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Partnership Advances Robotic Fulfillment Amid Labor Shortage

Swisslog and Berkshire Grey team up to bring AI-enabled solutions to grocery warehouse operations
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Partnership Advances Robotic Fulfillment Amid Labor Shortage
A Berkshire Grey robotic station picks cucumbers for grocery orders from an automated storage and retrieval system.

Two robotic solution providers are partnering to help food retailers in their race to quickly fulfill online orders. With their partnership, Berkshire Grey Inc. and Swisslog aim to increase order fulfillment and maximize existing labor productivity.

Initially focusing on the American market, the partnership entails Swisslog becoming part of Berkshire Grey's Partner Alliance program as a strategic Systems Integration Partner that provides customers with scalable robotic solutions that improve fulfillment throughput while driving down operational costs.

Swisslog has solutions in multiple flexible, scalable and modular automation technologies for major retail, e-grocery, e-commerce and consumer goods customers, with more than 2,000 integrated installations around the globe, including Walmart, Target, H-E-B and Ahold Delhaize. This includes collaborating on the recent development of Giant Co.’s e-commerce fulfillment center in Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, Berkshire Grey's solutions combine artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics to automate the most challenging warehouse operations, including e-commerce fulfillment, retail replenishment, reverse logistics and package-handling logistics.

"Swisslog is excited to partner with Berkshire Grey, one of the most forward-thinking companies in AI-enabled robotic automation. It is a continuation of our commitment to provide our customers with the innovative technology that best meets their needs and accomplishes their objectives," said Markus Schmidt, president of Swisslog Americas, which is based in Newport News, Va. "We view this as a first step in a fruitful relationship with Berkshire Grey. Together, we will continue to shape the future of data-driven, robotic solutions by providing the next generation of warehouse automation and creating reliable and unparalleled results for our distribution, e-grocery and e-commerce customers."

"Both Berkshire Grey and Swisslog have broad portfolios of complementary solutions and the same goal: providing automation that helps customers meet ongoing consumer demand for anything, anytime, anywhere order fulfillment," said Steve Johnson, president and COO of Bedford, Mass.-based Berkshire Grey. "We're focused on leveraging Swisslog's experience working closely with customers to identify and implement automation technologies that meet business objectives alongside our advanced robotics solutions for joint customers – ultimately helping companies use automation to streamline their operations and maximize productivity."

Berkshire Grey's automated solutions are modular, flexible and available via traditional and robotics-as-a-service implementation models, allowing customers to accelerate adoption of automation technology without upfront capital expenditures.

On March 23, Berkshire Grey introduced its new Robotic Pick and Pack with Identification (BG RPPi) system, which now includes advanced auto-identification and item manipulation technology, for touchless e-commerce autobagging. Using Berkshire Grey’s AI-enabled robotic technology, this system combines automated picking with intelligent placement for packing e-commerce items directly into autobagging equipment, thereby increasing throughput capacity without adding additional labor.

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