Nintendo North Bend
Nintendo North Bend is the main North American production facility and one of the distribution centers for the video game console manufacturer Nintendo, located in North Bend, Washington, the United States of America. There is another distribution center, located in Atlanta, that usually handles distribution for the South and Northeast regions. The North Bend center handles distribution for the Western Coast, Rocky Mountain, Midwestern, Hawaii, and Alaska regions.
The 380,000-square-foot (35,000 m2) facility processes more than 20,000 orders a day to Nintendo customers, which include retail stores that sell Nintendo products and consumers who order their video games and associated components online.
In 2004, Nintendo launched the Nintendo DS, a handheld game console that had sold over 16 million units worldwide by 2006. Much of the Nintendo DS distribution (including all distribution to the western hemisphere) was coordinated by the North Bend facility. This significant task saw the workforce at the facility grow to over 400 employees, with operations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The North Bend facility has been praised for its efficiency and low stock shrinkage. In particular, the technology used by the company assisted it to pack more than 220 units a minute prior to the Nintendo DS release. In total, over 7.7 million items (including all other Nintendo product lines) were packaged in the 13 days prior to the Nintendo DS release date. This equates to the equivalent of filling 14 different Boeing 747 freight aircraft.
The technology behind this efficiency includes a team of battery-operated robots that work in the warehouse and are named after Nintendo characters such as Mario and Zelda. The robots are known to 'screech' noises when objects are in their way and deliver themselves to maintenance when their batteries are low.