Lee Valley Tools launches automated fulfilment operations at Carp distribution centre

Lee Valley Tools Carp
Lee Valley Tools' new "Auto-Store" features 42 automated shuttles that cut product selection time in half. Photo provided by Lee Valley

Lee Valley Tools has launched a new micro-fulfilment centre in Carp that relies on automation and technology to increase efficiency and allow more room for manufacturing operations.

The new “Auto-Store” operated out of Lee Valley’s 150,000-square-foot distribution warehouse at 2770 Carp Rd., which processes all of Lee Valley’s global inbound trade for distribution to stores and customers. With the addition of new automation and technology, the Auto-Store consolidates 36,000 square feet of picking locations into 6,000 square feet, thereby freeing up space to expand manufacturing at the facility.

The Auto-Store features 42 shuttles that retrieve products for warehouse operators from the 18,000 bin locations storing Lee Valley products. The automated process has more than doubled the picking speed. 

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“By investing in manufacturing and automation, we are strengthening our foundation and helping employees with tasks that involve undesirable work like repetitive lifting and walking all day,” said Lee Valley COO Jason Tasse in a news release. “The more efficient we can make our operations, the more flexibility we have to adapt to disruptions that may occur during seasonal hiring periods and can scale appropriately as needed.”

Lee Valley has more than 500 employees, including 200 in manufacturing, in the National Capital Region. “This is our hub, nationally and globally,” said Tasse.

Tasse described the Auto-Store project as “equivalent to changing the engine in a moving car.”

“And, quite frankly, we pulled it off as seamlessly as we did because of the calibre of the employees and the dedication and care that they invest in Lee Valley Tools.”

The Auto-Store, “speaks volumes to the courage and boldness of our company, as we continue to respond to the ever-changing economic landscape,” Tasse added. 

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