Owens and Minor is a leading distributor of branded medical, surgical and disposable products. Predominately distributing to acute care or hospital facilities throughout the United States, they also serve surgery centers and primary and extended care markets. O&M turned to Lucas to support improved efficiency in their existing base business of acute care, as well as support future growth in other markets.
Owens & Minor has consistently focused on improving operations in its DCs through a combination of process improvement and technology investments. Those efforts had plateaued, and the company was facing rising costs due to increasing volumes of orders for less than case quantities. The challenge was to improve productivity and reduce the costs for picking low unit of measure (LUM) items, and to increase picking accuracy compared to their existing RF-based process which required scanning every pick line.
The O&M operations team held a competitive bid process to choose a solution. Beyond the operational requirements, they were seeking a solution that would integrate easily with their legacy WMS and support industry standard mobile devices.
The Lucas solution at O&M met all of those requirements, and the Lucas engineering approach and process expertise fit well with Owens and Minor’s culture of continuous improvement. The Lucas team worked closely with O&M’s IT and operations team to roll out the system in the first site, and subsequently accelerated the deployment schedule to support 46 sites.
The system supports voice-directed picking across product areas, including case pick to pallet and cart picking for LUM items. O&M team members embraced the technology. Each new user received 2-3 hours of training and the vast majority were picking productively on their first day.
The Lucas solution delivered improved accuracy and productivity: overall DC productivity across all activities (including receiving, replenishment and other tasks that were unchanged) increased greater than 10 percent. In addition, the system reduced training and improved worker satisfaction compared to the previous RF-based process.