A New Era of Fulfillment: Introducing Walmart’s Next Generation Fulfillment Centers
“Trust” is a common word that carries uncommon weight at Walmart. While there are countless ways we strive to earn customers’ trust, delivering on our promise of fast shipping and delivery has never been more important to us. Today we use our 31 dedicated eCommerce fulfillment centers and 4,700 stores located within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. population to fulfill online orders at exceptional speed. But we’re not stopping there.
We know we must constantly exceed our customers’ expectations, which is why I’m thrilled to announce we’re building four next generation fulfillment centers (FCs) over the next three years, with the first opening this summer in Joliet, Illinois. 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.
What makes these buildings a first-of-their-kind? For starters, we’ve partnered with Knapp, a tech company for intelligent fulfillment solutions, to develop an automated, high-density storage system that streamlines a manual, twelve-step process into just five steps. We’ve been perfecting this system in our fulfillment center in Pedricktown, New Jersey, and have seen how the benefits of this technology are wide-ranging and include: more comfort for associates, double the storage capacity and double the number of customer orders we’re able to fulfill in a day.
Most impressively, these four next generation FCs alone could provide 75% of the U.S. population with next- or two-day shipping on millions of items, including Marketplace items shipped by Walmart Fulfillment Services. Combined with our traditional FCs, we can reach 95% of the U.S. population with next- or two-day shipping, and by making use of the expansive reach of our stores, we can offer same-day delivery to 80% of the U.S. population. These four next generation facilities will also collectively employ more than 4,000 associates while introducing brand new tech-focused jobs like control technicians, quality audit analysts and flow managers.