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What is Robotic Piece Picking?

Piece Picking Automation Improves Quality and Throughput, While Lowering Costs

What is Robotic Piece Picking?

Automating Piece
Picking Improves Quality and
Throughput, While Lowering Costs

Robotic Piece Picking Must Be Fast. Accurate
and Capable of Handling a Large Variety in Skus

A central function of any warehouse or distribution center is the picking of individual pieces (or eaches) to be added to customer orders. Warehouse managers have a variety of picking processes to choose from and each method could be considered based on a long list of criteria including: 

  • Types of products
  • Number of orders
  • Order complexiity
  • Labor availability
  • Budget
  • Pick rate targets
  • Types of products
  • Number of orders
  • Order complexiity
  • Labor availability
  • Budget
  • Pick rate targets

The process of manual each picking is laborious, time consuming and costly. Warehouses that have not embraced some form of automation can spend up to 70% of their budget on expensive unskilled piece picking resources.  

Distribution Centers have increased their capacity since embracing robotic piece picking

What Is the Problem with Manual Piece Picking? 

eCommerce has become THE standard for an increasing majority of consumers. The enormous eCommerce growth rate has put an unfathomable strain on warehouse functions, specifically around piece picking.   In many locations, it has become nearly impossible to hire the labor required to support the skyrocketing demands of eCommerce. Not to mention the aggressive service level agreements retailers are placing on their fulfillment vendors.  The traditional picking and material handling methods of 10, 5 or even 2 years ago are not capable of keeping distribution centers competitive and profitable. Research has shown that the most successful warehouse operations have increased the automation of their most common processes to maintain their viability.  

Why Aren’t All Robotic Piece Picking Solutions the Same? 

Any visitor to one of the top Logistics and material handling tradeshows will encounter a wide range of robotic picking demonstrations. Most of these demonstrations have been set up to illustrate sensational piece picking rates.  However real pick rates in the field will vary greatly, and you will never know the potential of robotic piece picking until you apply it to your specific SKUs, KPIs and environment. Many of the top retailers, 3PLs, grocery chains and eCommerce providers have already experienced significant improvements with the adoption of robotic piece piking in their distribution centers and warehouses.

One such Top 20 retailer integrated Berkshire Grey robotic solutions into their operations and achieved massive success:

  • >70% increase in throughput
  • >50% reduction in overhead
  • New shifts added to their operations without added cost 

Tradeshow robotic pick rates do not reflect real world results

Piece Picking Technology That Enables Full Automation

Competing systems cannot handle the variety items that BG robotic piece picking systems can.  Berkshire Grey gripping systems can pick tens of millions of dissimilar items and pieces. BG grippers have unique mechanical designs, novel vacuum sources, mechanical and fluid dynamic sensors, and software systems that guide sensor-based gripper behaviors in coordination with the motion of our robotic arms. Tens of millions of different items can be handled and picked using a very small set of end effectors which are automatically swapped in real-time based on the items to be picked. BG offers a complete set of robotic piece picking, packing, induction, and sorting solutions built around the market’s most robust and autonomous material handling systems:

  • Robotic Pick Cells convert goods-to-person stations into good-to-robot stations.
  • Robotic Pick and Pack stations pick and pack directly into eCommerce packages and other outbound containers.
  • Robotic Induction Stations pick and place items and cases onto traditional unit sorters.
  • Robotic Product Sortation systems rapidly pick and sort items to multiple outbound orders simultaneously.

5 Myths of
Robotic Picking

Separate the myths from the realities of robotic automation systems available now.


  • Debunk the myths associated with robotic picking automation.
  • Learn what you really need to know about grippers.
  • Understand why pick rates might not be what they seem and what is realistic in a live distribution center.


Get Started with Berkshire Grey

Contact the BG Fulfillment Automation Sales Engineering Team to Learn How to:

  • Reduce operations expense by up to 70%.
  • Lessen your dependency on labor.
  • Bolster facility throughput by 25% to 50% with automation.
  • Get a customized ROI analysis of your specific environment and business.

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