Fueling Customer Satisfaction for NFI

Leading 3PL Leverages 6 River Systems (6RS) Collaborative Mobile Robotic Order Fulfillment to Deliver Peak Results

How Collaborative Robots Can Empower Employees and Drive Efficiency
3PL & Supply Chain Summit, June 2019

NFI is a fully integrated North American supply chain solutions provider headquartered in Camden, N.J. Privately held by the Brown family since its inception in 1932, NFI generates more than $2 billion in annual revenue and employs more than 11,300 associates. NFI owns facilities globally and operates approximately 50 million square feet of warehouse and distribution space.

NFI serves a diverse customer base, and is widely acknowledged as a leader in customer experience and retention. The average tenure of the company’s top 25 customers is more than 15 years. These companies rely on NFI to deliver continuous operations improvement and innovation.

“We value shared learning. Any time you want to deploy new technology, you need a partner that's willing to learn with you. That is what’s made this partnership with 6 River Systems strong.”


Considering a Change

After sustaining a peak season performance degradation with a contract logistics customer in one facility, NFI quickly evaluated the issue. The team concluded that its RF-enabled pick-to-cart system that was causing operations bottlenecks, and defined the requirements for replacing the system:

  • Flexibility to be implemented before the next peak without any new infrastructure.
  • Scalable to meet volume increases.
  • Improve worker productivity.
  • Safe for the workers.
  • Light to moderate investment level, with an attractive ROI.


After evaluating goods-to-person and collaborative robotics solutions, NFI chose to implement a solution from 6 River Systems. The solution—featuring Chuck, the autonomous robot—was implemented within 8 weeks, and exceeded the target performance improvements metrics. The solution is used to process 67% of NFI’s order lines within the facility.

Operations Results

NFI was able to achieve all of its customer satisfaction, operations, and employee objectives. There were two primary operations benefits:


Increased productivity. 6RS was implemented within three months and delivered a full ROI within 18 months. Key performance improvements included:

  • 73% more lines picked per hour.
  • 51% more units picked per hour.
  • 25% improvement on picking accuracy

Navigating the labor market more effectively. Productivity gains reduced reliance on seasonal labor, while the intuitive 6RS solution allowed NFI to access deeper labor pool. Specifically, NFI was able to:

  • Eliminate DC experience requirements.
  • Lessen language barriers.
  • Reduce time to achieve performance objectives by 90% by minimizing time spent learning process/tools and warehouse floor/map.

Why do associates like the 6RS solution?

6RS redefined the employee experience. NFI reported a marked improvement in worker engagement and job satisfaction. The primary reasons cited for the improvement included:


The elimination of long walks—work is delivered to and transported from the worker autonomously.


30% reduction of in-aisle travel through cloud-based allocation algorithm.


Eliminating fatigue from pushing a cart that gets heavier and more cumbersome throughout work assignments.