As we have shared with our stakeholders, the Ohio Liquor Enterprise is modernizing its systems and processes as part of the Liquor Modernization Project, or LMP. The rollout of Phase 2 of LMP begins this month. For some time now, work has been taking place behind the scenes. In recent weeks, that work has become much more visible. We wanted to share what’s coming, and the steps we’re taking to make this transition as smooth as possible for everyone.
The Liquor Enterprise is growing, generating more than $1 billion in sales in each of the last two years. We expect this growth to continue as consumers choose to “trade up” to premium products, and manufacturers respond to changing consumer tastes. One excellent example of these trends is the explosive growth of micro distilleries in Ohio – growing from only two such operations to nearly 40 in just the last few years.
Remarkably, throughout this period of growth, the Liquor Enterprise has been operating on a 40-year-old system with antiquated business processes. It would be difficult to find any other successful commercial sector in America that hasn’t changed its way of doing business at least once over the past four decades. With each passing year, it has become obvious that, without changes, the Liquor Enterprise wouldn’t be able to adequately respond to today’s business challenges and prepare for future growth.
For this reason, we have been working with our stakeholders over the past couple of years to modernize our operations. These much-needed changes have focused on implementing a modern technology platform and updating processes to reflect how business is done today.
Some may ask why it is important to modernize. For us – and for most of our stakeholders – the answer is obvious: not modernizing would mean lost opportunity for all. The status quo is not an option. By modernizing, all stakeholders – Agencies, bars and restaurants, brokers and suppliers, and distribution partners – are positioned to meet the demands of a rapidly growing and changing industry.
Some of the ways the Liquor Modernization Project is helping stakeholders include a common system view for everyone, meaning every partner will be able to see what products are where, thus improving inventory accuracy. It also will provide robust data – information about what products are selling where and when – so stakeholders can better understand and respond to consumer demands. The modern technology, equipment and business processes provided by LMP will allow business tasks to be completed more efficiently, saving time and allowing the Liquor Enterprise to focus on customers.
The bottom line – customers will be able to reliably get the products they want, when they want them.
What to expect
Our goal is that the end customer – including wholesale customers – will only find improvements to the customer service they receive. A detailed deployment plan has been developed to ensure there is as little disruption as possible to all our stakeholders. The plan accounts for things such as longer periods between deliveries to Agencies as they transition to the new warehouses (Agencies are increasing stock to ensure adequate supply) and key events and holidays (Agencies with wholesale customers who supply large-scale annual events such as the Memorial Tournament will not move on to the new system near the event).
Wholesale customers can expect increased wholesale order efficiencies, including access to greater detail around inventory and pricing. Today, Agencies are often not able to tell wholesale customers if they have a product and what it will cost. Going forward, increased inventory accuracy and a single-system view will help ensure that Agencies have the products retail business need, and information that allows them to better plan for the cost of these items. Also, wholesale customers will see increased efficiency with order processing. Agencies will receive a new wholesale terminal dedicated to wholesale orders. The new terminal and system will enable them to more efficiently process orders.
Please know that it will take some time for Agencies to become accustomed to the new system and processes. Initially, it may take them a little more time to complete tasks, so please bear with them. As they become accustomed to the new system, processes will be much more efficient. We have resources in place to support Agencies, including in-person training prior to transitioning to the new system, and a beefed-up Help Desk with extended hours.
The Liquor Enterprise is a very important industry to Ohio – not only do its proceeds fund economic development, it also creates jobs, and business ownership prospects. We’re excited that the efforts to modernize the operations will support continued growth and opportunities into the future. Thank you for your continued support and partnership with us in achieving this much-needed improvement to the Liquor Enterprise.