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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

Robotics automates Crate & Barrel fulfilment

Wednesday January 4 2012

Mobile-robotics innovation runs e-commerce fulfilment engine

Mobile-robotics innovation runs e-commerce fulfilment engine


Crate & Barrel, a multichannel retailer known for its innovative products, European styles and trendy home furnishings, is using a Mobile-Robotic Fulfilment System from Kiva at its e-commerce distribution centre (DC) in California, US.


The retailer has more than 110 stores, but its e-commerce website is exclusively responsible for nearly one third of the company’s total business and represents an important growth opportunity for the company.


Matching fulfilment requirements


But the Kiva system enables Crate & Barrel to get product to the customer faster, more efficiently and with a better overall experience.


Unlike conveyer and other automation, Kiva offered Crate & Barrel the ability to buy only the equipment necessary to support current volumes with the flexibility and peace of mind in knowing that the system could easily expand as their business grows.


With Kiva, the mundane and physical aspect of each Crate & Barrel staff member's day has also been replaced with high volume pick rates and a greater focus on the product and the customer, where the California DC now performs six times more productively than its original operation.


Enabling great value delivery


“Our customers expect to get great value and service from Crate & Barrel, but they also care about our carbon footprint. This played a role in our selection of Kiva Systems,” said John Ling, vice president of supply chain management and logistics at Crate & Barrel.


“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.”