Walmart Begins to Scale Local Fulfillment Centers
BENTONVILLE, AR - With a store network as vast as Walmart’s, the possibilities are endless in terms of optimization. The company has positioned itself well in the market, and recently announced a new strategy to leverage its extensive store count. Partnering with tech companies Alert Innovation, Dematic, and Fabric, Walmart is rolling out a new initiative to scale up its fulfillment centers across the country.
“It’s clear that one of Walmart’s competitive advantages is our stores,” said Tom Ward, SVP of Customer Product at Walmart, in a company statement. “And today, stores are transforming to serve more and more purposes, we’re using them to fill pickup and delivery orders, make Walmart.com deliveries, and more. We have a great operation that will serve us well for years to come, but we aren’t stopping there.”
According to the statement, Walmart is planning dozens of store transformations in order to expand its fulfillment center footprint. Utilizing a local fulfillment center (LFC) format, which is a compact center added to a store location, Walmart can store and distribute groceries from across its portfolio of products.
Technology will also play a large role in this initiative, as Walmart will be using AI bots to fulfill orders at these centers. The company reportedly tested its first LFC in Salem, New Hampshire, which resulted in extremely positive outcomes:
- More availability: Are able to pick more orders and do it quicker
- Faster fulfillment: The system’s speed can allow orders to be picked up or delivered within the hour
- Greater efficiency: One local fulfillment center can fulfill orders for many stores, which means its benefits can be felt by customers in stores nearby
Utilizing its tech partners, Walmart will be testing different concepts across its updated network.
“We’re excited to announce today that we’ve partnered with Walmart to bring them our Micro-fulfillment technology as part of their local fulfillment center initiative. Having the largest retailer in the world and the leading innovator in the online grocery space as our customer is an honor, and this is a true testament to the speed, efficiency, and scalability of our solution. As we expand our presence in the U.S., we hear from our retail partners that they need a flexible solution that can fit into any space. This is critical for leveraging existing real estate by building Micro-fulfillment Centers into existing store footprints, a model that will be core to scaling. Fabric’s solution modularity and elasticity allows retailers to easily scale and expand their fulfillment center capacity as demand grows,” said Fabric Co-Founder and CEO, Elram Goren.
Curious to see how this strategy plays out? Stay tuned as ANUK reports.