Walmart fulfillment centers will take productivity to a new level
Walmart has broken ground in Texas on a 1.5-million-square-foot automated e-commerce fulfillment center and a 730,000-square-foot grocery distribution center that will enable the retailer to increase its capacity as well as the accuracy and speed with which it delivers orders to stores and customers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
The two new massive warehouses are part of a pledge by Walmart in July to automate 25 of its 42 regional warehouses across the U.S. These facilities will serve to complement and support Walmart’s growing micro-distribution network inside and adjacent to its stores.
“These high-tech facilities will include game-changing innovations that are radically disrupting the supply chain, getting products onto store shelves and items shipped to our customers even faster, while saving time for our associates,” Joe Metzger executive vice president of supply chain operations for Walmart U.S., said in a statement.
Walmart is deploying robots in its regional distribution centers to sort, store, retrieve and pack freight onto pallets. The initiative is designed to move products from DCs to stores with a greater degree of accuracy and speed than ever before.
Mr. Metzger explained in the summer that Walmart’s legacy system was set up to cross-dock or warehouse product that arrived at DCs until it was needed in stores. This process was handled manually by warehouse personnel. When stores were ready for the merchandise, DC workers would have to figure out how to efficiently pack a 53-foot trailer, which would be manually unloaded when arriving at a store.
The new system makes use of “a complex algorithm to store cases like puzzle pieces using high-speed mobile bots — operating with a precision that speeds the intake process and increases the accuracy of freight being stored for future orders. By using dense modular storage, it also expands building capacity. And by using high-speed palletizing robotics to organize and optimize freight, it creates custom store- and aisle-ready pallets, which take the guesswork out of unloading trucks.”
The new Texas warehouses are key in the state that has the largest number of company stores. The retailer, as of the end of July, had 593 stores in Texas with 391 supercenters, 18 discount stores, 97 Neighborhood Markets and 82 Sam’s Club units.
- Walmart Selects Dallas-Fort Worth Area for Two New High-Tech Supply Chain Facilities – Walmart press release
- Walmart breaks ground on $800 million supply chain project in Lancaster – The Dallas Morning News
- Walmart exec says robots will seriously speed up DC-to-store supply chain ops – RetailWire
- Location Facts – Walmart
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will automated warehouses enable Walmart to keep up with Kroger, Amazon and other rivals making big investments in their supply chain infrastructure? Do you see more opportunities for Walmart to automate distribution centers to further improve on its performance?