Not Science Fiction Anymore
Monday January 22, 2009
Kiva Systems, the manufacturer of lozenge-shaped orange robots that bring
racks of items to order pickers, appears to be moving out of the realm
of futuristic curiosity and into the role of serious contender in warehouse
automation. The company, which already does business with Zappos.com,
Walgreens, and Staples, has signed new customers Diapers.com and Gap Inc.
The technology company had other news to share. Zappos.com will expand
its Kiva system to the mezzanines of its DC, and Walgreens is converting
all of the SKUs at one of its DCs from conveyor-based picking to Kiva's
system. Kiva also signed an agreement with the Sedlak consulting firm
under which the partners will share expertise in order fulfillment and
material handling systems. A new third-party logistics firm called Quiet
Logistics will use Kiva's system in its order fulfillment and returns
processing operations. And finally, Kiva has developed a bin that its
robots can carry and dump into warehouse trash and recycling hoppers.