competition we faced, we are honoured as a business to take the top award.
We were quite literally a muddy field 10 years ago. Therefore, to take that muddy field to being a facility at the centre of our supply chain that is recognised as the best of the best in the UK is something that just gives us a huge amount of satisfaction.
What does it mean for the future of the business?
We aim to ensure our supply chain, operations and facility are a clear differentiator for us. We want to differentiate our products, our service and our offering in every way from our competition. Therefore, when you get an award like this, it’s just a lovely piece of acknowledgement that says we’re on the right path and getting many elements right.
Turning to the Sustainable Manufacturing Award, we know that sustainability has risen in importance for customers and consumers over the past 12 months, so as a business we continue to put significant focus into that area. To be acknowledged as being at the top as a sustainable manufacturer is important for the environment and for us.
Our Achieving Customer Value Award came from wanting our service to be a level above our competition. We want to be the best and therefore to pick up an award that says the way you interact with your customers is different to other people just gives the business a huge amount of confidence to move forward in the way that we’re working.
How is the way you approach customers different from other businesses?
We’re big believers in a lean methodology. The first lean principle of understanding value in the eyes of the customer is central to what we do. Some people say they understand their customer, but do they? You’ve got to go and listen. You’ve got to go and understand the points of challenge and frustration where you as a supplier can help.
For me, the reason I believe that we are getting it right is because we truly take time to listen to them.
What do you value most in your employees and those applying for jobs at Accolade Wines?
A CV will tell you if someone has got the right expertise and the right knowledge for a role. That will probably get you through the door for an interview. But what we’re really looking for is someone who’s got some individual confidence coupled with a passion to be part of something special. We want to see a spark in someone. We want to find those people that can bring something to our organisation, to help drive it forward.
Is experience within your industry more valuable if you’re trying to take on employees?
Diversity is what we look for across our workforce. If you look at my leadership team, we have a 50/50 gender split. We look for diversity in people’s experience, so we need experts from the world of wine, but we also want to complement this with people from a variety of industries and sectors.
I truly believe the greater the thought diversity you can bring to a problem the better the solution that will be found.
What makes Accolade Wines stand out from the majority of manufacturers, particularly those within your sector? You’ve already mentioned how you approach customers. What else do you think makes the company exceptional?
The Accolade Park facility down in Bristol is the hub of what we do. As a number of people have commented over the years, from auditors to visiting customers, there’s an infectious energy from the employees that hits you as you enter the site. It’s one of those things that’s hard to quantify, but it’s something that we cherish when people talk about it.
We have managed to create a ‘spirit of Accolade’, where people are passionate about our phenomenal products, the work environment and the essence of our business. I’m immensely proud of what we have created because this sort of energy is something that you don’t get everywhere you go.