Amidst Labor Shortages, Berkshire Grey Offers Warehousing Solution

November 16, 2021 by Sara McCaslin

A lack of labor is beginning to affect eCommerce order fulfillment, but Berkshire Grey introduced a solution designed to accelerate order fulfillment and throughput without additional labor.

Berkshire Grey (BG), a company that combines robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks related to fulfillment, supply chain, and logistics operations, has recently announced the public availability of a new warehousing solution for automated order fulfillment. Known as RSPS (Robotic Shuttle Product Sortation), it addresses labor shortages affecting eCommerce order fulfillment and has already been installed at some major retailers in the United States. 


Berkshire Grey RSPS

BG has made the Robotic Shuttle Product Sortation, os RSPS, publicly available. Image used courtesy of Berkshire Grey


Note that this announcement follows another earlier this year concerning the release of IER (Intelligent Enterprise Robotic) picking and mobility solutions and a partnership with AHS (Advanced Handling Systems) to deliver warehouse robotics solutions.


Robotic Shuttle Product Sortation (RSPS)

According to Tom Wagner, CEO of BG, “Our AI-powered Robotic Shuttle Product Sortation (RSPS) solution enables the merchandising practices that drive retail growth while improving operating models in distribution centers—even in a time of labor scarcity.”

The RSPS system is being marketed to not only global retailers but also 3PLs (3rd party logistics) and grocers. Its overarching goal is to assist them in more efficient order fulfillment, even when available labor is at a minimum. For warehousing and fulfillment, the BG RSPS can fill eCommerce orders by automating tasks such as allocation order processing, store replenishment, sorting, packing, and split-case cross-docking. 

RSPS also supports configurable order container batches and sizes and can handle nearly all typical stock-keeping unit (SKU) assortments. With a small footprint of less than 2,500 square feet, it is designed for easy integration into existing systems and is highly scalable to support growth and expansion.


Benefits of RSPS

RSPS offers numerous benefits, such as up to a four times increase in piece pick order fulfillment with no additional labor needed and up to a 10% increase in both container cube utilization and shipment capacity. RSPS can also be used in conjunction with other technologies from BG, as a stand-alone module, or with existing third-party systems (e.g., automated storage and retrieval systems, or ASRS).


Berkshire Grey RSPS AI

RSPS easily integrates with existing BG systems as well as other third-party systems. Image used courtesy of Berkshire Grey


One of its key benefits is, as alluded to above, the ability to increase both throughput and processing capacity without requiring additional labor. This is especially needed for facilities that offer both online shopping and more traditional brick-and-mortar sales, where employees must maintain inventory for both.


Berkshire Grey RSPS Artificial Intelligence

BG RSPS is powered by their AI software core that supports the system’s automation capabilities, such as item identification, sorting, picking, packing, and logistics. BG’s cloud-driven AI software implements machine learning algorithms to achieve continuous improvement. 

Included as part of the AI is computer vision that uses a combination of proprietary techniques that achieve high accuracy and speed. BG’s AI software also includes holistic sensing, machine grasping and haptics, and IT (information technology).

Labor challenges combined with an increased demand for eCommerce have put some suppliers and manufacturers at a disadvantage when it comes to efficient order fulfillment. BG’s RSPS system holds promise with its ability to increase efficiency when available labor is highly limited.