project work… only serious people

When George Bacchus passed away last year, at age 85, he left his family winery to his sons, Harold and Don, both in their 60s. Harold recently retired from being a locomotive engineer. Don retired from the US Army about ten years ago and has been working as a guide at the local military museum. Both were eager to take on the challenge of running the family vineyard and have already gained a renewed appreciation for all of the hard work their father invested into Bacchus Winery. Harold and Don realize the winery is doing things in an old-fashioned manner and are ready to begin exploring ways to apply some of the new technology their 40ish children have been recommending, but since neither have any interest in technology outside of that which they had encountered in their previous jobs, they need advice.

As they began their management of the business, the men decided against making many changes in personnel. Presently they employ Leia McLeod, the director of finances and payroll; Elise Tudor, director of the marketing department, and her assistant, Rob Dudley; Nate Crisp, production-line manager, and the twenty employees who report to him; and Marge Simpson, who is in charge of distribution.

Bacchus Winery grows its own grapes, apples, cherries, blackberries, and blueberries, as well as keeps some beehives for honey. Bacchus makes and bottles the wine, and then sells it, to both local restaurants and visitors to the winery. Currently, their offerings include a Merlot, a Cabernet, a Chardonnay, a mead, several seasonal fruit wines, and a muscat desert wine. They have been receiving their supplies (bottles, corks, labels, and support ingredients) from a supplier who ships the components every month or so. Harold and Don are responsible for keeping track of their inventories and would like to find a more efficient method of keeping track and ordering supplies, perhaps over the Internet (Don’s idea…Harold remains unconvinced).  Elise would like to use the Internet to market the company’s products, but really has no idea where to begin. Marge, who is responsible for distribution, would like to give customers the ability to order online, and would like to allow them to track shipments.

After several telephone conversations with the two brothers, you believe that you can help them to apply technology to many of the needs of their organization.

Some notes about Harold and Don:

  • They don’t have mobile phones, feeling that they survived without them for 60-some years and don’t need them now.
  • They are very fond of their fax machine and use it to fax jokes to their 40ish kids’ workplaces. They have email, but don’t remember to check it. When they get an email, they print it off to read it.
  • Harold is very proud of never having shopped online, even though his wife, Patty, loves eBay.
  • You’ve already realized you might have to explain technical things twice.

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