Kiva Systems, active in development of mobile solutions for the distribution and order fulfillment industry, says that online retailer Zappos.com intends to install a Kiva Mobile Fulfillment System at one of the company's distribution centers. Zappos plans to use Kiva's ItemFetch split-case picking system and OrderFetch shipping sorter at its Shepherdsville, Ky., facility to store, move and sort a variety of products, including shoes, apparel and accessories.
Zappos.com currently stocks more than 3 million shoes, handbags, apparel items and accessories from over 1,000 brands in warehouse space totaling 905,000 square feet.
"Zappos needed a material handling solution that was incrementally scalable so it could grow smoothly as our sales do, rather than a traditional system that can only grow in large, expensive jumps," says Craig Adkins, vice president of fulfillment operations. "Conventional equipment is also very difficult to move if you need to alter the footprint or change facilities, and this can be extremely frustrating. Kiva solves several problems simultaneously with portable equipment that not only scales up and down on a dime, but is also flexible enough to easily accommodate new product characteristics."
Kiva's approach to order fulfillment utilizes a fleet of mobile robotic drive units that bring inventory directly to workers, allowing easy and efficient access to all inventory at all times, says company officials. For e-commerce fulfillment, which demands single-order accuracy and speed, Kiva boosts order productivity and maintains high picking standards, they say. This approach is also applied to completed orders, ensuring that the right order is delivered to the right dock door at the right time. Elimination of operator walking and waiting time enables worker productivity that is two to three times higher than with other automated systems, according to Kiva.
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