Crate and Barrel employs robotic order-fulfillment system at DC

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Woburn, Mass. Kiva Systems, a developer of mobile-robotic solutions that automate order fulfillment and warehouse operations, announced that Crate and Barrel has purchased a Kiva system for its distribution complex in Tracy, Calif. The center, which will fulfill direct-to-consumer orders and improve service levels in 13 western states, is the largest industrial facility in the country to achieve Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program.

“Our customers expect to get great value and service from Crate and Barrel, but they also care about our carbon footprint,” said John Ling, VP supply chain management and logistics, Crate and Barrel, Chicago. “This played a role in our selection of Kiva Systems. “Kiva’s mobile robotic approach is not only the most cost-effective way to automate pick, pack and ship operations, but also the greenest. The robots themselves are energy efficient, plus the entire robot zone can be operated with almost no lighting.”

Kiva’s order-fulfillment system uses hundreds of mobile robotic drive units that bring inventory directly to workers, which allows efficient access to available inventory items at all times. Elimination of walking and waiting enables worker productivity that is two-to-four times higher than with other automated systems, according to Kiva.

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