Some third-party logistics companies specialize in a particular industry. Others focus on certain types of service offerings or geographic coverage. Now, a new 3PL has come along with a unique angle—what you might call the "Look Ma, (almost) no hands" approach to order fulfillment.
Quiet Logistics, which announced its launch at ProMat 2009, is building its service offerings around Kiva Systems' Mobile Fulfillment System. Kiva's solution uses robots to bring items on movable shelves to warehouse workers for receiving, picking, and shipping. Quiet Logistics says it can provide order fulfillment, returns processing, and other services for considerably less than its competitors can because it doesn't need costly automated conveyors or sortation systems. Furthermore, since inventory comes to the workers rather than the other way around, fewer people are needed than in traditional setups.
How did the 3PL get its unusual name? Kiva's little orange robots produce a quiet hum as they zip around the DC floor. And with no noisy conveyors or forklifts, said Quiet Logistics CEO Bruce Welty at a press conference, his company's facility will be downright peaceful compared to most DCs.