Catching up with NRI Distribution
NRI Distribution has had a busy holiday season – especially its U.S. operations. We sat down with NRI’s Director of Accounts Ryan Dale-Johnson to learn more about how they handled the onslaught of work and the competition for labor with Amazon’s recent wage increase.
How was the holiday season for NRI’s U.S. operations?
From Black Friday through New Year’s it was a pretty insane time of year (200 – 500% seasonal growth on a per client basis), but all things considered, went very well. Our branded partners really understand how our success with fulfillment is tied directly to their upstream planning and forecasting. We are grateful to our clients for their collaboration and trusting us with their business, and to our employees for making it all happen.
How have you been able to compete for labor with Amazon, especially with their recent wage increase?
NRI’s labor structure is fairly unique in the 3PL world in that we don’t really have a temporary labor force – we have up to 90% permanent employees. Most warehouse companies are the inverse with a heavy reliance on temporary labor.
In mid November, with the holiday rush approaching, we took decisive action and raised our wages to match Amazon’s rate. Our staff remained incredibly engaged and dedicated to our successes, and the next few weeks were certainly an all-hands-on deck scenario. Again, through collaboration with our amazing branded partners we were able to attract, retain and perform during a business-critical time.
What are you looking forward to in 2019?
Our primary focus is to obsessively reduce transit time to consumers and costs to our partners. We opened our Montreal facility this year to offer an Eastern fulfillment point and now have our eyes set on the North East USA. We want to offer a competitive alternative for brand based e-fulfillment that protects our partners brand and their margins.