Nearly two weeks after announcing plans for a new high-tech distribution center in South Carolina, Walmart aims to build two more in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The project in Lancaster, Texas, includes a 1.5 million-square-foot automated fulfillment center slated to open in 2023 and a 730,000-square-foot automated grocery DC due to open in 2024, Walmart said Tuesday. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant noted that the facilities will be among the biggest automated fulfillment and distribution centers in its network.
Once in operation, the automated facilities will move more than two times the volume of a traditional fulfillment and grocery distribution center, as well as improve the accuracy, quality and speed of the fulfillment and distribution of products, according to Walmart.
“Walmart is excited to welcome two new high-tech facilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to our expanding supply chain network,” Joe Metzger executive vice president of supply chain operations for Walmart U.S., said in a statement. “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.”
Overall, Walmart operates 19 DCs and 593 stores and employs more than 171,000 associates in Texas. The planned Lancaster facilities will create about 1,000 full-time jobs across the region, with 40% of the openings being technical positions requiring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills, Walmart reported.
“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,” commented Karissa Sprague, senior vice president of supply chain human resources 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 up-skilled workforce.”
Last month, Walmart unveils plans to construct a 720,000-square-foot, high-tech distribution center for fresh and frozen food in Lyman, S.C., which will be the retailer’s largest grocery DC to date. Expected to open in 2024, the facility will move twice as much grocery product — including perishables such as produce, eggs, dairy, flowers and frozen goods — in supplying area stores via a combination of manual labor and automation, robotics and machine learning technology, the company said.
In midsummer, Walmart had announced plans to automate 25 of its 42 regional distribution centers (RDCs) with robotics and other automation technology from Wilmington, Mass.-based Symbotic. The scalable system uses a fleet of robots and proprietary software to improve throughput and expand warehouse capacity, cutting the time it takes to unload, sort and stock freight at Walmart stores, the companies said. The partnership with Symbotic also builds on supply chain advances achieved through automation deployments at Walmart’s high-tech consolidation center in Colton, Calif., and its high-tech DC for fresh and frozen groceries in Shafter, Calif.