by Jim Harrison
What do you do when the CEO wants you to build a delivery system for pretty much anything that will fit in a box – a really big box? It has to be accurate and deliver in a timely fashion – and you’re going to do next day deliveries to millions of customers.
That’s the challenge faced by the engineers of Amazon.com’s warehouses or, as Amazon calls them, fulfillment centers. With 47 fulfillment centers and nearly 18 million square feet of warehouse space worldwide, Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer.
This site has some good information and a couple of videos showing the results of the 2011 system design: http://singularityhub.com/2011/04/28/an-inside-look-into-the-amazon-com-warehouses-video/
And, in late March (2012) Amazon bouught up its waarhouse automation company. The robotic warehouse control company Kiva announced that it had been purchased by Amazon for $775 million. Kiva sells a fully robotic system dear to Amazon’s heart – that is if it has a heart.