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05/23/2022

Walmart and Symbotic Expand Partnership to Deploy Automation System

Solution will roll out to all 42 of retailer’s regional distribution centers
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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The Symbotic System's ability to build palletized loads of department-sorted inventory will enable Walmart to get products on shelves at its thousands of stores more quickly, while also making material handling safer and easier.

Walmart and Symbotic LLC, a provider of artificial intelligence-powered supply chain technology, have expanded their commercial agreement to implement Symbotic’s robotics and software automation platform in all 42 of Walmart’s regional distribution centers over the coming years. This is an expansion of Walmart’s earlier commitment to deploy the Symbotic System in more than 20 regional distribution centers. 

The end-to-end software-enabled high-density robotics platform supports the retailer’s goal of updating its huge supply chain network and allows Walmart’s regional distribution centers to respond more quickly to store orders, increase inventory accuracy, and receive and ship more freight. The technology’s ability to build palletized loads of department-sorted inventory will ultimately enable Walmart to get products on shelves at its thousands of stores more quickly, while also making material handling safer and easier. It also creates new tech-enabled jobs offering widely applicable skills in robotics and technology.

“The expanded partnership with Walmart substantiates how our technology is truly reinventing the traditional warehouse and distribution of consumer goods across the supply chain,” said Rick Cohen, chairman, president and chief product officer of Wilmington, Mass.-based Symbotic. “As a technology platform with deep roots in warehousing and distribution, our system addresses some of the biggest challenges of today’s complex supply chain, such as inventory agility, transportation cost and labor availability. Modernizing the warehouse allows consumers to get what they need faster and creates benefits for everyone, including workers, customers and their local communities.” 

“The need for accuracy and speed in the supply chain has never been more visible, and we’re confident that now is the time to move even faster by scaling Symbotic’s technology to our entire regional distribution center network,” noted David Guggina, SVP of innovation and automation, Walmart U.S. “Using high-speed robotics and intelligent software to organize and optimize inventory, the Symbotic System helps us get products to our customers quickly and seamlessly by revolutionizing how we receive and distribute products to stores.”

Walmart has already begun implementing Symbotic’s technology in select regional distribution centers throughout its network. The retrofitting process of all 42 regional distribution centers is expected to be completed over the next eight-plus years.

Combined with a unique high-density physical structure, the Symbotic System aims to improve efficiency, accuracy and agility while reducing costs. Intelligent Symbotic software orchestrates a team of robots to receive, store and retrieve SKUs, using proprietary end-of-arm tools and vision systems to speed up the process.

Symbotic previously revealed its entry into a business combination agreement with San Carlos, Calif.-based special-purpose acquisition company SVF Investment Corp. 3 that is expected to make Symbotic a public company listed on Nasdaq.

Each week, approximately 230 million customers and members visit Walmart’s more than 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites under 46 banners in 24 countries. The company employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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