LCBO ignored warnings of system glitch that led to shortage, union says
The LCBO was warned about its new warehouse management system multiple times, according to union officials, but the advice was “absolutely ignored” – leading to bare store shelves.
OPSEU president Warren “Smokey” Thomas said the liquor store began testing the new system about a year and a half ago, but launched the system just before the Canada Day long weekend.
Thomas said, however, employees working on the system notified managers about glitches and recommended delaying the implementation until the issues could be sorted out.
“People that have to use the system were trained on it, but kept saying it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work,” Thomas told CTV News Toronto on Thursday.
“Many, many people said this won’t work and they went and did it anyway.”
The changes at the Durham Retail Service Centre led to widespread delays this month and product orders from LCBO retail outlets and wholesale customers arrived days later than usual.
It resulted in some LCBO stores experiencing depletion in stock as new wines, beer and spirits slowly rolled in.
The crown agency acknowledged in a statement issued on Thursday that while there is no inventory shortage at the distribution center there is “a delay in delivery.”
“While some interruption in service was expected, deliveries remain moving at a slower than usual pace,” the statement read.
While the LCBO won’t provide a detailed timeline for when distribution will return to normal – some LBCO managers tell CTV News Toronto that a sense of normalcy seems to be returning to the supply chain.
Managers, who were not authorized to speak on the matter publicly, said the LCBO warned them about the system changes in advance and were in constant communication regarding shipment delays.
Thomas also questions the decision-making process behind the timing of the implementation – alcohol sales typically reach a peak point during the summer months.
“Why wouldn’t you wait until September or October when it slows down?” Thomas asked. “If there was a disruption it wouldn’t have been pronounced, because the sales are really high in the summer.”