How GreyOrange CEO Will Use $135M, AI and Robots to Modernize Warehousing and Fulfillment

Omnichannel commerce has transformed how we pay for things and the length of time in which we expect to get what we pay for.

Delivery windows are shrinking. Where once we waited days or weeks to get packages delivered to the doorstep, we’re now accustomed to turnaround times measured in next-day service or even hours.

Viewed through the lens of meeting customer expectations, said Akash Gupta, CEO of GreyOrange, some of the most critical components of commerce — namely, warehouse and fulfillment — have a ways to go before they operate with utmost efficiency. 

“We’re still in the very early stages,” he said, of the bid to meet consumer demands in real time. 

We might order goods online and expect to pick them up in-store or browse the aisles and order an item that’s on the shelves (or on the website) to be delivered to our homes. Modern commerce demands a modern approach as retailers handle the ebbs and flows of customer demands. 

Only about 10% to 15% of warehouses, he said, have mechanized at least some of their processes. 

And a relatively scant mid-single-digit percentage point slice of warehouses might be deemed to be heavily automated. 

Thinking About Automation

Asked by PYMNTS how firms should approach automation in retail — which, ideally, can take care of as much as 80% of the warehouse-related activities — he noted that robotics could help eliminate some of the physical work that goes on in terms of the sorting, picking, and packing of goods.  

“It’s a combination of movement and manipulation,” he said.

But automation also should be used to shrink the fulfilment time, and to streamline decision making — figuring out, in his words, “what [task] needs to be done, by whom it needs to be done … and when it needs to be done.” The old days and ways of managing inventory in “batches” are no longer enough to satisfy the demands of omnichannel commerce.  

Advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and what he termed “an intelligent software orchestration layer” help manage the flow of inventory and data so that orders and fulfillment are managed as adroitly as possible. Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, he said, has been a useful tool in determining and managing the location of items as they move through supply chains.   

AI, he added, has the benefit of helping predict what a retailer’s next set of orders might be, and which inventory is likely to move quickly. Generative AI is improving everything from fleet management to store associates’ interactions with customers in brick-and-mortar settings. 

The company’s own GreyMatter AI-driven platform, he said, models the best decisions and outcomes to ensure optimal management of workflows as all inventory nodes are presented in single-view format.  

“You’re getting a holistic view of what’s happening in the network,” Gupta said, “rather than looking at a bunch of Excel files … and it helps the interaction between sales managers and warehouse managers.”

The conversation with Gupta took place against the backdrop where, late last month, the company announced that it had raised $135 million in a series D funding round. The money, Gupta said, will be invested in the firm’s software platforms, including building out gStore, the company’s app geared toward omnichannel and in-store fulfillment activities.

“We’re orchestrating end-to-end networks,” he told PYMNTS, “to ensure you have the right inventory in the right place.”