July 14, 2021
Walmart and Symbotic have announced plans to expand implementation of Symbotic’s robotics and automation platform to outfit an additional 25 regional distribution centers (RDCs). The system helps Walmart create custom store- and aisle-ready pallets for unloading trucks at a Walmart store.
Symbotic first implemented its system at Walmart’s Brooksville, Florida distribution center in 2017, and the two companies have worked together to optimize the system. The additional expansion will enable the system at 26 out of 42 RDCs within the Walmart ecosystem.
“There is no greater validation of our efforts to use technology to reimagine the warehouse and supply chain than our work with Walmart,” said Rick Cohen, CEO of Symbotic. “We set out more than 15 years ago to dramatically improve America’s legacy warehouses and supply chain to provide better and faster service to American consumers with new career opportunities for workers.”
Symobit’s integrated system deployed a fleet of fully autonomous robots in combination with proprietary software to deliver better throughput and efficiency, while increasing warehouse capacity. With the new system in place, it will help reduce the time it takes to unload, sort, and stock freight in Walmart stores, Symobit said.
In a blog post, Walmart’s Joe Metzger, executive vice president of supply chain operations, explained how the automation system helps improve the company’s supply chain.
“Right now, product arrives at one of our regional distribution centers and is either cross-docked or warehoused until we need it. The products are moved or stored manually. When it’s time for the product to go to a store, someone is tasked with packing a 53-foot trailer in a human game of Tetris for transit. When the truck arrives at a store, our associates unload it manually and get the items where they need to be.
“[The Symbotic] system uses a complex algorithm to store cases like puzzle pieces using high-speed mobile bots – operating with a precision that speeds the intake process and increases the accuracy of freight being stored for future orders. By using dense modular storage, it also expands building capacity. And by using high-speed palletizing robotics to organize and optimize freight, it creates customer store- and aisle-ready pallets, which take the guesswork out of unloading trucks. In short, this is a game changer.”
Metzger added that in addition to saving time, the system will limit out-of-stocks, increase the speed of stocking and unloading, and decrease the need for associates to handle freight, one of the toughest aspects of supply chain work in material handling. “We’ll also have the chance to train associates on how to use the new equipment, creating new skills and preparing them for jobs in the future,” he added.
For more details on the Symbotic system, visit its website here.