Mick Mountz: What happens inside those massive warehouses?
Mick Mountz - CEO, Kiva Systems
Mick Mountz is the founder and CEO of Kiva Systems, making high-tech products for fast, cheap and efficient inventory fulfillment. In March 2012, Kiva was acquired by Amazon. Full bio
breakthrough new approach
inventory inside of a warehouse.
pack and ship setting here.
hundreds of mobile robots,
of mobile robots,
And I'll get to the solution.
you ordered something online.
on your couch
absolutely had to have this red t-shirt.
into your shopping cart.
that green pair of pants
pair of shoes — click!
assembled your order.
for a moment that
shows up on your doorstep.
like, wow, there's my goo.
how those items of inventory
that box in the warehouse?
it's that guy right there.
middle of that picture,
order fulfillments setting.
spend 60 or 70 percent of their day
as much as 5 or 10 miles
those items of inventory.
unproductive way to fill orders,
unfulfilling way to fill orders.
first bumped into this problem.
in '99, 2000, the dot com boom.
spectacular flame-out called Webvan.
millions of dollars with the notion that
grocery orders online.
that we couldn't do it cost effectively.
that was very hard and very costly.
to assemble 30 items of inventory
to deliver to the home.
it was costing us 30 dollars.
89¢ can of soup
pick and pack into that tote.
tried to deliver it to the home.
during my one year at Webvan,
all the material-handling providers
specifically to solve each base picking.
those three things in a box.
got to be a better way to do this.
was set up to pump
goo to retail stores.
and about a year and a half later,
It was still nagging at me.
thinking about it again.
on what I wanted as a pick worker,
how it should work.
on the problem.
I want to do is I want to put
in this box right here.
my hand and — poof! —
and I pack it into the order,
approach to solving the problem.
is available to solve this problem?
and go, products can come and go.
pick worker the center of the problem,
them as productive as possible.
arrive at this notion?
a brainstorming exercise,
that many of you use,
testing your ideas.
at the limits — infinity, zero.
challenged ourselves with the idea:
distribution center in China,
very low-cost market?
land is cheap.
an hour for direct labor
square-foot distribution center?"
led to ideas that said,
in the warehouse."
zero dollars per hour,
warehouse every morning at 8 a.m.,
pick up one item of inventory
you hold the Mountain Dew,
otherwise just stand there.
you guys talk amongst yourselves.
pick it, put it in the tote, away it goes."
could walk and talk on their own?
very powerful way
organize this warehouse.
labor isn't free,
versus awesome spectrum.
We'll put them on mobile shelving.
we'll move the inventory around.
then I'm sitting on my couch in 2008.
Olympics, the opening ceremonies?
couch when I saw this.
the warehouse floor, the stadium floor.
actually relates to the idea
incredibly powerful, impressive digital art,
coordination and communication.
I'll squat down.
some fabulous art.
power of emergence
start to talk with each other.
bit of the journey.
the practical reality of this idea?
that has about 10,000 different SKUs.
green pens, yellow Post-It Notes.
out to pick up the blue shelving pods.
to the side of the building.
get to stay on the perimeter.
to pick up the shelves,
deliver them straight to the pick worker.
is completely different.
the warehouse, she gets to stay still
building can now come to her.
is very productive.
scan the bar code, pack it out.
you turn around,
ready to be picked and packed.
out all of the non-value added
wasting, waited time,
high-fidelity way to pick these orders,
a laser, scan the UPC barcode,
which box it needs to go into.
accurate and, it turns out,
environment for these pick workers.
the whole order.
not just a part of the order.
in control of their environment.
of this approach
to be more productive.
pervasive this way of thinking
functions in the warehouse.
is doing inside of the DC
parallel processing engine.
cross-fertilization of ideas.
and we're thinking about
the right side of the screen
autonomous pick workers.
to leave and go to the bathroom,
productivity of the other nine workers.
traditional method of using a conveyor.
passes the order to you,
and pass it downstream.
for that serial process to work.
way to think about the warehouse.
interesting in that we're tracking
of the products.
and adaptive algorithms
of the warehouse.
the week leading up to Valentine's Day.
moved to the front of the building
lot of orders in those pick stations.
and that candy, the leftover candy,
back of the warehouse
zone on the thermal map there.
approach using the parallel processing
scale to ginormous.
two pick stations, 20 pick stations,
path planning algorithms
algorithms just work.
see that the inventory
perimeter of the building
the pick stations were.
out for themselves.
just one final video
this comes to bear
day in the life of.
to move inventory along the highway
into these pick stations.
in each station,
across the highway
get into a queuing system
to the pick worker.
adapt the speed of the pick workers.
and the slower pickers get few.
literally having that experience
The product jumps into it.
she puts it in the bucket.
is kind of behind the scenes.
picking and packing portion of her job.
never has to leave her mat.
not only a more productive
way to fill orders.
fulfilling way to fill orders.
that, though, is that workers
buildings now compete
in the Kiva zone that day.
them on testimonial videos
day to play with their grandchildren,
Kiva zone is so stress-free
my blood pressure medication."
so they told us not to use that video.
with today is the notion that
to think and walk
processes and productivities can emerge.
you go to your front step
you just ordered online,
the goo is in there,
as to whether a robot
and packing of that order.
About the speaker:Mick Mountz - CEO, Kiva Systems
Mick Mountz is the founder and CEO of Kiva Systems, making high-tech products for fast, cheap and efficient inventory fulfillment. In March 2012, Kiva was acquired by Amazon.
Why you should listen
With the growing popularity of online shopping, Mick Mountz and his company are finding ways to make picking, packing and shipping those purchases a flexible and inexpensive process. He first began working on this hidden challenge while at Webvan, an online grocer. In 2003, he took his experience there and founded Kiva systems, a company whose innovative solutions have led to it being listed by Inc. as one of the fastest growing companies.
In March 2012, Kiva was acquired by Amazon for $775 million.
Mick Mountz | Speaker | TED.com