Manuel Yzaga, President of Vanguard Challapampa
22 Oktober 2019

Q&A with our Total Quality Management Team in Peru

It’s been 3 years since Vanguard acquired Agricola Challapampa and saw incredible results in growing and packing grape varieties. Just last year, Vanguard Peru finalized construction of a brand-new packing house in Ica, Peru, to pack a variety of in-demand and new grape varieties being brought to market. Ica is considered to be the premier production area in Peru, and one of the finest grape production areas in the world. The Ica Valley soil invites new technologies that have resulted in faster production and greater volumes.

Top quality growing conditions and large operations such as this require care and meticulous attention to detail. Vanguard Peru’s Total Quality Management (TQM) team has been on the job, and we had a chance to catch up with them about what they do:

When did Vanguard Peru create the TQM team?

Approximately 3 years ago.

What are the steps for implementing and growing a specific variety of grape, and what is your key focus throughout this process?

In the first year of an emerging crop we will implement the following steps as per our quality standards. These steps require careful monitoring of the crop’s progression and might be delayed by weather or other growing conditions.

1. Field installation
2. Transplant
3. Plant Growth

In the second year and onwards, we implement next steps, and have a better understanding of the crop in terms of how it reacts to its surroundings. We are able to implement new technologies into the growth process and improve year after year on quality.

4. Farming
5. Pruning
6. Uprooting
7. Thinning
8. Harvest
9. Post-harvest (& packing)

We are consistently using indicators of work efficiency to control the development, speed, and quality of work to ensure the best quality crop is dispatched in a timely manner to market.

  • Reception
  • Conditioning & cleaning
  • Gasification
  • Selection & packaging
  • Cold Storage
  • Dispatch

How does the TQM team interact with the harvesters and packers, and other team members in the packing house? 

At the ranch level, evaluations are made and reported to a supervisor who manages their team respectively. Interactions are usually quick, and corrections are implemented as efficiently as possible (we are a TQM team, afterall).

What are some of the ideas that the TQM team has come up with to continuously improve the quality of Vanguard Peru’s grape offerings? 

  • We have implemented digital record holding and data collection of our farming operations, and are planning to implement the same process at our packing house level.
  • We have started a more thorough evaluation of all suppliers.
  • We have developed software that assists with loading and container control.

We have developed many crucial procedures and indicators of success over the past 3 years that contribute to our operational efficiencies and ability to stand as a reliable pillar in the seedless grape market, all with the primary objective of delivering our customers a superb, high-quality, great-tasting eating experience.