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11/12/2021

Bealls enhances fulfillment capabilities with robots

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Berkshire Grey robot knuckle
Bealls is leveraging robotic fulfillment technology.

Bealls Inc. is deploying artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled robotic picking, sorting and packing technology.

The apparel and home merchandise retailer is implementing BG Robotic automation systems from Berkshire Grey to handle expanding merchandise categories and fulfill orders quicker. Bealls intends to utilize the AI-enabled systems in an effort increase its processing capacity and throughput needed to meet surging customer demand.

By implementing Berkshire Grey’s robotic systems with the capability to pick, sort, and pack over 55 million units annually, Bealls seeks to meet and exceed heightened customer demand and expectations for apparel, footwear, accessories, and home items.

Bealls is growing its core business while facing labor challenges. The company hopes that Berkshire Grey robotic systems will enable its existing workforce to speed up store replenishment processes, helping to continue corporate growth.

Target Corp. is also focused on increasing the efficiency of picking, packing and sorting orders with leading-edge strategy and technology. In April 2021, Target publicized a pilot of a new sortation center in its home city of Minneapolis that streamlines the process of fulfilling digital orders from stores, which fulfill more than 95% of the discount giant’s online orders.

The pilot uses store associates to pick and pack digital orders. A Target-controlled truck then collects the packages and brings them to the center, where they are automatically sorted with proprietary technology for individual routes and immediate delivery at the neighborhood level by delivery partners like Shipt, for final delivery to customer homes.

The discount giant designed the sortation centers to make this process faster by retrieving packages as soon as store teams are finished packing and sorting, batching and routing them for delivery to local neighborhoods. The discount giant will open four new sortation centers in major markets across the country — including Houston, Dallas, Philadelphia, and Lawrenceville, Georgia.

“By implementing Berkshire Grey’s AI-enabled robotic solutions, we can better support our stores with quicker inventory shipments that drive sales while at the same time support our warehouse associates with innovative automation that makes their work more fulfilling,” said Dan Love, president of Bealls Support Group. “Berkshire Grey takes a very different approach to automation than we’ve seen from other suppliers. 

“Berkshire Grey invested the time necessary to understand our business, our operating environments, and our culture,” said Love. “We are confident Berkshire Grey will deliver a flexible scalable solution that will make an immediate positive impact on our distribution operations.”

“Bealls is innovating across their supply chain while ensuring what they implement is the right fit for their business, their operations, and their associates,” said Tom Wagner, Founder and CEO at Berkshire Grey. “By bringing AI-enabled robotic automation into its operations, Bealls is further cementing itself as a retail leader and successfully positioning the company for continued growth in the years to come.”

Headquartered in Bradenton, Fla., family-owned Bealls Inc. operates over 525 stores across the U.S. with online destinations at beallsflorida.com, burkesoutlet.com, and homecentric.com.