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The use of the Kiva mobile robot in fulfillment centers teaches those in healthcare a lot about complexity.

The Kiva robot is used to bring products to packers in a fulfillment center. Usually the packers walk for miles. This is more efficient. The robots bring the shelves and products to the packers. There is an immediate return on investment for the company.

Man Working

When installing a new material handling system in a fulfillment center, the customer will engage a consultant who engages several vendors to build the pieces, a software provider to provide the control system, a systems integrator to try to glue it all together and 3rd party maintenance to keep everything running. This is how healthcare operates.

The challenge with this old approach is that whenever success depends on the interrelated contributions of multiple parties, you have a “N” squared problem: The coordination complexity rises dramatically with each additional party. Everyone spends more energy on unproductive conversation, finger pointing and follow-up to get the system live and solve the customer’s problems. (Harvard Business Review, Kiva The Disrupter, Dec 2012).

The solve this coordination complexity problem, Kiva, the disruptive technology company, has everyone play a role in the customer experience. Kiva is structured to reflect the steps involved in it. Kiva refers to the departments by their role in the process: Tell It, Sell It. Design It, Build It, Deploy It and Support It. This action oriented work flow results in smooth handoffs and a happy customer.  The Kiva account manager is there from start to finish to ensure a smooth installation.

Managing the entire customer experience offers one final benefit: It is the best route to continuous improvement. The solution can evolve. Kiva is based on intelligent software that will continue to improve over time.

Healthcare can learn a lot from Mick Mountz, the industry disrupter, and his team at Kiva Systems.