Expanding Walmart Marketplace Fulfillment Center Capabilities Through Automation

We’re committed to exceeding customer expectations and serving them in new ways, whether it’s in a store, on the sidewalk, or at home. For years, we have invested heavily in technology and infrastructure throughout our supply chain to test and learn where we can make the biggest difference in fulfilling customer orders. In recent years, we have announced investments in technology for our regional distribution centers Y next generation logistics centers. Our Marketplace Fulfillment Centers, or MFCs, are a continuation of these efforts.

Today we announce a step forward in the evolution of our supply chain and MFC. I am pleased to announce that Walmart has agreed to acquire Alert Innovation, a robotic automation company developing material handling technology to automate order fulfillment in retail supply chains. Walmart has been working with Alert to customize the technology for our MFCs since 2016. Investing more in this technology will allow us to leverage our store footprint (4,700 stores located within 10 miles of 90% of the US population) for warehousing and compliance. For customers, this means orders can be fulfilled quickly and conveniently through pickup and delivery, giving them the items they want, when and where they want them. This system also enhances the experience for associates, who are instrumental in helping us refine the system.

At the end of 2019, we started testing our first MFC in Salem, New Hampshire, using Alert bot technology built specifically for Walmart. Bot technology is notable within the industry for its fully autonomous bots that store, retrieve, and dispense orders by moving horizontally, laterally, and vertically through three temperature zones without elevators or conveyors. This provides less space constraints within the MFC and eliminates the need to pause the entire system for bot maintenance.

Bringing the best of Alert’s technology and capabilities in-house will allow us to reach customers faster by deploying MFC faster, delivering an unmatched shopping experience and competitive advantage in omnichannel fulfillment. This is part of our broader goal of introducing the next generation of logistics centers and continue transforming our world-class supply chain.

We look forward to welcoming the Alert Innovation team to Walmart and expanding their capabilities. Bringing their expertise to Walmart will help us accelerate our MFC strategy and further strengthen our extensive talent pool in technology and engineering. Looking ahead, we will continue to modernize our supply chain operations through investments in robotics and automation in our stores and distribution and fulfillment centers, creating new and exciting customer experiences that are unique to Walmart.

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