This is an interesting case study about a procedure being correctly attended to but the attention to detail was off, and the mistake could have had embarrassing implications for the principal family. It all started when my client asked me to address the growing bottles of wine and liquor that were accumulating in their cellar. The client's household did not partake in alcohol but did keep it in the house for guests and regularly received wine and other liquor as a hostess gift when entertaining.
After discussing the problem, I suggested that "regifting" would be an appropriate solution if managed correctly and was entirely appropriate in this situation. First, the item was meant to be consumed, so the giver would not likely enquire where the item had gone, second, the item was not of a "special nature" such as something especially picked for the individual, it was just a generic hostess gift, or maybe received as client thank you gifts, etc. so no one would be offended if it was passed along, and third I said as long as the "regifting" was managed appropriately and the receiver of the bottle was not in the same circles as the giver of the original bottle, (and the items were rotated through the inventory quickly) then I didn't see a reason not to implement a regifting solution. The client agreed, and I ran through various ways to manage this new solution including low budget/low tech options like pen and paper inventories and high dollar options like wine cellar tracking systems. Since the client was not a wine connoisseur they opted for a low budget solution, which was totally fine with me, so I went to work crafting a standard operating procedure for the staff on how to receive wine into the inventory, price check it online, note the date and the giver of the item, and organize it by value in the wine cellar.
This was all working wonderfully until I went to check on the client a few months later and discovered someone had mislabeled the value of a wine! A staff member had labeled a bottle based on the perceived value on Cellar Tracker (an online wine database and cellar management tool) which was listed at $59.95 only not realizing that this particular bottle had been sold at Trader Joe's for only $10! How embarrassed would the client have been if they had assumed they were selecting from the $60 case to take to a friend's dinner and actually only been offering a $10 bottle for the host!
This is a small mistake and one that I was able to catch in time, so I suggested as a follow-up to our organizational project that the client have a wine professional over to the house to take a glance at the wine and make sure everything was categorized correctly. The client agreed and this was scheduled, and I was able to reeducate the employee who had made the mistake so it didn't happen again. There are several key points to consider in this case study: First, most problems have an easy solution and does not always require a high dollar to solve, through proper on-site consulting we can brainstorm together to find solutions to most problems within the parameters that the clients lay out for time, budget, and staffing attention. Second, even with the best and most simple solutions mistakes can happen so it is always best to make sure the staff has the proper training for even the simplest of tasks. This is why the client valued my consulting time because not only were they offered unique solutions to their problems, but their staff was benefiting from professional development and reeducation as well. And Third, if time and budget allow it is always nice to follow up with a subject matter expert who takes a short amount of time to assist a family with their expertise, instead then billing the family long term for unnecessary work that could be handled by in-house staff. In this particular case, a wine sommelier was not necessary all the time, but occasionally could be called to check things over to avoid these mistakes in the future.
These are the types of small but meaningful solutions we provide to our clients every day. A problem is presented, and within the context of the residence we can come up with a solution that fits the client's needs, and then train the appropriate staff accordingly. If you would like to tackle a problem at your estate with high-quality on-site estate management consulting, please contact Luxury Lifestyle Logistics to have a complimentary phone consultation today.