Symbotic first implemented its system in Walmart’s Brooksville, Florida distribution center in 2017. Since that time, the companies have worked together to optimize the system. With this announcement, Symbotic will begin the process of outfitting 25 additional Walmart regional distribution centers with the high-tech system aimed at furthering Walmart’s mission of operating a best-in-class supply chain.
The solution is designed to improve the speed of the intake process while increasing the accuracy of freight being stored for future orders. The solution also leverages dense modular storage, which expands building capacity. Finally, the system utilizes high-speed palletizing robotics to organize and optimize freight, and it creates custom store- and aisle-ready pallets, which take the guesswork out of unloading trucks.
“There is no greater validation of our efforts to use technology to reimagine the warehouse and supply chain than our work with Walmart,” said Rick Cohen, chief executive officer of Symbotic. “We set out more than 15 years ago to dramatically improve America’s legacy warehouses and supply chain to provide better and faster service to American consumers with new career opportunities for workers. Working with customers like Walmart has enabled us to develop this total solution and with this trust we are now positioned to develop Symbotic-powered warehouses around the country for years to come.”
Walmart’s supply chain is central to ensuring customers can shop when, where and how they want. By implementing Symbotic’s system, Walmart will better modernize and digitize its existing supply chain facilities to support evolving customer demand and create a frictionless experience. All the while, the retailer will create training opportunities for associates that open the door for jobs of the future, increase productivity and reduce costs. Symbotic’s scalable, integrated system deploys a fleet of fully autonomous robots in combination with proprietary software to deliver industry-best throughput and efficiency, while increasing warehouse capacity. With the new system in place, it will help reduce the time it takes to unload, sort, and stock freight in Walmart stores.
“The digital transformation happening today, alongside evolving customer habits, is reshaping the retail industry,” said Joe Metzger, executive vice president of supply chain operations, Walmart U.S. “To serve customers now, and in the future, our business must provide the right tools and training to our associates so they can deliver the items our customers want, when they want them, with unmatched convenience. We’re investing in our supply chain at an unprecedented scale in order to optimize that process end-to-end.”
Walmart is a demanding customer for any supplier, so this news and the public announcement from Walmart in support of the Symbotic solution speaks volumes about the depth of support that has to exist from Walmart in the viability of the Symbotic solution. The next step for Symbotic will be to successfully deploy the next wave of 25 regional distribution centers. This relationship is likely to be all-consuming for Symbotic, which reflected in the fact that Symbotic currently has more than 50 openings on its careers page.
in February, 2021, Walmart announced announced plans to spend nearly $14 billion on capital investments, including enhancements to the supply chain and increased automation. The relationship with Symbotic is just one piece in the puzzle for Walmart, as it competes with Amazon, for dominance in ecommerce fulfillment.