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Kiva to automate Von Maur eCommerce Fulfillment Center
Apr '10
Kiva Systems, a developer of game-changing mobile-robotic solutions that automate order fulfillment and warehouse operations, announced that Von Maur Incorporated has purchased a Kiva Mobile-robotic Fulfillment System for its Davenport, Iowa distribution center. The Kiva System will be used for order fulfillment of its entire Internet retail operation. The project will go fully operational in early fall, in time to fulfill orders for the 2010 holiday season.

Family-owned and operated, Von Maur has more than two dozen upscale department stores in nine Midwestern states, offering its customers amenities including an interest-free credit card, free gift wrapping and free shipping within the U.S. In recent years, Von Maur's online direct-to-consumer business has grown rapidly. A key reason for selecting the Kiva order fulfillment system is its ability to accommodate this rapid growth in both volume and merchandise variety.

“With Kiva Systems, Von Maur takes the truly unique customer experience that our customers have grown to appreciate in our stores and extends it to our online business,” said Melody Westendorf, chief operating officer, Von Maur Incorporated. “We considered manual processes and conveyor automation, but only a Kiva system delivers the ultra-fast cycle time that our customers want and the accuracy that they expect, along with a process that ensures that they are never disappointed by stock-outs. And only Kiva offers the flexibility we need to adapt to fast changes in our marketplace.”

Kiva's innovative approach to order fulfillment uses hundreds of mobile robotic drive units that bring inventory on movable shelves directly to workers, allowing easy and efficient access to all inventory items at all times. Elimination of operator walking and waiting enables worker productivity that is two- to four-times higher than with other automated systems. What's more, because all the system components are mobile and modular, a Kiva-equipped distribution center has unprecedented flexibility when adding new products or expanding throughput—without disrupting ongoing operations.

Kiva believes that for Internet retailers, the fulfillment center is the store, and the Kiva Mobile-robotic Fulfillment System is a strategic advantage that transforms the fulfillment center into a truly optimized, competitive asset. Internet retail fulfillment has unique demands for perfect order accuracy and speed. The Kiva approach is ideal for eCommerce fulfillment, allowing orders to flow directly from the Internet to the warehouse floor for immediate pick, pack and ship. In addition, Internet retail fulfillment has to be able to handle the 'long tail' business models that are built on making available a wider variety of merchandise than conventional retailers. Kiva's unique architecture makes it particularly well suited to wide merchandise assortments, and is flexible enough that new merchandise types can be picked and packed using virtually the same equipment.

“For four generations, Von Maur has built its business on superior customer experience, customer service and attention to details. One result has been the extraordinary loyalty of Von Maur customers,” said Mick Mountz, founder and CEO of Kiva Systems. “Kiva maintains the same customer-focused approach in delivering our uniquely flexible, scalable order fulfillment solutions. Like Von Maur, we consider superior service to be an essential element of our game-changing value.”

Kiva Systems

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