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Kiva: Turning a material handling application into a success story

May 27, 2014 6736 Views

It is important to learn from the past. After the failure of online grocery delivery service Webvan, Michael Mountz was able to turn Kiva into a real success story. Kiva, an innovative material handling application, was sold to Amazon last year for 775 million dollars. How did Mountz do it?

The use of robots in society is growing all the time and, in view of the recent developments within leading technology companies, will increasingly play a role in logistics. It is thought that Google wants to enable the use of self-driving cars to deliver goods. Based on its takeovers of companies specialised in robotics, the firm appears to be investing in the idea. Amazon made headlines in late 2013 with its Prime Air project aimed at utilising drones to make airborne deliveries. A year previously, Amazon acquired Kiva Systems, a company specialised in warehouse automation including the use of robots. The Kiva system revolves around an arrangement of shelves or ‘pods’ (onto which inventory items are placed) with mobile robots who can lift and carry the pods. The robots navigate using simple barcode stickers on the floor and deliver a pod to each packing station every 6 seconds. The whole set-up is managed by a central control system which is fast, robust and adaptive (see A Day in the Life of a Kiva Robot – YouTube).

This article has been published on logistiek.nl, leading logistics online platform. (Only Dutch version available)

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