Drugstore.com plans to deploy a robotic solution to automate order fulfillment for health, beauty and general merchandise items, enabling same-day shipments and increased operational efficiency.


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Drugstore.com eyes 'one-step' order fulfillment

February 15th, 2011

NORTH READING, Mass. – Drugstore.com plans to deploy a robotic solution to automate order fulfillment for health, beauty and general merchandise items, enabling same-day shipments and increased operational efficiency.

Warehouse automation provider Kiva Systems said Tuesday that its mobile robotic solution will handle a wide range of products for drugstore.com, including cosmetics, toys, vitamins, hair and skin care, natural supplements, food, fitness gear, baby items and pet supplies. Kiva reported that the online retailer offers more than 50,000 nonprescription items.

Kiva's system will allow drugstore.com to process orders for all categories of merchandise using a unified and enhanced workflow. The company said its solution can quickly and accurately process single and multi-line orders for any items at any time without batching or waving, enabling those orders can be picked within minutes of customers completing their online shopping transactions.

"The Kiva automation solution will enable us to handle a wide variety of products in a very efficient manner. This highly accurate, one-step order fulfillment process easily integrates with our existing technology," Jon Axelsson, vice president of supply chain at drugstore.com, said in a statement. "We considered more traditional material handling options, but we were impressed by this system's unique abilities."

Axelsson cited the Kiva system's rapid order processing and ability to handle diverse merchandise. "As we continue to expand operations, these units can scale to accommodate growth and also easily relocate to support the needs of the supply chain," he commented.

The Kiva solution uses fleets of robotic drive units that bring inventory on mobile shelving pods directly to workers, allowing easier and more efficient access to all inventory items at all times, according to the company. Unlike traditional automation such as conveyor, carousel, AS/RS, or A-Frames, Kiva can handle products of all shapes and sizes and automatically brings products to operators exactly when needed.

"Drugstore.com's breadth of products and first-class customer service are a hit with consumers," stated Kiva Systems president and chief operating officer Amy Villeneuve. "We are proud to be the foundation of its fulfillment operations, helping deliver that paramount selection and service into the future."

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