Walmart plans four faster fulfillment centers

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal­mart says it plans to build four next-generation fulfillment centers that, combined with its existing facilities, will let it offer 95% of the U.S. population next- or two-day shipping on their online orders.

The new facilities, the first of which is set to open this summer in Joliet, Ill., will use a combination of people, robotics and machine learning to make the fulfillment of online orders faster and more efficient, the company says.

In a blog post, David Guggina, senior vice president of innovation and automation at Walmart U.S., describes the new fulfillment centers and why they are unique.

“For starters, we’ve partnered with Knapp, a tech company for intelligent fulfillment solutions, to develop an automated, high-density storage system that streamlines a manual, 12-step process into just five steps,” Guggina says. “We’ve been perfecting this system in our fulfillment center in Pedricktown, N.J., and have seen how the benefits of this technology are wide-ranging and include more comfort for associates, double the storage capacity and double the number of customer orders we’re able to fulfill in a day.

“Most impressively, these four next-generation FCs alone could provide 75% of the U.S. population with next- or two-day shipping on millions of items, including marketplace items shipped by Walmart Fulfillment Services. Combined with our traditional FCs, we can reach 95% of the U.S. population with next- or two-day shipping, and by making use of the expansive reach of our stores, we can offer same-day delivery to 80% of the U.S. population. These four next-generation facilities will also collectively employ more than 4,000 associates while introducing brand-new tech-focused jobs like control technicians, quality audit analysts and flow managers.”

Walmart says the opening of the 1.1 million-square-foot Joliet facility this summer will provide Walmart customers across Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin with access to next- or two-day shipping on millions of items. It will be followed by the opening of a 2.2 million-square-foot facility in McCordsville, Ind., in the spring of 2023 that will allow Walmart to offer that same level of service to customers across Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio.

A facility in Lancaster, Texas, set to open in the fall of 2023, will expand that capability to Texas and Oklahoma. And then the fourth facility in Greencastle, Pa., set to open in 2024, will bring that same level of service to customers across Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey.



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