Robotic store replenishment

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

BOSTON – Berkshire Grey’s next generation Robotic Store Replenishment (RSR) solution is now generally available for retail customers.

The robotic picking solution automates break pack operations where eaches, inner packs, and less-than-case quantities are picked and shipped in customer specified containers to stores where associates re-stock shelves. Berkshire Grey customers are using RSR solutions today to pick millions of items in production operations, and typical payback periods are three years or less for operators.

The RSR is part of Berkshire Grey’s portfolio of omni-channel fulfillment solutions which also include robotic e-commerce fulfillment, robotic induction for traditional sortation, and robotic parcel sortation systems. The RSR can run for all shifts on demand and can support rapid scaling of operations to support high demand periods.

The RSR solution is integrated into standard distribution processes with the robotic systems often working side-by-side with manual break-pack operations while both are served with inventory from a traditional automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS). The RSR’s modular design allows retailers to scale the number of orders fulfilled simultaneously into the thousands and the number of items picked per week into the millions.

The RSR can handle health and beauty items, apparel, electronics, housewares, packaged food, child care products, pet care, and other general merchandise items.

“The RSR presents forward-leaning retailers with the opportunity to gain competitive advantage in today’s changing retail environment,” said Peter Van Alstine, senior vice-president and GM for retail at Berkshire Grey.

“The RSR helps retailers overcome the challenges of optimizing store inventory levels and customer service while dealing with a tight labor market. Our RSR systems have performed millions of picks in production at strategic customer sites today and are ready to deliver value for more customers.”

Robotic store replenishment systems run as a continuous and autonomous process to fulfill store replenishment orders. Totes of inventory are conveyed into the systems while, simultaneously, outbound store order containers are inducted.

Industrial robotic arms outfitted with Berkshire Grey’s computer vision, array of sensors, and proprietary SpectrumGripper system pick individual items out of totes and deposit them into order containers. When an order is complete or the container is full, the system automatically moves each container to a labeling station and then onto shipping. Inventory totes are automatically routed back to the ASRS, and a new outbound order container is inducted every time a full container moves out of the system.

“Consumer buying behavior and expectations for synchronized omni-channel shopping experiences are driving up cost and complexity for every retail supply chain,” said Steve Johnson, president and COO of Berkshire Grey.

“The RSR is one component of our solution portfolio that retailers can implement immediately to improve store replenishment speed while simultaneously reducing chain-wide inventory levels and improve in-stock positions for many product categories.”