Apex Tool Group Addresses Labor Needs with Lucas​

Apex Tool Group is one of the leading global manufacturers of professional hand and power tools. The company’s half million square foot central distribution center in North Carolina serves multiple channels, including direct-to-consumer fulfillment, B2B distribution to retailers, as well as shipments to other ATG DCs throughout the world.

Although Apex was using RF and pick-to-light, the picking processes were complex and inefficient and overtime was common. Secondly, work release was highly manual and pickers would ultimately decide the sequence in which orders were picked, which sometimes caused items to ship late, among other issues. Apex implemented Lucas to help alleviate labor challenges and more efficiently meet stringent quality demands of its customer base

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“We were challenged by a number of open jobs across our distribution center. But the productivity and efficiency gains from Lucas allowed us to continue to deliver the levels of service our customers expect.”
Chris Rufa, Senior Director of Global Distribution

Accuracy and Efficiency Gains for Workers, Supervisors, and Delivery Drivers

Legacy Technology and Processes Before Lucas

The DC receives product from ATG manufacturing plants in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world, and processes 3,000-4,000 outbound shipments per day. The facility has 28,000 pallet locations and more than 16,000 individual pick faces, including case pick and each pick locations across multiple zones with a variety of picking processes and technology.

The WMS provided RF-based work execution and integrated with conveyor and sortation systems, and a pick-to-light module for each picking. Despite using RF and pick-to-light, picking processes were complex and inefficient, causing frequent overtime.

Additionally, work release was highly manual. The WMS would print the labels for all orders for the day and a planner would sort the labels by carrier and shipment. The pickers would ultimately decide the sequence in which orders were picked, which sometimes caused items to ship late, among other issues. Errors and late shipments are especially costly when shipping to big box

Jennifer™ Provides Flexible Work Creation to Support Alternative Batch Picking Strategies and Intelligent Voice-Directed Processes

“You rarely implement a new system and have users tell you ‘It’s made my life so much easier.‘ Making the process better for associates makes them more productive. And that’s better for the business”
Chris Rufa, Senior Director of Global Distribution