Walmart to open high-tech fulfillment centers to ship online orders faster

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Walmart is building four high-tech fulfillment centers that will simplify and speed up online order taking and packing. The first will open this summer in Juliet, Illinois.

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walmart is building warehouses with a high-tech spin in hopes of delivering items to customers more quickly and growing your online business,

The retailer said Friday it plans to build four new fulfillment centers that use automation Pack and ship online orders more efficiently, with the first location opening this summer in Illinois. For customers, the new warehouses will mean that next-day or two-day deliveries may become more common for items including cereals and T-shirts.

The plans come as Walmart competes with the online retail giant heroine, which makes it easy for Prime membership customers to order a variety of items and have them delivered within a day or so. Due to Walmart’s more sales from its website in recent years, It already has 31 facilities that create online orders, Its more than 3,500 stores, or about 75% of its locations, also fulfill online orders.

In Walmart’s existing fulfillment centers, employees can walk nine miles or more a day to remove items from shelves and bring them back to areas for packaging, said Michael Prince, Walmart’s vice president of supply chain innovation and automation.

This will not be necessary in new warehouses, where an automated system will retrieve items from an expanded storage space and shuttle it to an area where a worker packs it in a box, which is custom designed to fit the order’s measurements. Will be built. Walmart tested the concept at a fulfillment center in Pedricktown, New Jersey.

amazon, kroger And others have also used automation to expand capacity and speed. A decade ago, Amazon acquired Kiva Systems, which made wheeled robots for its warehouses. It has tested robots Reduce strenuous jobs for the workers and launched in April $1 billion fund To invest in companies developing supply chain technologies.

Last year, Kroger began opening giant robot-powered fulfillment centers in the US through a partnership with British online grocer Okado.

Walmart’s first new fulfillment center will open in Joliet, Illinois, about 40 miles southwest of Chicago, and will ship to customers in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Three more will follow in McCordsville, Indiana; Lancaster, Texas; and over the next three years, the Greencastle, Pennsylvania, company said.

Walmart said it would hire 4,000 people to work on the new facilities. The current starting salary at existing warehouses is $16 to $28 an hour, and wages at new ones will be at the high end of that range, the company said. The retailer declined to share the construction cost.

Prince said Walmart stores will still play a part in the company’s supply chain and handle online orders with popular items as well as cold and frozen groceries. Fulfillment centers will handle orders with a broad assortment of products, including pantry staples and other dry groceries.

Other pieces of Walmart’s supply chain are also changing. dozens of stores Mini automated warehouses are being built For online grocery order. And last week, Walmart said it would add robotics to its 42 regional distribution centers in the coming years, which fill store shelves.