The Secrets of Fulfillment Warehouses

Our latest TED talk showcase has Mick Mountz taking you inside the mysterious world of massive fulfillment warehouses. Mountz is  the founder of fulfillment robotics company Kiva, later acquired by Amazon and is now  the head of Amazon Robotics.

Mountz introduces a new approach for managing inventory in warehouses using hundreds or thousands of mobile robots in a pick, pack, and ship setting. He explains the inefficiencies of traditional pick-pack workers, who spend 60-70% of their day wandering around the warehouse.

Mountz shares his journey of developing this new approach, starting with a brainstorming exercise that tested his ideas at the limits of infinity and zero. He explains how the system works by using mobile shelving and robots to move inventory around and deliver them straight to pick workers, resulting in a more productive and accurate way to fill orders.

The side effects of this approach include turning the warehouse into a massively parallel processing engine, using adaptive algorithms to tune the floor of the warehouse, and the ability to scale the system to any size. The speaker concludes by emphasizing the importance of letting things start to think, walk, and talk on their own, as interesting processes and productivity can emerge.

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