Robotland Bookstore

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Robots in the Warehouse

U.S. e-commerce sales in 2011 accounted for 4.6 percent of total sales or estimated at $194.3 billion, an increase of 16.1 percent (±1.6%) from 2010. Many retail companies are now pressing ahead to stay competitive in the growing e-commerce business by placing robots into the warehouse. Safety advances make it possible for companies that include Crate & Barrel, Diapers.com, and Gap (GPS) to use robots such as those from Kiva Systems in warehouses to fulfill orders faster. Kiva's robots incorporate industrial shelves on wheels, which a worker can summon to a convenient point in a warehouse. Online retailer Diapers.com employs more than 350 of the robots in three warehouses, and is adding "hundreds per month. Retailer Crate & Barrel has purchased Kiva robots to be installed in its Tracy (Calif.) distribution center. One reason Crate & Barrel and Diapers.com decided to use Kiva robots is that the robots can work in the dark, reducing carbon emissions and saving money on air-conditioning and lighting.
Mick Mountz revolutionized the way warehouses pack and ship their inventory by using robots, mobile shelving, and algorithms based on complexity theory.  What used to take hours of tedious tasks is transformed into fun, 15-minute, click-to-ship order processing. Mick Mountz revolutionized the way warehouses pack and ship their inventory by using robots, mobile shelving, and algorithms based on complexity theory. Check out the video talk below.



According to Fast Company Kiva became profitable in 2011 after it added a record 24 customers, including Toys "R" Us and Timberland, more than doubling revenue for the second year in a row.  Kiva won’t release revenue figures, but a typical client order averages $4 million to $6 million.

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