Robotics & Automation News

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Berkshire Grey secures $23 million order for grocery picking robots

Berkshire Grey, a provider of robotic solutions that automate supply chain processes, has secured a $23 million multi-phase order with a global retailer for online same day grocery fulfillment.

The Berkshire Grey Intelligent Enterprise Robotics (IER) solutions robotically pick grocery items from inventory and pack the items into customer bags to fill orders that are placed online and via mobile apps.

Berkshire Grey’s robotic solutions can operate back-of-store, putting the operation close to current shoppers for rapid pickup and delivery, and in larger dedicated fulfillment and distribution centers.

Berkshire Grey solutions support order-online-pickup-at-store, order-online-be-delivered-to-by-store, and similar models which are important high growth models in the grocery and convenience segments.

According to the USDA, consumers in the US spend around $1.7 trillion annually on food and groceries, and nearly 52 percent of the US population are expected to be digital grocery buyers by 2022, according to Insider Intelligence. Robotically filling these online and mobile app orders is an important enabler for grocers.

Retailers must both continue their brick-and-mortar operations plus service and support rapid fulfillment of these online orders. With Berkshire Grey’s IER solutions, robots can pick individual grocery items from inventory, pack grocery bags with items, and move and organize inventory as well as move and organize filled orders.

The automation allows businesses to operate 24/7 to support their customer’s evolving buying habits and transform operations in distribution centers, back-of-store, and stand-alone micro-fulfillment facilities.

Back-of-store automation also enables store employees to continue to provide high-quality service to traditional store customers even while the store supports the new online order streams.

This is particularly important in the wake of the pandemic which accelerated the growth of e-commerce for the grocery industry.

Kevin Prouty, VP IDC, says: “The grocery industry is challenged to rethink the future of their supply chains to better meet customer needs, especially as digital grocery buying becomes more habitual than trial.

“Grocery, convenience, and food distribution companies must increase operational agility needed to meet continuously changing end customers’ needs. By implementing robotic automation into their operations, companies can get a leg up against their competitors. Companies like Berkshire Grey can potentially transform the retail supply chain to meet the increasing pressure to better align operations with customer demands.”

Pete Allen, general manager of grocery and convenience at Berkshire Grey, says: “Ordering groceries online became a habit for many during Covid-19. Driven by this and the convenience of online ordering, our customers need rapid fulfillment of online orders done in an efficient way to meet a range of consumer demands – at the same time our customers need to ensure that the right goods are always on the right shelves at the right times in the store.

“Berkshire Grey’s IER grocery picking solutions provide the grocery industry with the speed and scalability that customers demand while positioning grocers to boost margins and capitalize on the continued changes in the market.”

Berkshire Grey solutions enable grocers to expand their capabilities and align with today’s consumer expectations, contributing to topline growth and operational efficiencies.

The solutions support same day back-of-store fulfillment for brick-and-mortar retail locations, distribution center fulfillment for both individual consumer orders and for store replenishment, and support micro and nano-fulfillment center operations typically found in urban locations.

The systems handle a broad range of items and can support conventional grocery items such as produce and cereal as well as convenience items like snacks, soda, and toiletries. Berkshire Grey offers a variety of purchase options for its solutions, including a Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS) option.

The RaaS option allows customers to implement Berkshire Grey’s transformative technology without large, up-front capital expenditures typically required under conventional purchase models.

On February 24, 2021, Berkshire Grey entered into a definitive agreement with Revolution Acceleration Acquisition Corp that is expected to result in Berkshire Grey becoming a publicly listed company early in the third quarter of 2021, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including approval by the stockholders of Revolution Acceleration Acquisition Corp.

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