After electronically ordering a shredder for your files following a pivot and a case of bottled water to wash away lessons learned, you may have set in motion one of Mick Mountz’s Roomba like robots to fetch the items for you in a warehouse that uses his Kiva Systems technology. The interconnected hardware and software package is designed to streamline the process of picking, packing and shipping e-commerce products for delivery.
A former Webvan employee, Mountz saw an opening to create efficiency after noticing warehouses were geared towards transporting bulk items of similar products to retail stores, but not designed “to get one red, one green and one blue in a box.”
Utilizing his system, robots scurry about the floor locating individual items before transporting them to workers who pack and ship. Mountz claims the process accounts for “two-to-four times as many orders per hour as they have done the old way” (dispatching workers to find products) and says over the “last couple of years we have been growing at over 100% a year.” Average price per system? $5-million dollars.
Below, Mountz describes how Kiva’s software communicates with the robots. In essence, “we have a wireless wifi conversation with call it thousands of robots in the warehouse and they are checking in with the host system for path planning and route management instructions, and just job instructions in general.”
Scroll to about 2:25 in the second video to see the robots in action and make sure to check out the entire clip for additional insights.
Past videos of Founder Stories featuring Eric Ries, Alexis Ohanian, David Karp, Kevin Ryan, Drew Houston and many other founders are here.
Episode II of this interview is coming up.