Lane Automotive - Case Study

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About Lane Automotive

For over 60 years, Lane Automotive, Inc. has served the racing community as a premier global distributor of aftermarket performance automotive parts and accessories. From Motor State Distributing, its Wholesale Distribution division with over 660 brand offerings, to its own leading performance brands focused on the Circle Track, Sprint Car, Drag Racing, Truck and Off-Road, and street performance markets, amongst others, Lane Automotive continues its long and storied history of innovation as it embarks on the next phase of customer and service excellence.

Operating from its primary 416,000 square-foot facility located in Watervliet, MI, Lane Automotive stocks over 100,000 SKUs and offers more than 3.5 million parts from its expansive catalog. They also welcome customers to shop its vast product selection at their 10,000-square-foot onsite retail showroom.   

The Challenge

In a high-performance market where agility, accuracy, and consistency are crucial to its customers’ success, Lane Automotive places the utmost importance on a customer-first approach. This commitment led the company to explore end-to-end solutions for their order fulfillment operations during 2021. They aimed to transform existing operations at their brownfield site, prioritizing improvements in operational performance, efficiency, accuracy, and employee experience while maintaining the flexibility to adapt and expand over time.

Considering that many of its customers order critical parts ahead of the weekend or before special events, timely and accurate fulfillment is essential to delivering the best customer experience possible. It’s imperative that the company meet fulfillment deadlines and carrier pickup times to deliver on its customer expectations, especially since it receives over 50% of its daily order volume between 3PM – 7PM and its first carrier pickup time is 7:30PM.

As volumes have grown, these challenges have also placed a strain on Lane Automotive’s fulfillment associates who found themselves covering distances of 12+ miles per day to meet the demand. In response, the company proactively sought a solution to enhance employee productivity, ergonomics, and improve the overall working experience.

Additionally, as a rapidly expanding entity, Lane Automotive demanded an agile and scalable system capable of seamlessly managing multi-channel fulfillment for a diverse array of products with varying demand. Successfully implementing a solution was essential to maintaining the company’s growth momentum and addressing the changing needs of its diverse customer base.

Solution

The Skypod system at Lane Automotive’s central distribution center was integrated by Conveyco. The system serves as the centerpiece for a comprehensive end-to-end automated order fulfillment solution. This includes multiple inbound stations with each containing 24 buffer put-to-light cells, an empty carton delivery system that directs formed shipping cartons to their respective picking stations, multiple inline weight scales for additional layers of order accuracy and validation, inline packing list insertion, automated packing systems, inline label applicators, and more.   

RobotsStationsStorage BinsBins/HourStorage HeightSystem Footprint
62559,6001,500(8.4m) 27.5ft2,665 m2 (28,685 ft2)

Results

1. Improved Performance

  • Throughput and efficiency increase of more than 600%
  • Elevated output from 50 lines per hour to surpassing 300 lines per hour at each station
  • Significantly reduced order processing time in tandem with additional automation, minimizing the fulfillment order cycle time (duration from start of pick to carrier trailer) from an average of 109 minutes to an impressive 15 minutes or less

2. Enhanced Flexibility

  • System easily scales to match business growth and peak season volumes allowing for the rapid expansion of throughput while leveraging its dense storage capacities
  • Can grow system volumes by 2x with minimal to no additional reinvestment
  • The ability to handle the majority of the company’s order volume within a compact footprint of less than 29,000 square feet

“Our customers shape every decision we make as a company, so we had to identify the right end-to-end solution (with goods-to-person robotics at its core) that could easily integrate with our existing automation and distribution ecosystem to transform our fulfillment operations for years to come. Exotec and Conveyco were key partners in our distribution automation journey and delivered best-in-class automation technologies to fully maximize the efficiency and throughput of the Skypod system.”

David Meadow, CIO, Lane Automotive

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