Montgomery County ABS Wins National Award for Its Loss Prevention Program

Per Montgomery County: Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) has received the “Best Enforcement Program” award from national trade magazine StateWays for its loss prevention program that reduces theft, fraud and operational errors. The program preserves profits that are then used for County programs. It is one of the publication’s nine annual Best Practices awards.

The StateWays Best Practices Award will be presented to ABS at a ceremony on Oct. 24 at the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association’s Administrators Conference in Charleston, W. Va.

The StateWays magazine feature story announcing this year’s winners said, “In the last year, Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services has consolidated and expanded its loss prevention efforts into a comprehensive Inventory Control Loss Prevention Unit. ABS has strategized the approach, written new policies, implemented user-friendly systems and increased technologies to prevent loss caused by theft, fraud, wasteful practices and operational vulnerabilities.”

Read the StateWays article at

“With this program that leverages the department’s longstanding partnerships and commitment to innovation, ABS is again striving for the best possible return to Montgomery County residents, even as it has faced rapidly changing economic conditions, customer expectations and hospitality trends,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “I congratulate ABS and our hard-working employees on this well-deserved award.”

The department’s loss prevention enhancements include a new case management and incident reporting system, a revamped video monitoring strategy utilizing high-definition cameras in strategic locations and updates to operational procedures with increased employee training. ABS is currently deploying a new point-of-sale system in its retail stores that will more precisely account for inventory and product sales. The point-of-sale system upgrades are expected to be completed in mid-October.

StateWays is the only magazine devoted to issues affecting the alcohol control state system. It features articles that reflect many aspects of the control states’ mission of fiscal performance, promotion of responsible consumption, enforcement, retail sales and warehouse operations.

The Best Practices Awards program was launched in 2015 to recognize control state agencies that are leading the industry in innovation, education and enforcement. Any beverage control agency from the U.S. and Canada is eligible to enter the awards, which are presented in eight categories with one standout selected as the overall winner and serving as a model for other agencies allow.

“People initially think of shoplifting when they consider loss prevention, but this program takes a comprehensive view of the ways revenue can be lost and recovered,” said ABS Director Kathie Durbin. “The program addresses theft, but it also helps prevent fraud, wasteful practices and operational vulnerabilities. With the addition of this team, we will continue to assess stress points, like retail procedures, supply chain issues, shipping and receiving practices and inventory management. Ultimately, this program will ensure ongoing accountability and support for the community we serve.”

Seventeen U.S. jurisdictions and all but one province 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 revenue from alcohol sales to be returned to a general fund for public services.

ABS is the alcohol wholesaler of beer, wine and spirits for Montgomery County and operates 27 retail stores throughout the County. In addition, ABS manages alcohol licensing, enforcement and education for more than 1,000 businesses. Generating more than $35 million in net income annually, its profits are used to pay down County debt with a large portion deposited in the general fund to pay for resident services that would otherwise be funded by County tax dollars.

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