Over the next three years, Walmart is going to open four new fulfillment centers that will let it pack and ship online orders more quickly.
Being the first one to be open this summer in Joliet, Illinois, about 40 miles southwest of Chicago, it will ship to customers across Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Then, the company has informed that three more will follow in McCordsville, Indiana; Lancaster, Texas; and Greencastle, Pennsylvania in the next three years.
The company says that the system at the new facility will simplify work for employees.
A brief history of Walmart
Walmart was established by Sam Walton in 1962. The company got its name from Walton’s hometown of Bentonville in Arkansas, which was named after his dog, ‘Walter.’ During the company’s early days, it focused on bringing mass-produced goods to small towns and developing rural areas.
During the first 15 years of its existence, the retail giant expanded rapidly. By the late ’70s and early ’80s, it reached 50 stores across six states in the Midwest—Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin—and became known as a place for getting almost anything for low prices with good service. As Sam Walton said: “The way things were going with me at that time was working so much harder than anybody else. I was burning myself out. I wasn’t really thinking about it, but I knew that they needed more help, and I wanted to improve the way they did things.”
In terms of physical infrastructure, Walmart has been able to build a lot of new stores since its founding. In 1991 alone, the company opened new stores for every 7 square miles across the US.
Walmart will open high-tech fulfillment centers to ship online orders faster
Walmart is building four high-tech fulfillment centers that will simplify and speed up the picking and packing of online orders. The first one will open this summer in Joliet, Illinois. Moreover, the company is building four high-tech fulfillment centers that will simplify and speed up the picking and packing of online orders.
Likewise, Walmart is also building warehouses with a high-tech spin in hopes of delivering items to customers more quickly and growing its online business.
On Friday, the company said that it planned to build four new fulfillment centers that use automation to pack and ship online orders more efficiently, with the first location opening this summer in Illinois.
The new warehouses, for customers, will mean next-day or two-day delivery could be more common for items including cereal and T-shirts.
Walmart’s competitors and the company’s current needs
The company competes with online lion Amazon which has made it easy for customers with Prime memberships to order a wide range of items and have them delivered within a day or so.
More of Walmart’s sales come from its website in recent years and it already has 31 facilities that prepare online orders. And more than 3,500 of its stores, or about 75% of its locations, also fulfill online orders.
Citing to Michael Prince, Walmart’s vice president of supply chain innovation and automation, a report says, at Walmart’s existing fulfillment centers, employees can walk nine miles or more a day to pluck items off shelves and lug them back to areas for packaging.
At the new warehouses, that won’t be necessary because an automated system will retrieve items from an expanded storage space and shuttle it to an area where an employee packs them in a box, which will be custom-made to fit the order’s measurements. Earlier this, the company tested the concept at a fulfillment center in Pedricktown, New Jersey.
For expanding their capacity and speed, Amazon, Kroger, and others have also tapped automation. Nearly 10 years ago, Amazon acquired Kiva Systems. That created wheeled robots for its warehouses. It has tested robots to reduce strenuous jobs for workers and in April launched a $1 billion fund to invest in companies developing supply chain technologies.
Similarly, Kroger, last year began opening giant robot-powered fulfillment centers in the U.S. through a partnership with British online grocer Ocado.
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Employers and pay scales
Being the current starting pay at existing warehouses is $16 to $28 per hour and wages at the new ones will be at the higher end of that range, Walmart said that it will hire 4,000 people to work at the new facilities. But, the company declined to share construction costs.
It’s also said that Walmart stores will still play a role in the company’s supply chain and handle online orders with popular items along with chilled and frozen groceries. And, fulfillment centers will handle orders with a broader assortment of products, including pantry staples and other dry groceries.
While other pieces of Walmart’s supply chain are getting a makeover, too, dozens of stores are becoming mini automated warehouses for online grocery orders. Walmart last week said that it will add robotics in coming years to its 42 regional distribution centers, which replenish store shelves.
From Walmart’s new step, its customers may benefit in the following ways:
-The order will be delivered to the customer within three days.
-The order will be delivered quickly and efficiently.
-The company is taking customer expectations seriously and trying to keep up with the latest technology to make customers happy.
-They will have access to a wider variety of goods at the same price or less than what they pay for in their local store.
-It will take less time to get the delivery and the order will be more repeatedly on time.
-The company will save a lot of money by using automation which is much faster than the human workers.
-The company’s employees will be relieved of performing strenuous tasks so they can perform other tasks that are related to selling.
Walmart’s plan of opening new fulfillment centers is designed to help it catch up with Amazon in online grocery sales. Moreover, the company is trying to stay ahead of the competition as other retailers are upgrading their operations and expanding online services. In addition to this, Walmart’s move to add warehouses will raise questions about how it will affect other warehousing facilities and the employees who work in those locations.