Case Study - Majestic Wine



Employees: 1000-5000

Industry: Wine

Neil Firth

Supply Chain Director


I wanted training that was different yet educational, to get my team to think and be prepared for any supply chain scenario”.


Majestic Vintners opened its first Wine Warehouse in Wood Green, North London, in 1980. This store was followed by another in Battersea in May 1981 and by the end of 1985 there were 13 stores in the Majestic estate.

In 1991, Wizard Wine purchased Majestic, and the two operations were merged under the Majestic Wine Warehouses banner in 1992. Since then Majestic has expanded continuously, floating on the Alternative Investment Market in 1996 before opening its hundredth store in 2002.

Today, Majestic Wine is the UK’s largest specialist wine retailer, with 210 branches in the UK and two in France. Majestic Wine aims to help people find the wines they will love through the expertise of over 1000 highly trained specialist people. Majestic Wine’s customer service, range and people set it apart from a sea of retailers.

Business Challenge

Majestic does not stand still; always trying new ideas to give the best service to customers. Majestic appreciates that having an effective supply chain is critical to their success.

Neil Firth joined Majestic Wine as Supply Chain Director in March 2015, and has over 27 years of retail supply chain experience; having spent time working for retailers that include M&S, Dixons, Matalan, Asda/Walmart and B&Q.

Neil has created a supply chain team with many different types of experience, and his goal was to ensure the team understood what the end-to-end supply chain for Majestic looked like, so they can be prepared for day-to-day challenges they will face while maintaining exceptional customer service.

To deliver this, Neil partnered with the Supply Chain Academy as part of a wider development programme. Working with Neil and Majestic’s Head of Learning & Development, Julia Manning, we discussed how we could create a practical training approach that would resonate with the team and build on the progress and success they’ve had since 2015.


We introduced Neil and his team to an advanced version of ‘The Beer Game’, led by our expert facilitators.

The Beer Game is a role-play simulation game that lets participants experience potential problems of traditional supply chains.

This competitive business simulation game demonstrates the need for coordination throughout the supply chain. Suppliers, manufacturers, sales people and customers have their own – often incomplete – understanding of what real demand is.

Each group has control over only a part of the supply chain, but each group can influence the entire chain by ordering too much or too little. Furthermore, each group is influenced by decisions that others are making. This lack of coordination coupled with the ability to influence while being influenced by others, leads to the Bullwhip Effect (shortages and overstocks across the supply chain).

The simulation is a powerful tool for ensuring people from different functional areas (sales, marketing, finance, manufacturing, procurement, customer service, warehouse, distribution etc) acquire a common understanding of how much the supply chain (and business costs) can be affected by such things as lead times, customer demand fluctuations, out of stocks, supplier behaviour and supply fluctuations.


We helped the supply chain team understand:

• Through simulation, how interrelated and inter-dependant a real supply chain is, and the effect that people can have on each other when working in a typical supply chain that involves multiple connected parties.

• How complex the supply chain operating environment is and how to adapt to those uncontrollable external forces on it.

• How to minimise cost while at the same time maximising service to customers.

• How communication flow is so important for effective supply chain management.

• The effect of supply chain operation on inventory.

Following the course, Neil Firth commented, “I wanted training that was different yet educational, to get my team to think and be prepared for any supply chain scenario.

We worked with the Supply Chain Academy to develop a bespoke version of the beer game, to help them understand what happens across the supply chain. It was a well-run event that the team learnt a lot from.”

Supply Chain Academy can deliver efficiency in your global supply chain. As a resource for this industry we provide:

- Open & Bespoke short courses including Change Management developed by leading Supply Chain experts at all levels.

- Organisational Development using Insights Discover – personality profiling, which enhances personal team, leadership and sales effectiveness communication. Techniques to ensure that learning has been applied to your organisation and demonstrates a real ROI.

- Consultancy to improve your performance, profitability and customer experience identifying hidden costs and wasted resources.

Our Experienced Experts Help You:


- Improve quickly as our courses are focused on the practical application of new skills to your job.


- Think and adapt to become self-reliant, self-aware and confident of success.


- Develop, using the latest work-based learning techniques to become a more effective manager or leader.


133 Hall Road, Upminster RM14 1AL (UK)

T 01708-259450


Find the Academy

Directions: Exit the M25 at Junction 29, taking the A127 towards London. After about 1/2 mile take the slip road exit, sign posted to Upminster & Cranham. Turn left on to Hall Lane and after 1/2 mile, the Supply Chain Academy can be found on the right. Enter via the third gate on the right.


Nearest Rail Station: Upminster

London Underground Station: Upminster


Share This