If you want a glimpse of the future supply chain that’s already happening (with robots and tons of cool automation), then you have to check out this video of Zappos.com‘s warehouse and fulfillment facility.
There are many interesting statistics to take away from watching this, but this one should be the most eye-opening: Using their non-Kiva-enabled order-management processes, Zappos.com can fulfill an order in as little time as 48 minutes or as long as three and a half hours. With the Kiva system: 12 minutes. Every time.
AMR Research’s chief research officer, Bruce Richardson, offers an excellent overview and analysis of Zappos.com’s supply chain operations. And he also describes the Kiva robots perfectly: “The robots look like oversized, orange Roombas, the vacuum cleaning machines made by iRobot,” Richardson writes. “They operate in a state of perpetual motion, delivering a never-ending queue of orders for the picker.”