Berkshire Grey: Advanced Robotics for Omnichannel Fulfillment

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Modern consumers increasingly demand the ability to buy anything, anytime from anywhere and get those things quickly. This challenges every retail supply chain. Despite this growing demand, retailers continue to manage their backend operations using legacy approaches that strain product delivery and availability. Manually-driven and traditional automation supported order fulfillment is too slow and inefficient to keep pace with today’s consumer expectations. To get the right product to the right place at the right time, retailers need advanced robotics that can overhaul their distribution operations.

Based outside Boston, Berkshire Grey (BG) offers diverse, AI-enabled robotic technologies that transform omnichannel fulfillment operations. “Supported by AI and machine learning systems, BG’s robotic picking solutions pick hundreds of thousands of different products to assemble eCommerce and store replenishment orders,” says Pete Blair, VP of Marketing at BG. The solutions combine an array of sensors, computer vision, and novel gripping technologies to autonomously pick an incredible variety of items from apparel to toys to electronics and more. Additionally, these robotic solutions integrate with pre-existing distribution infrastructure and workflows, making them an easy and viable upgrade for most warehouses.

Whether retail distribution centers employ conveyor systems, automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS), or manual order picking processes, BG’s robotic picking solutions fit in to pick items with high efficiency. There are several solutions in BG’s portfolio. Some are conveyor integrated. Others make use of the company’s flexible mobile robots to convey and sequence both inventory and orders. The mobile robotic solution handles various totes simultaneously, while its integration with the customers’ warehouse management systems (WMS) allows easy prioritization of orders, allowing faster order completion. Besides completing orders for store replenishment and e-commerce, the solution is well suited to support order-online-pickup-in-store needs as well.

How do they work? The picking robots rely on software that uses computer vision, sensors, and machine learning to see the items in front of them and make decisions about the best way to handle them. As the systems work, they learn and store that knowledge in the cloud. When presented with unknown items or changes to the environment, BG’s robots determine the best way to react in real-time.

Our intelligent robotic solutions pick individual items to automate omnichannel fulfillment in ways never before performed by machines in commercial settings

“We understand the real-world challenges of working with product data. We expect item data to be incomplete, inaccurate, or missing. We designed our systems to quickly learn about new products as they see them and adapt to the situation,” says Pete. “Through actual use, our systems constantly learn and get better at handling products, both known and unknown, which makes them especially suited to perform in cluttered and dynamic environments,” adds Blair.

A Berkshire Grey solution is integrated with a customer’s conveyor-based distribution operations. The customer’s automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) delivers totes of items to BG’s robotic picking solution, and each robot picks 30 orders simultaneously. As orders complete, they automatically move from the BG solution to shipping areas in another part of the facility while new order containers are continuously and automatically added to the pick line. Multiple systems deployed in parallel complete hundreds of orders in a short time. Without any human intervention, orders for store replenishment and eCommerce are picked, sorted, and completed with speed and accuracy.

The company envisions the transition of warehouse operations from ‘person-to-goods’ and ‘goods-to-person’ workflows to scalable, reliable ‘goods-to-robot’ operations. To that end, BG provides continual support to its existing customers and plans to introduce more inventive solutions that make use of its core picking technology in the future.

Berkshire Grey

Lexington, Massachusetts

Fionna Jeff, CFO

At Berkshire Grey, our game-changing solutions combine AI and Robotics to automate omni-channel fulfillment for retailers, eCommerce, and logistics enterprises serving today’s connected consumers.By transforming pick, pack and sort operations, our technology is a fundamental engine of change that moves you forward