- Walmart will bring Symbotic's AI technology to all 42 of its regional distribution centers over the next eight years as the retailer works to modernize its supply chain network, the company announced on Monday.
- The retailer first brought Symbotic to 25 of its regional distribution centers last July. The technology should help Walmart increase its inventory accuracy and boost its warehouses' capacity to receive and ship products to stores, the company said in a statement.
- “The need for accuracy and speed in the supply chain has never been more visible, and we’re confident that now is the time to move even faster by scaling Symbotic’s technology to our entire regional distribution center network,” said David Guggina, senior vice president of innovation and automation, Walmart U.S., in a statement.
Walmart has been public about its plans to scale-up automation in its supply chain. CFO and EVP Brett Biggs noted at the UBS Global Consumer Conference in March that "there's some store automation, but more on the supply chain side, that you'll start seeing us roll out over the next few years." Biggs also highlighted Symbotic at the conference as a strategy to both boost efficiency and alleviate labor-intensive warehouse jobs, such as unloading trucks.
Walmart's work with Symbotic is only one aspect of a larger plan to automate many aspects of its supply chain, including automation investments in its e-commerce fulfillment centers and market fulfillment centers, with plans to spend up to $14 billion on capital expenditures this fiscal year, according to an earnings release.
In addition, the company plans to open a 925,000 square-foot automated fulfillment center in Lebanon, Tennessee this fall. "We're excited about our newer businesses and our plans to automate much of the supply chain," CEO Doug McMillon said in the company's May earnings call.
Walmart has also extended its automation goals to other areas of its portfolio such as Sam's Club. In February, the retailer deployed robotic inventory-analysis equipment to all of its nearly 600 locations across the U.S.
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