Stateways March April 2011

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

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“Our old system had an outdated programming lan- guage, it was a mainframe application, and it’s very diffi- cult to maintain,” says Bruce Ireland, IT Manager for the ABD. “The new system is server-based, has current pro- gramming, and will allow us to better track inventory, extend opportunities to customers for order fulfillment, strengthen security with built-in record retention, and give us a better grasp on tracking labor movement.” If that sounds like a lot of benefit from one upgrade, it is. To ensure they were implementing the right tech- nology for the next 30 years, Ireland and Chief Deputy Administrator Rick Swizdor underwent a multi-year search for the correct vendor after receiving funding approval in 2008. Even in an uncertain economic cli- mate, the funding was considered essential. “The justification is the return on investment,” Ireland says. “We view a higher degree of inventory accuracy, better tracking, the opportunity to refine processes, and a reduction in staff as necessary to become more efficient.” M Modernizing the Warehouse any of the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division’s functions can be accessed online. Its licensing application has been accessible on its website for more than five years, virtual training for tobacco retailers moved online more recently, and tax forms for beer and wine are readily available. Yet the division’s warehouse, which distributes more than 16 million bottles of spirits to the state’s 700 liquor stores every year, uses an inventory management system from the early 1980’s. StateWays   March/April 2011 The new system will be live this summer and retail- ers who have heard the news are excited, even if not everyone will use the online ordering capabilities. “Customers will be able to enter their orders more effectively online, track when they’ve shipped, and view their buying history,” Swizdor says. “It’ll be good for customers, but we won’t require online ordering because it’s not feasible for some of our rural customers who don’t have internet access.” For customers who continue to call, fax, or email their orders to the division, order fulfillment staff will 39

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