When you think about your winery compliance system either as a whole or just parts of it how do you feel? If some of your initial reactions include wincing, making a sour face or saying “Ughh!” I’d encourage you to consider that lack of organization may be a major cause for this, not the topic itself. I recently read a great article in O Magazine about the offices at the magazine getting an organizational overhaul by Peter Walsh. I enjoyed the article partly because I love a successful before and after makeover story for one but also because I recognized this as a common downfall for wineries in successfully maintaining their compliance systems.

First off, if you are someone managing compliance responsibilities at a winery does your desk look somewhat like this one?

Not exactly a very inspiring site to come into each work morning! The comment made by Peter in the article that really struck me was about the feelings we get when we come into an organized office vs. a suburb of clutter city. His exact comment was, “A clean office is about more than aesthetics. It is like approaching a blank canvas every day. It fosters creativity. A messy space on the other hand can make you feel overwhelmed before you even start your day.” Hallelujah! That’s music to my organizational ears! Why? That is what effective compliance is all about! It is about having all your systems so dialed in that it leaves you with a feeling of being on top of things which is worlds more satisfying than feeling overwhelmed, confused and lost.

Imagine walking into an office each day that looked like this:

Much nicer work space! Is it possible? Is it realistic you ask? I say definetely yes there are just a few rules that need to be put into place and followed. The first step on the list is to audit your system as it exists currently. There are several items that need to be assessed, a compliance health check of sorts.

  • All of your licenses need to be located, organized and create hard copy as well as digital files to save them in.
  • The same procedure needs to be followed for your reports, registrations, label approvals, and other compliance documents.
  • Review the TTB details for who has signing authority, or power of attorney for your site. Keep an updated list of these people with your TTB permit materials and in a digital file.

These are just the most basic jumping off points to start from in bringing overall cohesive organization to your winery compliance records. The follow up steps to this involve first ensuring that your day to day records contain the required details and that they support the numbers on your reports. Once you’ve established this then it becomes a matter of continued maintenance. (Lather, rinse, repeat)

Once the organizing is fully complete and you can actually see the top of your desk and all sorounding work areas this makes for a much more pleasing space to work in. And from that viewpoint you’ll also be able to be much more productive, another added bonus.

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