Villa Maria drive continuous improvement with Promapp

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Prestigious wine company drives continuous improvement with Promapp

Philippa Avis, Quality Manager and Trish Wilson, Continuous Improvement Specialist share their journey.

The key challenges

“Our staff are enthusiastic, knowledgeable and experts at what they do, however, our business had grown at such a rate that we surpassed our existing systems and structures”, say both Trish and Philippa. “Our business processes were stored on a network drive in numerous word documents mainly based around the ISO9001 requirements” explains Philippa. “We had over 3000 procedural documents, and were working with processes and procedures in hard copy manuals. These were proving difficult to maintain and keep current and it was proving difficult to see who was responsible for what."

In addition all business processes came to the Quality Manager for final sign off (regardless of content). This reliance on one person created a bottle neck in the business and posed a risk.

The solution

“We knew that our current systems for tracking and monitoring documents (audits etc.) were not easy to manage and update. We needed a sharing platform to ensure consistency, best practice, efficiency and continuous improvement” outlines Philippa.

To encourage the move from Quality Control to Quality Assurance Villa Maria needed to focus on individual teams, experts and department ownership, which in turn meant they needed a system that was easy to use and could capture not only the information, but any changes (required for audits). “Promapp is a simple system which enabled us to share knowledge, it’s easy to maintain and gives us the ability to easily display the important roles that everyone plays” says Philippa. “It was also very easy to get people on board with what we were trying to achieve because of its accessibility and simplicity,” adds Trish.

The implementation

Villa Maria took a two stage approach to implementing Promapp:

“As Promapp is a software system the roll out initially sat with our IT department, however we found this did not provide sufficient or standardised training or enough integration” explained Philippa. “Our response was to change tactics. We re-started Promapp with a soft launch involving 40 key staff members, representing a cross section of the business and we bought in Promapp to provide a full training which was consistent, smart and simple, with practical examples.”

Trish continues “We also made a conscious decision to link Promapp with our continuous Improvement initiative ACE (Achieving Continuous Excellence). The synergy between the two has meant we have achieved a much broader application and uptake than we might have otherwise”.

The outcomes

Successfully creating a central place for knowledge capture and process documentation

Philippa explains: “Our H&S Advisor left a comprehensive manual in the Promapp system, the new H&S Advisor can see exactly what the procedures are as well as everyone else. Another example is our domestic sales team. The team are geographically spread and they have really taken to Promapp as a base to share, for best practice and for process improvements”.


“This is crucial for any business, but particularly when you are selling food or beverage and export heavily. We have over 16 audits per year, and as we progress further in our Promapp journey we find our audits increasingly stress free. Promapp is ideal for documentation tracking and we have ensured that our ISO manuals are in Promapp” said Philippa. “Our five labs have recently consolidated their dusty paper manuals onto Promapp and we consistently have auditors impressed with the improvements and changes that we are making.  We’ve even noticed that some of the auditors are using Promapp!”

Capturing and sharing ACE wins

“Promapp has proved ideal for this and for documenting what is happening in current states which can then form the basis for continuous improvement work” says Trish.

“Our key challenge was to have the right platform to capture our business processes and to enable ownership and empowerment – we found it in Promapp.”

Tips for new players

  • Ensure you have the right people in your organisation leading it and clearly define the      roles that all individuals need to play.
  • Don’t aim for complete perfection, in some instances put the process in as it stands, make it live and wait for the process improvement suggestions to come in.
  • Set the scene and ensure staff are aware of the reasons why and the benefits.
  • Get key people together in one place to make traction.

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