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Walmart plans new high-tech supply chain facilities for Texas

Walmart is expanding its supply chain infrastructure to fulfill more products.

Walmart will add two more high-tech hubs to its growing supply chain network.

Located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the facilities will include a 1.5 million-sq.-ft. automated fulfillment center, set to open in 2023,  and a 730,000-sq.-ft. automated grocery distribution center, set to open in 2024. The new Lancaster, Texas-based facilities will create approximately 1,000 full-time jobs across the region. 40 percent of the new jobs created will require STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) skills to support technical positions.

Through the combination of human associates and automation technology, Walmart says the high-tech facilities will move more than two times the volume of a traditional fulfillment and grocery distribution center, with the goal of improving the accuracy, quality and speed of the fulfillment and distribution of products.

Walmart has been ramping up the automation of — and investments in — its supply chain infrastructure, from expanding its successful pilot of store-based, high-tech “local fulfillment centers” to applying artificial intelligence to the palletizing of products in its regional distribution centers. More recently, the discount giant said it will build a high-tech distribution center for fresh and frozen groceries in Spartanburg County, S.C.

Set to open in 2024, the new facility will rely on a combination of human associates, automation technology, robotics, and machine learning to process grocery perishables and deliver them to nearby stores.

Walmart has also begun using multi-temperature autonomous box trucks from Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup Gatik to move online grocery orders from a fulfillment-only dark store to a nearby Walmart Neighborhood Market store in its headquarters city of Bentonville, Ark. In a first for middle-mile commercial deliveries, Walmart is making the autonomous deliveries without having a human safety driver in the truck.

Walmart has been taking a variety of steps since summer 2021 to ensure it can meet holiday demand in the face of widespread supply chain disruption. Some of these steps include a push for hiring 20,000 new supply chain positions to help move products through its facilities as quickly as possible, as well as adding storage capacity in its fulfillment and distribution network through new facilities.

“Walmart is excited to welcome two new high-tech facilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to our expanding supply chain network,” said Joe Metzger, executive VP, supply chain operations at Walmart U.S. “These high-tech facilities will include game-changing innovations that are radically disrupting the supply chain, getting products onto store shelves and items shipped to our customers even faster, while saving time for our associates.”

“We are making a significant investment in this region because of the inclusive, diverse and qualified pipeline of local talent that reflect Walmart’s values,” said Karissa Sprague, senior VP of supply chain HR at Walmart U.S. “Our investment in technologies and high-tech facilities today pave the way for jobs of the future that are supported by automation and will allow opportunities for an upskilled workforce.”

Walmart operates 19 distribution centers, 593 retail stores and employs more than 171,000 associates in the state of Texas. The company operates approximately 10,500 stores and clubs under 48 banners in 24 countries and e-commerce websites.

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