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07/16/2021

Walmart Adding Supply Chain Automation to 25 Distribution Centers

Walmart is investing in its supply chain at an “unprecedented scale,” including reimagining its regional distribution network. Learn how.
Jamie Grill-Goodman
Senior Editor
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With the new systems in place, it will help reduce the time it takes to unload, sort, and stock freight in Walmart stores.

Walmart is investing in its supply chain at an “unprecedented scale,” including reimagining its regional distribution network.

Earlier this year Walmart said of its 2021 capital investment plan, around $14 billion will focus on “supply chain, automation, customer-facing initiatives and technology.” It also said it will deploy capital to areas such as “capacity and automation in DCs, FCs and market fulfillment centers.” In 2017, Walmart implemented Symbotic’s high-tech automation system in Walmart’s Brooksville, FL, distribution center. Since that time, the companies have worked together to optimize the system.

[See also: Walmart to Invest $14B and ‘Define the Next Generation of Retail’]

Now the retailer is teaming up with the robotics and automation-based company to begin the process of outfitting 25 additional regional distribution centers with the high-tech system aimed at furthering Walmart’s mission of operating a best-in-class supply chain. Symbotic’s scalable, integrated system deploys a fleet of fully autonomous robots in combination with proprietary software to deliver efficiency, while increasing warehouse capacity. With the new systems in place, it will help reduce the time it takes to unload, sort, and stock freight in Walmart stores.

“The digital transformation happening today, alongside evolving customer habits, is reshaping the retail industry,” said Joe Metzger, executive vice president of supply chain operations, Walmart U.S. "To serve customers now, and in the future, our business must provide the right tools and training to our associates so they can deliver the items our customers want, when they want them, with unmatched convenience. We're investing in our supply chain at an unprecedented scale in order to optimize that process end-to-end."

Walmart’s supply chain is central to ensuring customers can shop when, where and how they want. By implementing the automation system, Walmart will better modernize and digitize its existing supply chain facilities to support evolving customer demand and create a frictionless experience. Meanwhile, the retailer will create training opportunities for associates that open the door for jobs of the future, increase productivity and reduce costs.

“There is no greater validation of our efforts to use technology to reimagine the warehouse and supply chain than our work with Walmart,” said Rick Cohen, chief executive officer of Symbotic. “We set out more than 15 years ago to dramatically improve America’s legacy warehouses and supply chain to provide better and faster service to American consumers with new career opportunities for workers. Working with customers like Walmart has enabled us to develop this total solution and with this trust we are now positioned to develop Symbotic-powered warehouses around the country for years to come.”