Walmart transforms grocery operations with high-tech fulfillment

Walmart transforms grocery operations with high-tech fulfillment

Automated Walmart perishable distribution center.

A pallet at an automated Walmart distribution center.

Walmart Inc. is building, expanding and retrofitting fulfillment centers with next-gen technology capabilities to enhance its grocery supply chain.

The discount giant, which previously said more than half of its fulfillment centers could be automated by 2026, is publicly outlining a three-pronged strategy to invest in data, intelligent software and automation in an effort to create a more connected and responsive grocery supply chain. 

The initiative is focused on the areas of new builds, expansions and retrofits of grocery distribution centers:

  • New builds — Walmart is in the middle of building five high-tech perishable distribution centers. The first hub in Shafter, Calif. has been operational since 2021. The second, located in Lancaster, Tex., is ramping operations and will be followed by facilities in Wellford, S.C.; Belvidere, Ill.; and Pilesgrove, N.J. Collectively, Walmart says these facilities will create around 2,000 new jobs. 
  • Expansions — The retailer is expanding four traditional perishable DCs by adding more than 500,000 square feet of automation per site to increase capacity for fresh product. Walmart will expand facilities in Mankato, Minn.; Mebane, N.C.; Garrett, Ind.; and Shelbyville, Tenn.  
  • Retrofits — The Walmart perishable distribution center in Winter Haven, Fla. is getting upgraded, as the retailer integrates advanced technology into the facility with the goal of learning more about the feasibility and requirements of retrofitting an existing grocery building with automation technology.

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