NRI Distribution Inc., a Canadian logistics provider to many outdoor vendors, has broken ground on a new 130,000-square-foot facility featuring the latest in warehouse automation.
The Kamloops, B.C. facility is designed to accomodate growth through 2013. It will contain a daycare, gym and foodservice area as well as an expanded Service Centre and is scheduled to open in November of this year. The company is also increasing space in Brampton, Ontario to 50,000 square feet.
Contract extensions with a number of customers have allowed NRI to plan out their growth for the next five years incorporating new technologies in warehouse management systems (WMS) and physical handling equipment which will improve service to their customers and their retail customers across Canada.
Following 2 years of design and development work NRI will be implementing their new WMS beginning May 1st. The new system includes a voice picking application where the employee is directed through the warehouse by the program employing text to voice software. Employees are now able to work with both hands and at an adjusted pace based upon their training and familiarity with the processes. There are a number of additional new features including web and EDI tools for both internal and external customer support. The Service Centre which provides warranty and repair support to a number of companies has added additional tooling to service technical apparel, watches, alpine boots and avalanche transceivers.
NRI has had to adjust to both growth and changes in employee values. Growing from 5 employees in 1997 to a projected number as high as 350 in 2009, they are focused on both growth and retention.
This has lead NRI to act on a number of initiatives including flexible work schedules, employee wellness programs, daycare services, employee rewards programs and ongoing employee education initiatives. NRI is also respecting management, employee and industry values by continually incorporating “green” practices into their daily operations and all future developments. These include motion sensor activated lighting, natural light access, ventilation systems in all new construction as well as a major focus on re-use of packaging in our daily processes.
NRI currently provides logisitcal services to a number of accounts in the lifestyle, outdoor and fashion markets including Quiksilver, Roxy, DC Shoes, Volcom, Electric Visual, Nixon, Icebreaker, Outdoor Research, Scarpa, K2, Oakley and Calvin Klein as well as many others.