Driving fulfillment excellence and a customer promise from start to finish

Orgill was founded in 1847 and today is the world’s largest independently owned hardlines distributor with annual sales exceeding $3.6 billion. The company provides products and services to more than 12,000 stores in North America throughout all fifty states, and all provinces and territories in Canada as well as more than 50 additional countries. Orgill has nearly 2,600 employees in seven distribution centers in the United States and one in Canada, totaling over 5 million square feet.

Even with more than 75,000 SKUs in each of its eight distribution centers, Orgill maintains order accuracy rates of 99.6% and industry leading fill rates. 98% of Orgill customers receive their shipment on a scheduled Orgill truck with an Orgill driver within 48 hours of placing their order. How do they do it? A fervent dedication to fulfillment excellence and helping their customers be successful. And with the help of the Lucas Warehouse Optimization Suite.

“What we did 20 years ago, couldn’t keep up with the growth that we have today. Jennifer and the Lucas platform are an integral part of our strategy as we move forward.”

Mark Scanlon, Orgill Vice President of Northeast Distribution

Fulfillment the way customers want it

Because of the sheer volume of customers Orgill serves, they must work with orchestrated precision and efficiency, starting from the receipt of inbound orders to the delivery of orders that allows for their most straightforward and optimized disposition. Each customer has different needs and expectations and Orgill stakes its reputation on tailoring their fulfillment execution to best serve their specific requirements.

According to Josh Sencindiver, Order Filling Manager for Orgill at their Rome, New York distribution center, Orgill’s smaller customers don’t tend to have a lot of storage space. In these cases, Orgill occupies a unique and differentiated position in the industry in that they can also act as the backroom for customers, playing the role of inventory manager. Sencindiver explained that these customers, “have an order day, a fill day and a delivery day. If they don’t get their items on their delivery day, they might not have the capability to sell that item later.”

Not only does Orgill fulfill orders to the store for customers, but they also operate as an e-commerce fulfillment center for many retailers. An item could be bought from a customer’s website but it is then picked, packed, and shipped right out of an Orgill DC. The efficiency and accuracy of the fulfillment process in each of their distribution centers is orchestrated through the Lucas Warehouse Optimization Suite, which is powered by Jennifer™, the brain, voice, and orchestration engine of the solution.

The benefits included:

Enabling fulfillment excellence with Lucas

With smaller customers, Sencindiver explained that orders can range from one line to 150 lines per assignment, and can include anywhere from one customer to four customers per assignment. Orgill utilizes Jennifer to pick by family grouping into totes, “a tote of plumbing supplies, a tote of electrical supplies” for instance, to help the customer easily put their stock away.

On the ecommerce side, Jennifer’s voice-directed optimization processes help Orgill pick up to 99 customers in the same tote at the same time. Orgill also utilizes a “cut out process,” supported by Jennifer verification, that allows for the accurate and efficient retrieval of individual items from larger inventory locations, which can then be packed and shipped to customers.

“Anything the warehouse associates don’t immediately have, or if they are missing an item or product, we will find that product and make sure our customers have everything they ordered. Our mission is to help our customers be successful. The way we do that is by making sure that we send the correct product to our customers each and every time.”

Maria Crumb, Supervisor at Orgill’s Rome N.Y. facility

User-friendly tools for optimized accuracy and productivity

Rather than feeling the pressure of the high standard, warehouse associates at the facility feel empowered by the advantages working with Jennifer provides. “Jennifer really helps us because she tells us exactly where we need to be, what we need to pick and where it needs to go,” said warehouse associate Alisha Green. “I appreciate the hands-free aspect. I like not having to fumble with a scanner and the product and a knife.”

Her colleague Caitlin Swinney echoed the safety and productivity benefits of Jennifer. “It took me about an hour to learn Jennifer. It’s easy to catch on to compared to the previous system I used at another distributor.”

Beyond the technology, the two companies have built a highly collaborative and continually evolving relationship over a decade of partnership. “We know a lot of the people that work at Lucas by first name. I have cell phone numbers of people I can call when I need help. So, I would say that the relationship between the two companies is very close,” said Scanlon.

“Here in Rome, N.Y. specifically, we hold our order fillers to 150 lines per hour standard, meaning about one pick every 22 seconds. Our quality requirement is 0.4, so 99.6% of the time the pick has to be with the correct quantity and the correct item,”

Josh Sencindiver, Order Filling Manager