Introduction
 

Retailers seek distribution partnerships they can trust to meet the need of their customers’ delivery standards, especially during the holiday season. To keep up with the busy demands of peaks, NFI implemented a pick-cart solution within one of our warehouses to increase productivity when needing to fulfill orders for our customer's consumers. This solution guaranteed that consumers would receive their customized orders on-time and picked accurately. 

 

The Customer
 

A global leader in giftware turned to NFI for assistance in streamlining their distribution process. Our customer provides products to a variety of gift retailers, home decor boutiques, mass-market chains, and online retailers. They needed a partner who could store, package, and distribute items to their 44,000+ global customers, while understanding the importance of meeting delivery expectations.
 

The Challenge
 

NFI knew they could play a significant role in ensuring that our customer's consumers had inventory to sell during the holidays. 
 

During the holiday season, our customer saw an increase in demand for their products, and with that, their inventory grew. As their warehouse and distribution provider, NFI employees were faced with the challenge of picking customizable orders across hundreds of SKUS and maintaining delivery timelines. The team needed a solution that would allow associates to spend less time navigating the warehouse floor, decrease weeks of onboarding during peak season, and increase productivity throughout the site.

 

The Solution
 

Committed to helping our customer optimize their warehouse needs, NFI partnered with 6 River Systems (6RS), a company determined to create leading-edge fulfillment solutions, to implement an automated pick cart solution into their warehouse. Here’s how it worked:
 

  • Warehouse workers were notified about an item needing to be distributed.
  • Chuck, the autonomous robot, used intelligent work allocation software to recognize the products needing to be picked. 
  • Once the item was identified, the associate followed Chuck to the item’s specific location. Chuck grouped products together within an aisle or dynamic work zone, enabling associates to find several products for different orders at one time. 
  • Associates then loaded the items onto Chucks’ cart before the robot was sent back to its starting point — where the item was prepared for distribution.
 

The Results
 

NFI's customer saw several improvements from the implementation of the pick-cart solution:

  • Increased picking accuracy to 99%       
  • Increased the numbers of units picked in an hour to 85 
  • Decreased onboarding time during peak season.
  • Reduced employee onboarding time from 72 hours to six hours 

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