- Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits will deploy Symbotic’s AI technology and robotics warehouse automation in select distribution centers, according to a Nov. 15 press release.
- The distribution centers will be equipped with the Symbotic System, an end-to-end automation system with robotic case-picking capabilities. The technology is expected to improve fill rates, order accuracy and increase capacity of its existing facilities.
- Both companies have agreed to implement the first of these systems by 2025, per the release. The alcohol distributor has warehouses located across 44 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Canada.
Until now, Symbotic focused on deploying its technology and robotics solutions in retail or food wholesale operations. The Southern Glazer's agreement marks the robotics company's debut in the beverage space, Mike Dunn, Symbotic's SVP of sales, marketing and product strategy, told Supply Chain Dive.
Warehouse automation that handles beverages is different compared to other wholesale items. Products in the beverage industry can be heavy, bulky and contain an awkward center of gravity, making automated product handling a challenge, Dunn said.
"Through the system, Symbotic will build mixed-case pallets for efficient-route stop delivery and more efficiently and accurately handle both high velocity and slow-moving inventory,” Dunn added.
Multiple companies have deployed Symbotic's software and robotics to speed throughput, boost inventory accuracy and streamline operations.
United Natural Foods plans to add Symbotic’s AI technology in five of its distribution centers, Walmart announced plans to bring Symbotic to 25 of its regional distribution centers in July 2021 and Associated Foods also deployed its automated warehouse system at a distribution facility in Utah.
Southern Glazer's Wines and Spirits isn't new when it comes to using warehouse automation. In 2018, the alcohol distributor highlighted upgrades it made at a New York facility. The upgrades included a conveyor and sortation system, a bottle pick room — a two-level, voice-directed, split-case picking operation — and a warehouse management system.
Symbotic is displacing Southern Glazer’s current warehouse automation provider KNAPP on slower-moving inventory, according to a Nov. 15 research report from William Blair analysts.