Walmart Rolls Out Symbotic Robots Across 42 Warehouses
Walmart has expanded its partnership with AI supply chain tech group Symbotic, rolling out the group’s pipeline of robotic solutions and software automation platforms at all 42 of its regional distribution centers.
Previously, Symbotic’s tech was deployed at 25 of Walmart’s distribution centers, with the first system implemented in 2017 at Walmart’s Brooksville center in Florida. The latest expansion is reportedly motivated by post-pandemic labor shortages and a rising interest in warehouse robotics from other retail majors, with Amazon announcing a $1 billion investment into accelerating the deployment of these digital tools across its operations.
Symbotic’s system features mobile robots that can move stock, and robotic arms to pack and unpack items, as well as vision-enabled tech to help streamline the process of fulfilling orders. This system processes pallets and sorts products into different storage structures, with each module capable of processing 1,700 cases per hour.
“The expanded partnership with Walmart substantiates how our technology is truly reinventing the traditional warehouse and distribution of consumer goods across the supply chain,” said Rick Cohen, chairman, president and chief product officer of Symbotic. “As a technology platform with deep roots in warehousing and distribution – our system addresses some of the biggest challenges of today’s complex supply chain, such as inventory agility, transportation cost and labor availability.”
Using the end-to-end AI software platform and autonomous robotic solutions, Walmart says it hopes to speed up the order fulfillment process and expand distribution capacity.
“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, SVP of innovation and automation at Walmart U.S. “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 installation process across these added sites will take an estimated minimum of eight years.