State's Liquor Licensees Benefit from New Online Liquor Ordering System

Media Contact: LARA Communications (517-335-LARA (5272))
Email: mediainfo@michigan.gov

March 9, 2021 – In order to expand functionality and make the ordering process easier for its licensees, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) has launched its new Online Liquor Ordering system (OLO) for the state’s 14,000 liquor licensees to place their spirits orders.

“Despite the challenges for many during the past year, it is great that our MLCC team was able to continue the necessary work to successfully launch a new online system that streamlines the process and is user friendly for our liquor license holders when ordering liquor for their bars and restaurants,” said Orlene Hawks, director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), where the MLCC is housed. “LARA’s priority is to modernize outdated Legacy IT systems as a way to rethink how we deliver efficient and first class service to our customers, businesses, and licensees. The excellent work of our MLCC team – along with our partnership with the Department of Technology, Management and Budget and our stakeholders – is a reflection of their commitment to this priority.”

The new, modernized OLO system significantly expands functionality for licensees and offers many new online capabilities. Most notably, licensees can now:

  • View and search orders placed on the new system; and search for liquor products.
  • Copy previous orders (much easier if licensees order the same items each time).
  • Search by an “old” liquor code and if it’s been replaced, the system will bring up the new code.
  • Add multiple users (e.g., owners, managers, etc.); the previous system only allowed one user, per licensee.
  • Add products by liquor code and quantity.

The OLO system replaces a decades-old, antiquated Legacy system that long outlived its usefulness or practicality.

“These enhanced capabilities certainly brings our liquor ordering system into the 21st century for our licensees and will better meet their business needs,” said MLCC Chair Pat Gagliardi. “Also with OLO, we now have a platform to build on that will give us the ability to add other functions that will serve us well into the future.”

Midwest Independent Retailers Association Retail Vice Chair (Markham Oil) Michael Mitchell was impressed with the MLCC implementing such a major change to a new system, especially now. “In a non-COVID time this new system would be a massive undertaking. The fact that the MLCC pulled this off during COVID is remarkable,” said Mitchell. ‘’We have many issues every time we change a system or upgrade a program. The MLCC has done a great job of listening to the wants and needs of all of us. Change is never easy, but this was managed very well.”

For licensees who want to learn more about how to use the new OLO system, the MLCC prepared Frequently Asked Questions, a video of actual training sessions, and a new OLO System Training Manual that is available on the MLCC website

Prior to the launch in February, the MLCC conducted extensive testing and training on the OLO system with MLCC staff, liquor licensees and the state’s authorized distribution agents’ (ADAs) technical and customer service teams, using multiple technologies (e.g. phone, iPads, etc.). The MLCC provided licensees with advance notification and registration instructions prior to new system going live – which was key to the seamless transition to the greatly modernized system.

Retailers are encouraged to contact the MLCC if they have questions, comments or suggestions on any changes that they think could improve the system. The MLCC is already working on enhancements based on licensee recommendations that are anticipated to launch within the next few weeks. 

Rishi Makkar, store manager at International Beverage in Grand Rapids has already offered his recommendations. “It’s so wonderful to have an administration and a development team that truly cares about the end-user experience and is willing to take input to further improve on the already cemented improvements,” said Makkar. “It’s nice to know that we are truly treated as partners instead of just a license number.” 

The MLCC thanks the ADAs and the Michigan Department of Management & Budget IT Services Division staff for their support and assistance. 

The new OLO system is for licensees to order their liquor products – not the general public.

It is the mission of the MLCC to make alcoholic beverages available for consumption while protecting the consumer and the general public through the regulation of those involved in the importation, sale, consumption, distribution, and delivery of these alcohol products.

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