How are warehouse operators reacting to COVID-19?

Jerome Dubois March 26th, 2020

One of the most important roles that I play as co-CEO of 6 River Systems is as a relationship builder.

Because we so deeply value our customer relationships, it is only natural that after we decided to move our business operations to work-from-home, my attention turned to our customers. Fulfillment centers are considered essential businesses – their operators and associates don’t have the option to work from home. I needed to know that they would be alright.

So, I joined members of our Customer Success team and picked up the phone. We spoke with the operators at our customer sites and asked them a very simple question – “how are you?”. While each operation is different, what we heard from them was largely the same. They’re looking at the realities we’re all facing and are being asked to balance safety, service levels, and cost to serve with a whole new set of business realities.

I’ve seen companies whose volume has skyrocketed and those which have plummeted. Some are “business as usual”, some have put a temporary halt on their operation, and others see an opportunity to take on new business. Everyone is investing in personal safety at work and managing an already challenging labor situation. Now, labor is even harder to find as many are forced to stay home to attend to children and family members.

6 River Systems is proud to support so many great companies that are on the front lines. Keeping our promise to them is our top priority and we are fortunate that we already have so many good processes in place:

  • Our company was built on a backbone of cloud-based infrastructure and a “work from anywhere” (WFA) culture. We’ve implemented systems that empower our employees, wherever they are, to support our customers’ sites 24/7, including non-business and holiday hours.
  • We have a “hot swap” program which has been in place for over a year and allows us to ship preconfigured replacement equipment (robots, kiosks, etc.) without having to travel to customer sites.
  • We are working with all of our customers on existing deployments to understand their needs and develop a plan to support them as they reset their business hours or onboard new customers.
  • Our dedicated reliability and data insights teams are proactively monitoring customer sites and in some cases have offered solutions before our sites even notice a change in their operations.
  • We continue to develop new customer relationships and share our success stories with you.

Internally, we’re leaning into our core values. We continue to hire and onboard new team members. In some cases, extending offers without ever meeting the candidate in person. We’re still designing innovative solutions to further improve our offering and discovering new ways to support our customers because we all win when they do.

We care about what everyone is going through. We understand that this is an unprecedented time of sacrifice and instability for individuals and for companies. To our current customers, we’re here with you and our promise to you is as strong as ever. To our potential new customers, we respect that company priorities may shift and we are ready to support your efforts when you decide the time is right.

On behalf of the entire 6 River Systems team, we wish everyone good health in their personal and professional endeavors and look forward to seeing you all and shaking hands soon.