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Montgomery DLC Receives National Acclaim for Major Warehouse Modernization Initiative

For Immediate Release: Monday, October 29, 2018

The Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control (DLC) has received the national Best Practices Award for from trade magazine StateWays for the “Best Alcohol Distribution Innovation” within control states in the U.S. and Canada.

StateWays is the only magazine devoted to the issues affecting the Alcohol Control State System and features articles that reflect all aspects of the control states’ mission of fiscal performance, promotion of responsible consumption, enforcement, pricing and issues including privatization, retail sales and warehouse innovations.

The Best Practices Awards program was launched in 2015 to recognize control state agencies that are leading the industry in innovation, education and enforcement.  Awards are presented in eight categories, with one standout selected as the overall winner and serving as a model for other agencies to follow. Montgomery County and the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control shared this year’s award for best distribution innovation.

Seventeen states and all but one providence in Canada operate under a similar alcohol model as Montgomery County. They oversee the sale of distilled spirits—and, in some cases, wine and beer—through government agencies at the wholesale level. The model allows for revenue from alcohol sales to be returned to a general fund for public services.

Montgomery County earned the award for warehouse modifications that included evolving from a 48-hour delivery cycle to a 24-hour cycle, which allows customers to better manage their inventory and cash flow.  It also added flow racks to increase warehouse capacity, created a special-order room with advanced tracking and moved to a new system of product scanning. It also was cited for moving to efficient technology and updating its delivery truck fleet.

“It was all about the people, changing attitudes and having processes in place that make sense,” said John Zeltner, Montgomery’s chief of warehouse operations. “Technology is going to mirror processes and make them easier.”

Montgomery’s DLC has undergone a major transformation over the last few years.

“We have reinvested in the warehouse by adding technology, racking and replacing decades old delivery trucks,” said Robert Dorfman, director of the DLC. “The warehouse is essential to our business, and the investment has definitely paid off.”

The new flow racks allow many special-order items to be moved to stock for increased on-hand product availability and efficiency. The result is lower costs to customers. Every special-order case received at the warehouse is now labeled for easy scanning. Information on the label includes sales order numbers and the name of the business to receive the product. The information facilitates its placement in the warehouse, shortens the turnaround time for special orders and increases delivery accuracy to licensees. Advanced product scanning and voice picking technology also have increased order processing speed.

The DLC truck fleet has been upgraded with 16 new box trucks that have replaced old, unreliable trucks. The new trucks have features such as refrigeration and GPS integration for tracking the routes and speed of trucks.  The program will eventually have all 40 trucks in the DLC fleet replaced.

“The new fleet implementation has undoubtedly increased the efficiency of the department’s deliveries with fewer breakdowns and truck shortages, and the new trucks also eliminate product damage from leaking water,” said Mike Vogel, DLC warehouse manager. “The new trucks have boosted the department’s reliability and increased customer satisfaction.”

The reorganization of the DLC over the past few years has included hiring experienced specialists. They have made needed changes that have improved operations and allowed for greater accountability.

"The DLC warehouse modernization has made a tremendous positive impact on service and standing among County businesses,” said Department Director Dorfman. “We have come a long way to have won this national award, but I know this effort has to be ongoing and I will ensure that it is.”

For more information about the StateWays award, click here.

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Release ID: 18-724
Media Contact: Emily DeTitta 240-777-1904