The holiday season may be right around the corner, but at NRI, it’s already here. Our clients are gearing up for a busy and somewhat unpredictable Q4. So as consumers prepare their lists (and check them twice), it’s our job to supercharge fulfillment solutions. 

NRI saw massive shifts over the last two holiday seasons as the COVID-19 pandemic and its lingering effects continued to impact supply chain logistics. While many supply chain trends and best practices from the past two years will stick around in 2022, our strategy continues to evolve and shift. The National Retail Federation revised its annual forecast for 2022 recently, anticipating that retail sales will grow between 6% and 8% over the previous year. Non-store and online sales are expected to grow by 18.1% as consumers continue to utilize ecommerce.  

With the right preparation and insight, there is no need to hit the panic button. Here’s what NRI has in store for Q4 – and how we plan to maximize holiday client sales success. 

FORECASTING

Forecasting is a critical piece in successful execution. As a service provider, NRI needs to be able to plan and shift resources around this data. This is doubly important when promotions are started earlier in the quarter – pre-Black Friday for example. NRI has dedicated forecasting and planning resources that work with our client partners to capture this detail to build successful space and labor plans. Surprises are bound to happen, so it’s important to minimize them as much as possible by communicating and sharing expectations with clients well in advance. 

STAFFING

Having sufficient staff to handle peak order volume is perhaps the biggest challenge during peak season. Q4 brings a high demand to attract new hires as we navigate the post-COVID-19 workforce. To ensure adequate staffing during peak season, NRI continues to bring team members into the organization with attractive compensation, full-time hours, and a positive work environment. Our focus on continued education and being a values-based organization ensures that our team members have career opportunities and a supportive workplace.  We have scaled resources through our recruitment and retention efforts and will be continuing to do so throughout Q4.

AUTOMATION & SOLUTIONS

Automation solutions help with labor shortages, but also improve the existing workers’ experience. Robotic solutions like 6 River Systems reduce the travel time for employees and increase throughput and order accuracy. 6 River Systems allows our team to have the flexibility to scale up quickly to meet increased demand.  

NRI has invested in additional automation which allows us to scale throughput at our pack stations and transiting goods through the facilities. Brands can help support these initiatives to gain efficiencies in the packing process as well – whether it is eliminating the waste of packing slips, migrating to label packing slips, or adopting non-branded mailers. Beyond automation, our team of industrial engineers is continuously identifying and leveraging our clients’ activity patterns to support product layout and configuration within our facilities. Q4 amplifies existing fulfillment challenges and introduces new ones. It’s imperative NRI finds and embraces all opportunities, no matter how small, to improve order processing time. 

The most wonderful time of the year doesn’t have to be the most stressful. Our team at NRI is made up of seasoned 3PL professionals and people who care about getting your packages and products to their final destinations on time.