Lifetime Brands, USA

Lifetime Brands is North America's leading designer, developer and marketer of kitchenware, cutlery and cutting boards, bakeware, cookware, pantryware, tabletop, home decor, picture frames and bath accessories.

Lifetime Brands markets its products under some of the industry's best known brands, including KitchenAid®,Farberware Farberware®, Mikasa®, Cuisinart®, Calvin Klein, and Nautica®, as well as environmentally-friendly products such as EcoWorld as environmentally-friendly products such as EcoWorld®.

The challenge

In 1999, Lifetime Brands Inc. began laying plans for a Greenfield distribution center in New Jersey that would consolidate its three manual distribution operations into a single, highly efficient and very automated facility. In a staged approach over eight years, the company built out not only the distribution center’s material handling equipment but also the DC’s physical size to accommodate its needs, expanding its total space to 700,000 square feet. But this was to be no ordinary DC. Lifetime Brands brought in Dematic Corp. to engineer, build and install conveying, picking and sortation equipment that would optimize energy usage while maintaining the highest possible uptime reliability.

The solution

Ninety-five percent of Lifetime Brands’ 7,600 SKUs come into the Robbinsville DC by container. The containers are opened, and the product is palletized and then put away into storage or used on current orders using a cross dock operation. A WMS helps directs picking as well as replenishment of the product from the stored pallets. Batch waving is utilized through the picking and sortation process. Full-cases make up the majority of products needed for orders. The higher volume items are selected directly onto conveyors in five multi-level pick towers using pick labels. About 20 percent of the DC’s product is split-case, manually picked and scanned to carts using RF scanning technology which are then inducted into the sortation at one of several induction points.

The results

By mid year of 2007, Lifetime Brands’ Robbinsville, New Jersey distribution center had the capability of handling 45,000 cartons per day, and an extremely high order accuracy rate.

"The energy efficiencies in our N.J. facility have helped cut our distribution operating costs. We have reduced our distribution expense, as a percentage of sales, by 3.75 percent over the past five years."

"A key operational metric we look at is our systems uptime and in Robbinsville it is over 99%. We also attribute much of our inventory and order accuracy to the systems we have in place."

- Craig Phillips, Senior Vice President for Distribution at Lifetime Brands

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