Walmart to Break Ground on Supply Chain of the Future

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Walmart to Break Ground on Supply Chain of the Future

By Jamie Grill-Goodman - 10/22/2018

Walmart is opening its first high-tech distribution center (DC) for fresh and frozen groceries in Shafter, CA.  The DC, on which Walmart will break ground in the coming weeks, will move 40% more product than a traditional DC, while reducing damaged goods.

The DC, set to open fall 2020, will feature forward-looking technology and offer new tech-focused or STEM jobs.

“The order-filling position is an arduous one,” Tim Cooper, SVP of supply chain, Walmart explained. He went on to say that while the supply chain is the backbone of Walmart’s business, the jobs of the future might be less physically demanding. 

The DC of the future will use WITRON technology to process grocery perishables. Rather than manually stacking boxes and building pallets, the new DC will allow associates to use the new technology to do the (literal) heavy lifting, according to Walmart.  

“Every product is measured and documented so that we know how to handle it,” explained Shayne Wahlmeier, one of the engineers on the project. “A computer algorithm shows all the cases ordered for a given store and determines how to palletize them to maximize the space on a pallet or trailer. It also takes into account density – what’s crushable, what’s not.”

Walmart also said, that because the tech allows for more products to fit onto a truck, which will reduce transportation costs, savings “can be passed on to customers.”

Additionally, fewer damaged products should mean a reduction in food waste.