Luxury Brand Milly Implements Robotic Order Fulfillment

Milly has gone robotic. The luxury apparel and accessories brand in late March implemented a robotic order fulfillment system through Quiet Logistics. The automated robotic technology will assist Milly in fulfilling online orders more accurately and efficiently while reducing costs.

Milly sells primarily through department and specialty stores worldwide, but it opened an online store in March. The company wanted a robotic order fulfillment system to support its online expansion, says Alison Bergen, manager of business development at Milly.

“We found the costing to be very competitive due to the piece meal nature of the pricing structure and implementation of robotics,” Bergen says, though she would not provide specifics on costs.

How does the robotic order fulfillment work?

Quiet Logistics offers the first implementation of the Kiva Systems robotic material handling and inventory control system in a third party logistics model, Bergen explains. Traditional material handling systems require human travel time to fixed inventory locations and repeated handling by multiple warehouse workers.

The Kiva mobile fulfillment concept brings inventory to workers “in a massively parallel automated workflow,” she says. “Warehouse workers remain in fixed locations on the periphery of the inventory storage area and the human touch points are reduced to a single handling of inventory at time of order fulfillment.”

Inventory and order information are communicated electronically through standard interfaces to Quiet Logistics’ warehouse management system. Quiet Logistics’ system accepts the order, initiates the robotic material handling system and otherwise controls the whole of the fulfillment process, including the selection and use of packing material and the supporting shipping process.

The Kiva system manages the picking process, including a critical scan to validate that the proper product has been picked for the any given order, Bergen says. “The reduction in human touch points in combination with strong system controls produces nearly 100% order accuracy.”

Bergen estimates Milly will save 30 cents per order using the new robotic system. “I think the main benefit is the accuracy,” she notes. “I haven’t seen a single incorrect order go out the door yet.”

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