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. Direct.

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.