For the past week, Ontarians have been putting their drinking plans on hold as the LCBO faces alcohol shortages in their stores across the province. As shelves are emptying out, the LCBO is blaming it on their new warehouse management system. However, union officials now claim that the LCBO was aware that this new management system wouldn't work before it was implemented, but continued to release it anyways.
OPSEU President Warren "Smokey" Thomas told CTV News that the LCBO began testing this new warehouse system last year. During this testing process, staff noticed that something was off about the system and warned management about glitches that would stop the system from working correctly.
According to Thomas, staff who were trained on the system noticed that the system often didn't work the way it was supposed to, and recommended delaying the implementation. Despite the constant warning of staff that the system would not work properly once it was implemented, the LCBO decided to push the system through on Canada Day weekend anyway.
Once the new system was implemented, problems started to occur just like the union staff had warned. In a statement that was released by the LCBO earlier this week, they state that that the transition to the new system has delayed deliveries.
Yet, the LCBO does not mention in this statement that they were aware of the problem prior to releasing the system. They do state, however, that they are working their hardest to get back to regular operations as quickly as possible.
Thomas also criticizes the LCBO for not pushing the implementation of this new warehouse system back into September or October after the summer season was done and sales were down.
Thomas told CTV, "Why wouldn't you wait until September or October when it slows down? If there was a disruption it wouldn't have been as pronounced, because sales are really high in the summer."
Whatever the reasoning behind the release of the new system, Ontarians are still experiencing shortages across the province. Some LCBO's have even been spotted posting signs that state that some stores are facing a supply shortage.
The LCBO has yet to provide any information on when the distribution of alcohol throughout Ontario will return back to normal and when customers can expect to see full shelves again.