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

Apex Tool Group
"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

63% Reduction in Picking Errors

Drastically Improved Audit Efficiency

Operating With 10% Fewer Man Hours

Improved Employee Morale

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

Manual Work Release

The WMS printed the labels and a planner would sort the labels by carrier and shipment.

Costly Shipping Errors

Picking errors and late shipments were very costly when shipping to big box retailers.

Inefficient Processes

The picking processes were complex and inefficient, causing everyone to work overtime.

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

Waveless Order Release

Intelligent Work Orchestration →

The current WMS sends orders to Lucas and Jennifer™, the voice and intelligence of the Lucas software manages the creation and release of work assignments across the facility.

Management Console

Management Dashboards

The Lucas solution also included a management console that gives supervisors real-time insight on productivity, workflow, exceptions, and other operational data.

Mobile Applications

Easy-to-Use Mobile Applications →

Workers were equipped with multi-modal mobile applications on android devices to maximize efficiency with voice, scanning and visual prompts.

Checkstring

Voice-Directed Applications →

Lucas voice-directed applications are used for post-pick dock sortation and all picking processes in every area of the DC: pick-to-cart, pick-to-carton, case pick and non-conveyable.

Batch Optimization

Intelligent Order Batching

Jennifer™ creates optimized batch picking assignments for different cart configurations in the main piece picking area while defining optimal pick paths for each cart pick assignment in the area.

Mulit-Modal

QC/Audit Application →

Post-pick QC/Audit application uses barcode scanning to replace a manual visual audit process.

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

Read More Lucas Success Stories

The Container Store

The Container Store

Learn how the Container Store increased productivity 15%.

Eby Brown

Learn how Eby Brown reduced shortages by 46%

Baptist Health South Florida

Baptist Health

Learn how we helped Baptist Health double productivity.

Lucas Insights: Achieve Your AI Potential

Read about the latest Lucas Insights on AI In The Warehouse, based on an independent market survey of 350 companies in the US and UK.