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Lucas drives customer service, sustainability and growth for Poole Bay Holdings

Poole Bay Holdings Group was established in 1993 and since then has grown from humble beginnings to an amazing team of over 200 dedicated people. Based in beautiful Poole, Dorset in the United Kingdom, with 150,000 square feet of warehouse, factory and office space, Poole Bay manufactures and sells a diverse range of products through catalogues, multiple ecommerce sites, and Amazon, all with next day shipping.

The company specialises in the everyday products that businesses need. Customers can choose from over 30,000 products across 20 websites, including categories such as first aid, medical sports products, hygiene and cleaning products, signs, outdoor furniture, shelters, canopies and walkways and workwear. Poole Bay prides itself on excellent customer service, an ethical approach to business, and a drive for growth. To help enable their ambitious strategy, they embarked on a partnership with Lucas Systems to drive fulfillment efficiency and empower the evolution of their ever-growing list of brands.

Lucas picking technology brings efficiency and reduced carbon footprint

Pool Bay Holdings workerPrior to working with Lucas, Poole Bay’s large team of pickers, spread over two stories and multiple picking areas, was fulfilling and merging orders by paper, a slow and tedious process. Knowing they needed to implement technology solutions to truly scale up and move forward, they connected with Lucas. For more than 25 years, Lucas Systems has helped companies transform their distribution center by dramatically increasing worker productivity, operational agility, and customer and worker satisfaction using speech recognition and AI optimisation technologies.

Poole Bay implemented Lucas’ voice-directed, AI-driven solution embodied in Jennifer, the brains, orchestration engine and voice of the solution. The results were immediate and dramatic. With Jennifer, “It was much easier for our pickers to use the system because they receive instruction in their headset so they don’t have to carry paper with them. They can pick products without the need to shuffle paperwork,” said Wayne Stone, Group Operations and Systems Manager. In terms of sustainability, Poole Bay had been using approximately 35 cases of paper per week. “That’s dropped down to near zero now,” said Wayne. That’s the equivalent to saving 910 trees per year.

For the pickers, the experience has been transformative. “I like working with Jennifer because of the ease of use,” said Josh Langdown, a picker and packer at the Poole Bay warehouse. “She’s very much like Siri, but she knows exactly what she’s talking about when it comes to a warehouse,” explained Josh. “You don’t have to pick by paper. She’s got it all in her head and you just do as you’re told.” Regarding efficiency gains, Josh explained that prior to Jennifer, he could only pick one or two orders at a time. Utilising Jennifer, he can now pick up to 40 orders at a time.

20 minute training

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Reduced labor by half while increasing efficiencies

40 orders picked at a time

910 trees saved yearly

66% improvement in error rate

Mitigating the need for labour resources

Poole Bay Holdings worker wearing Lucas headsetAnother area of remarkable efficiency gains for Poole Bay has been training and overall labour. “When we get new starters, it’s fairly quick to get people up and running. 20 minutes or so and you can send them on their way,” said Wayne. This was especially important during the COVID pandemic, when Poole Bay jumped from filling an average of 1,500 orders a day to nearly 4,000, when the critical need to provide masks, medicine, gloves, and hand sanitizer to customers reached an all-time high.

As part of the Lucas Warehouse Optimization Suite, Lucas provides a management console so supervisors and managers have real-time visibility to the operations, productivity, orders, and much more.“Being able to manage our staff through the Lucas Management Console and Jennifer, we couldn’t have done without it,” Wayne said.

In terms of overall labour needs, Poole Bay has cut down needed resources by half, going from 12 to 6 pickers while realising dramatic efficiency and throughput gains. Along with these new efficiencies Poole Bay was able to improve their already impressive accuracy rate by 66%, allowing them to eliminate 10 of the pack-audit team members due to the accuracy and reliability improvements Jennifer provides. Many pickers have found a favorite coworker in Jennifer. “With Jennifer, if you get stuck with anything, you just say ‘Jennifer help’,” said Poole Bay Picker Konnor O’Shear. “She tells you what you need to do. People respond quite well.”