On Monday Seattle based Amazon.com announced the company was buying Kiva Systems, a Massachusetts mobile robotics company, to increase productivity across Amazon’s vast fulfillment centers where Amazon merchandise is shipped each day.
Amazon is paying $775 million in cash for all of Kiva’s outstanding shares. The acquisition is expected to close during the second quarter of 2012, according to a released statement.
Kiva Fulfillment System employs hundreds of low-cost mobile robots to bring inventory shelving pods directly to warehouse operators, resulting in triple the number of orders picked up per hour per person.
The Kiva robots zoom across the warehouse floor locating the requested inventory before transporting them to Amazon workers who pack and ship the selected items.
Kiva’s robots have already been learning the Amazon way of doing things while working at two online companies that Amazon.com acquired: Zappos.com and Diapers.com.
The efficient robots also work at other non-Amazon retail distribution centers such as Staples, Crate and Barrel, and Gap.
“Amazon has long used automation in its fulfillment centers, and Kiva’s technology is another way to improve productivity by bringing the products directly to employees to pick, pack and stow,” said Dave Clark – Amazon’s VP of global customer fulfillment.
A spokeswoman from the retail company said that Amazon won’t be eliminating any jobs as a result of the Kiva acquisition.
In 2011 Amazon announced that it built 17 new fulfillment centers, increasing the total to 69.
Amazon plans to continue spending money to build more fulfillment centers across more U.S. states this year to keep up with growing demand for e-commerce at Amazon.com.