Home Walmart Adds Tech Upgrades to Store, Distribution Operations
May 2, 2024

Walmart Adds Tech Upgrades to Store, Distribution Operations

Posted In: Retail Articles

As it continues to update operations and systems, Walmart has announced two initiatives that advance its technological contribution to customer experience and supply chain.

The company’s Sam’s Club operation is expanding the use of exit verification technology. Rather than wait for an employee to verify customer purchases, a device resembling a metal detector does so automatically. What Walmart describes as a first-of-its-kind application of artificial intelligence and computer vision technology has now been successfully deployed at more than 120 clubs since January. The company stated that the number represents a milestone, given that 20% of all Sam’s Clubs now employ the technology.

At clubs offering the exit option, more than half of members are taking advantage of the friction-free exit experience, which allows them to leave the club 23% faster on average, according to Walmart. The company plans to deploy the exit technology at all of its Sam’s Clubs by the end of 2024.

The exit automation follows the company’s rollout of Scan & Go technology in its clubs. Scan & Go allows members using its app to scan the products they select for purchase with a smartphone and then proceed directly to the exit.

“I’m incredibly proud of the innovation and dedication of our team to deploy this member experience technology at scale,” Todd Garner, chief product officer, Sam’s Club, said of the exit system and added. “Both exit technology and Scan & Go are driving new levels of convenience and raising member satisfaction among members. What distinguishes Sam’s Club from our competitors is our ability to seamlessly deploy this technology at scale across our nearly 600 clubs nationwide. Whether it’s a single item or a cartful, we’re revolutionizing the checkout experience.”

Additionally, Walmart has officially initiated operations at its newest high-tech consolidation center in Minooka, IL. The new 492,000-square-foot facility is equipped with automated technology that can enable three times more volume to flow throughout the center than has been the case in facilities lacking the tech. The technology also enables Walmart to route products more effectively.

Consolidation centers can receive general merchandise items from suppliers in smaller LTL freight loads and consolidate them into larger full truckload freight loads. After consolidation, Walmart ships the merchandise to one of its 42 regional distribution centers where it is sorted for distribution to stores. The tech application significantly enhances supply chain efficiency, enabling Walmart to generate savings that it can pass on to customers. For suppliers, the technology streamlines the process of purchase order fulfillment, reduces lead times and supports faster delivery to customers.

The Minooka facility will be the third of its kind in Walmart’s supply chain, with the first, located in Colton, CA, opened in 2019.

“We’ve made continued investments in our people, facilities and technology to ensure we have the right product, in the right place, at the right time,” said Mike Gray, Walmart senior vice president of ambient operations. “As part of these investments, the Minooka facility will provide even more opportunities for small- to medium-sized suppliers in the region who do not ship nationwide, the ability to provide product to all 4,700 Walmart stores.”

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