As it moves into an increasingly programmable future, Walmart has expanded an agreement with Symbotic, a supply chain technology company employing A.I. in its functions, to implement a robotics and software automation platform in all 42 of the retailer’s regional distribution centers over several years.
The just-announced agreement is an expansion of Walmart’s prior commitment to deploy Symbotic technology in 25 regional distribution centers.
The end-to-end software-enabled high-density robotics platform will support the retailer’s goal of modernizing its vast supply chain network, the companies stated. The platform will help Walmart transform its regional distribution centers to provide better store order responsiveness, increase inventory accuracy and boost capacity for receiving and shipping freight to stores. The technology’s ability to build palletized loads of department-sorted inventory will enable Walmart to get products onto shelves at its more than 4,700 stores quicker while also making one of the toughest tasks in supply chain work, material handling, safer and simpler. In addition, the technology creates new, tech-enabled jobs, such as cell operator and maintenance technician, that apply widely applicable skills in robotics and technology.
“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 vp of innovation and automation, Walmart U.S., in announcing the deal extension “Using high-speed robotics and intelligent software to organize and optimize inventory, the Symbotic System helps us get products to our customers quickly and seamlessly by revolutionizing how we receive and distribute products to stores.”
The Symbotic System, as characterized by the companies, is an automation technology platform that reconstitutes the traditional warehouse with an end-to-end system powered by a fleet of fully autonomous robots and A.I.-powered software that, combined with a high-density physical structure, improves efficiency, accuracy and agility while reducing costs.