Friday, June 4, 2010

Measures of Success

With $8000 in my proverbial pocket, I started dialling some Wine Reps.

I had an idea in mind. The bottle shop needed to cater the 1-5 bottle market, the real convenience of the bottle shop is that a Member could grab a bottle or two on their way to the car. Mostly, people aren't carrying a case to the car, some will but not the core.

The other idea I had was that the primary objective of the bottle shop was to increase membership of the Officers' Mess.

My thoughts on achieving the latter is to expose as many people to the services and at each point offer them a reason to join. In the case of a bottle shop, offer great prices to everyone to increase exposure but at every turn a nagging discount that quickly makes it worthwhile.

But what are the measures of success?
Well we can talk about return on investment, but as a not for profit we really only need to cover the reorder cost of the wine. Maximising profit is actually contra to the core mission of the Mess Committee.

Mess Membership is a poor indicator as there are close to infinite influences.

So then what?

Well the irrational part of me suggests that as good a measurement as any is for it to stock particularly great wines, namely:
Penfolds Bin 407
Elderton Command
Samuel's Gorge Grenache
Teusner Joshua
St Hallett Old Block
Kellermeister Sable

But, even more importantly, to discover new great wines, but that is another tale...
What would your measures of success be? What would your wines of choice be?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

If you build it...

On the 28th of April 2o1o, the Officers' Mess Committee approved a proposal to take over the dilapidated and run down bottle shop facility. In all fairness it wasn't the bottle shop that was dilapidated or run down, but just the stock and the interest.

Without knowing the specifics of the history of bottle shop, I know that the management of it was contracted out. This not only included staffing it, but buying the stock and pricing it. It is difficult to expect a commercial entity to put its capital into Wine on the shelf with limited expectation of a return on investment. Thus begins a downward spiral (invest less money, offer worse deals, nobody comes etc etc)

In many ways it makes sense that the Committee owns the stock. The capital that they have belongs to the Members, the wines bought with it represents a provision of a service to those Members and if profit is only an enabling motive then the Committee makes different decision about investment. This is not a pure ROI problem...

The primary goal of the Committee is to service its Member's needs, a measure of success is the membership ratio (number of Members/number of potential Members). Profit simply acts as an enabler to this effect. Probably not worth pointing out that Lean and Six Sigma doesn't work here...

The Committee agreed to the proposal to relieve the Contractor of their contractual obligation to stock the bottle shop, and this was a mutually beneficial situation due to the unanticipated incentives discussed. The approved budget was $8000 to stock the bottle shop, now the challenging bit began

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Into the Breach

The first of my events as the Wine Officer was the Capital Wines Tasting, well it wasn't the first thing I had done in the role. I had been to meetings, I had been to a Wine Appreciation Dinner (Clovely Estate), I had scheduled events with some of my friends (you will hear about them as they come to pass) and I had ended up hosting the De Bortoli Tasting, but nose to tail the first gig I had was the Capital Wines Tasting.

Now timing can be everything, the first cold weekend in Canberra, the weekend after ANZAC Day... Everyone goes to ground. Straight home, do not pass go, do not stop for free booze!

That told the story, the wines showed well (although the reds opened up with a little warmth) and while I am sure that Jen would've nearly overfilled the room with personality... it doesn't make for a good event if the people don't come...

Things didn't bode well for the Eden Road Wine Tasting