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06/22/2022

Walmart Deploys Tech to Enhance Driver Experience

Tools developed through integrated partnership with Platform Science
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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Every Walmart Private Fleet cab now features an intuitive, interactive tablet device from Platform Science that integrates with NTransit, a driver workflow application developed by Walmart’s product and technology teams.

Walmart has implemented two technology tools that work together with the goals of improving the experience of its more than 12,000 private-fleet drivers and providing real-time visibility into the day-to-day operations of the company’s driver network.

Thanks to an integrated partnership with Platform Science, a San Diego-based provider of telematics infrastructure and transportation technology, every Walmart Private Fleet cab now features an intuitive, interactive tablet device that fully integrates with NTransit, a driver workflow application developed by Walmart’s product and technology teams. The customized onboard computer system was created to provide private-fleet drivers with a world-class technology experience, the business with real-time visibility, and customers with the products that they want, where and when they want them. 

By using Platform Science’s telematics infrastructure solution to deploy the NTransit app, Walmart gives drivers:

  • Better Visibility: The integration provides near real-time visibility of where the company’s assets are within the fleet to ensure that freight arrives on time and in the right location. Stores can anticipate load arrival times and effectively plan their days and labor around truck deliveries. Additionally, customers stand to benefit from this increased visibility and efficiency, since they’ll see shelves stocked in-store and be able to access a more accurate inventory of products available for purchase online.
  • Improved Communication: Walmart’s onboard technology helps drivers in one of the largest private fleets in the country communicate more closely with stores by integrating with store applications, providing a more seamless delivery process. As the driver approaches a store, geolocation technology detects the driver’s location, sending push notifications to store associates’ handheld devices, enabling them to plan for a quick unload and turnaround. The company can also deploy secure audio messages directly with drivers to ensure  that they receive important information while they’re in the field.
  • Productivity and Retention: By removing manual touchpoints, Walmart aimed to create a frictionless workflow so drivers can spend more time driving the truck and less time waiting at fulfillment centers or store deliveries. Platform Science and NTransit integrate seamlessly to coordinate scheduling and navigation, so drivers can travel to their next destination without keying it in. Since unplanned activities sometimes require the driver to do more than operate the truck, the new system creates accountability by permitting drivers to communicate what they accomplished while on the road. That way, they can be compensated for any miles and non-driving activities beyond what was originally planned.

According to a blog post by Scott Donahue, Walmart’s VP, innovation and automation product, the tech deployment has resulted in a “significant increase in driver satisfaction, reflecting the best-in-class experience we want to provide.” Donahue added that the company planned to keep improving and evolving its onboard systems, based on feedback from drivers and store associates. “Walmart will continue to invest in disruptive technologies to take flight in today’s complex retail environment,” he wrote.

Along with these tech innovations, Walmart offers drivers “industry-leading benefits, compensation and development programs,” noted Donahue, who went on to write that the company was actively hiring drivers.

Earlier this month, Walmart noted it has made big strides with its last-mile delivery fleet to include electric delivery vans, drones and self-driving electric cars and class 3 trucks, and that it’s committed to transforming its class 8 trucks through a series of pilots and collaborations. 

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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