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New robotics company Berkshire Grey aims to ‘transform’ supply chains

A new robotics company is aiming to “transform omnichannel fulfillment”, or material handling in supply chains.

Berkshire Grey, which emerged from stealth mode this week, says it has been applying “game-changing” artificial intelligence-enabled robotics solutions at Global 100 retailers and logistics companies to transform omnichannel fulfillment.

Customers are deploying intelligent robotic systems that automate tasks never before performed by machines in commercial settings. 

Through leading-edge technologies in artificial intelligence, computer vision, machine learning, novel sensing, and robotics, Berkshire Grey says its systems are “revolutionizing pick, pack and sort operations for omnichannel, e-commerce, retail replenishment, and logistics”.

Consumers expect frictionless omnichannel experiences from retail brands. That requires fast and efficient product picking, packing and sorting in fulfillment operations.

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Berkshire Grey robot in warehouse

Even the best operators are challenged to cost-effectively ship customer orders directly to homes and businesses, pull orders for in-store pickup, provide superior inventory selection, ensure proper in-stock levels at physical retail locations, and efficiently sort eCommerce parcels.

When you add the labor availability issues that traditional retailers, pure-play eCommerce companies, and logistics enterprises are struggling with, it becomes clear that intelligent automation is poised to address fundamental market issues.

Berkshire Grey changes the playing field with a set of complete robotic solutions, ready to deploy into existing operations, that other automation solutions cannot match.

Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures – on of Berkshire Grey’s investors, says: “Berkshire Grey assembled an amazing team that builds incredible intelligent robotic solutions for world-class customers.

“AI and Robotics are revolutionizing supply chains, and Berkshire Grey is at the leading- edge of this step change for retailers, eCommerce companies and logistics providers.

“They are solving real challenges right now with commercial grade technology that is light years ahead of the competition.”

Berkshire Grey’s solutions automatically pick, pack and sort individual items, inner packs, cases, and parcels for eCommerce and store replenishment orders.

The technology achieves higher accuracy and throughput speeds than traditional approaches. Berkshire Grey systems handle the broadest assortment of products, packaging and parcels – all while continuously improving performance through autonomous learning.

Berkshire Grey’s customers typically optimize picking labor costs in break pack and eCommerce operations by 70 percent to 80 percent and improve throughput by 25 percent to 35 percent.

Tom Wagner, the company’s CEO, says: “Our core technology is strong, our customers are leaning in, and our business is on a major growth trajectory.

“The time is right to emerge from stealth in order to drive that growth forward and attract additional top tier talent to augment the unmatched team we have in place today.”

Prior to coming together at Berkshire Grey, team members designed and produced robotic products that meet rigid industrial and military specifications, obtained FDA approval for precision robotic systems and consistently delivered customer value.

Collectively, BG knows how to create real-world products that incorporate leading-edge technology and operate in challenging environments.

The technical team is unmatched in the automation industry with broad experience in robotics, artificial intelligence, and other forms of engineering.

The team’s background includes over 25 commercial products and product revenue in the billions – revenue generated by producing value for customers.

Berkshire Grey’s investors include Khosla Venters, New Enterprise Associates, Canaan Partners, and others such as Jeff Immelt. The company plans to announce multiple customers in 2019.