System Overview

Kiva automated material handling systems consist of several components. The robotic drive units (bots), mobile inventory shelves (pods), and software are unique to Kiva Systems. The complete material handling solution includes work stations configured to fit customer requirements, a wireless network and a server-based back end system. All of these are deployed within a distribution center and the final pieces are the human operators who pick, pack and ship orders using the automated system. The components are combined to support critical distribution center operations. From replenishment to picking, QC auditing, order sortation, and shipping preparation, Kiva's approach to material handling automation is truly innovative.

Elements of a Kiva System

Kiva is the ultimate goods-to-man (goods-to-person) automation system. Instead of being stored in static shelving, flow racks or carousels, products are stored in mobile inventory pods in the center of the warehouse while operators stand at inventory stations around the perimeter. When an order is received, robotic drive units retrieve the appropriate pods and bring them to the worker, who picks out the appropriate item and places it in the order container. Completed orders are stored on separate pods, ready to get up and move to the loading dock when the truck arrives.

Why Kiva is Better

Increase Productivity - At least double the output per worker over other solutions.

Lower Cost - The Kiva solution has lower installation and operational costs than traditional warehouse automation systems.

Increase Flexibility - The Kiva solution adapts to changes in product types, product velocities, order prioritization, and other operational realities. This is not possible with traditional AS/RS equipment.

Improve Worker Safety - Work injuries can be costly. Customers tell us the Kiva automated storage and retrieval system reduces worker fatigue and results in less injuries to order selectors because bending and stretching at the pick stations is limited and the amount of walking required is minimal.

Boost Order Accuracy - Pick-to-light, put-to-light, barcode scanning, and a quiet work environment combined with a process that enables individual selectors to pick complete orders delivers world-class order accuracy.

Add Capacity Quickly - Kiva is based around one simple set of automated storage and retrieval equipment that is mobile and not bolted down. Kiva is easy to design and install, which means it takes weeks instead of months to get a new distribution center installed.

Features of Kiva Solutions

The Kiva solution goes beyond traditional automated storage and retrieval systems to deliver breakthrough performance by solving many order fulfillment challenges simultaneously.

Fast Picking - The operator is presented with a new pick face location every six seconds, as if they had infinite pick face density with zero walking.

High Volume Order Picking - Some Kiva customers pick 100,000's of lines per day in a single facility using the Kiva order fulfillment system.

Rapid Installation - Starting with blank concrete or mezzanine and a few electrical outlets, installation can take as little as two weeks.

Real-time Orders - Orders drop instantly to the operator without the delay of waves or batches, reducing cycle time to minutes.

High Accuracy - Every item can be verified by scanning the bar code or comparison to a photo, thereby reducing errors and eliminating the need for a separate QC function.

High Storage Density - Configurable pods, trays, and bins, no forklift aisles, and complete vertical use of the facility using mezzanines means higher product density than existing solutions.

Modular Expansion - Add inventory pods and drive units to increase throughput during peak season or expand an existing facility as the market grows. The complex construction associated with traditional AS/RS installations is not required.

Inline Sortation - Products and orders are automatically sorted during processing, enabling "pick to plan-o-gram" within an order and sequential truck loading.

High Reliability - With parallel equipment and no single point of failure, the Kiva warehouse automation system surpasses traditional solutions for uptime even zero downtime in 24 by 7 operations.

Simultaneous Picking and Replenishment - Replenishment and picking can proceed at the same time with full productivity, allowing reduced days-on-hand of inventory.

Built-in Productivity Monitoring - Operators are independent and their output can be measured at any time.

Single Process - All items - fast and slow, large and small - are picked with a simple pick to-light-process.

Zero Re-slotting - Items are dynamically assigned to the best available location for storage and retrieval, which means that there is no need for profiling or re-slotting.