Kiva Cuts the Ribbon on New Facility in Massachusetts
By Ann Grackin
on Jun 7, 2011
With so much talk about off-shoring, it's nice to see a company creating jobs and building facilities in the US. The US, overall, has seen an increase of 9% in output and a 13% job recovery in the manufacturing sector. Firms like Kiva Systems support that positive trend.
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A big crowd gathered at Kiva Systems to attend a great event—the ribbon cutting for their new facility. Robots waited impatiently for Mick Mountz, Founder and CEO, to show them off to the diverse audience of manufacturers, academics, investors, cutomers, partners and the press.
This is a great moment for Kiva and for Massachusetts. Kiva Systems, founded in 2003, was the brain child of Mick and his team. It was formed as an attempt, and a sucessful one at that, to address the changing world of retail fulfillment. Kiva focuses on the consumer fulfillment process. (You can see the video of Mick talking about that here.)
Mick contrasted Kiva’s technology and approach with high-volume pallet shipment. Decades ago, there was no ecommerce shopping when the previous generation of fulfillment systems like conveyors were developed. Customers today fill their “e-shopping basket” with one, or maybe dozens of “one-each” items. Picking these one-each items in a large warehouse can be difficult to scale and it’s equally difficult to assure a perfect order.
Amy Villeneuve, President and COO, gave us an overview of the size and performance capabilities for the new 160,000 square foot facility which houses manufacturing, technology innovation, and other corporate funcations. She also gave us an idea of the atmosphere and pace of the organization. (That's Amy and Mick, below.)
Masachusetts, Mick said, is a great place to have a business. A firm like Kiva calls upon the talents of employees with a wide range of skills, from manufacuting process employees to PhDs in hardware and software engineering who develop advance technologies. He finds the talent here to create Kiva’s patented innovations.
More great news for the state is Kiva’s growth. Mick mentioned that in 2009, the trough of the recent economic downturn, Kiva had a record year. They knew, then, that they were headed for great things. Last year Kiva hired over 100 employees and was cash positive. This year Kiva plans to hire another 100 and, at the same time, achieve profitablity.
Although Kiva does have to import some of the components for their robots and workstations, all the assembly and testing is done here. However, they do export their solutions—to four countries thus far. Being a global exporter is great news for the US and great news for Kiva. With great client case studies, a great team, and this new capability, they are poised for big things on the world stage.
To view other articles from this issue of the brief, click here.