Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart said it will open the doors to four new high-tech fulfillment centers in the next three years as it looks to whittle down delivery times for Walmart.com orders.
The new facilities, to be located in Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Texas, will help allow for one- or two-day shipping to 95% of the U.S. population and same-day shipping to 80% of the country, Walmart said in a news release.
"These FCs will be the first of their kind for Walmart, using the powerful combination of people, robotics and machine learning to set an entirely new precedent for us on the speed of fulfillment while continuing to create a positive work environment for our associates," Walmart U.S. SVP of Innovation and Automation David Guggina stated in the release.
The centers will use an automated, high-density storage system that Walmart has piloted at its fulfillment center in Pedricktown, N.J., Guggina said, adding that the high-tech system has allowed Walmart to double the number of orders a typical fulfillment center could fill in a day. Automated tech to retrieve items from shelves and deliver them to associates at a picking station will save associates up to 9 miles of walking per day, according to Walmart, and the company estimates that packing associates will be able to assemble as many as four orders at once, preparing items to be shipped within 30 minutes of a customer placing an order.
The first new facility is set to open in Joliet, Ill., about 45 miles southeast of Chicago, this summer. The 1.1 million-square-foot facility will employ at least 1,000 people, according to Walmart. A 2.2 million-square-foot fulfillment center is slated to open in McCordsville, Ind., northeast of Indianapolis, in spring 2023. Two 1.5 million-square-foot facilities in Lancaster, Texas, and Greencastle, Pa., will debut in fall 2023 and spring 2024, respectively.
"Our priority is to strategically locate our FCs to pair most effectively with our 4,700 stores and 210 distribution centers," Guggina stated. "Together, this system of fulfillment assets is optimized to get orders to customers fast and efficiently. In this way we show our customers they need to look no further than Walmart to get what they need, when they need it."