Pushing forward with the buildout of its distribution network, Walmart next year plans to open a new high-tech fulfillment center in Lebanon, Tenn.
The 925,000-square-foot automated facility will represent Walmart’s first fulfillment center in Tennessee, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant said yesterday. Located at 1015 Hixson Blvd. in Lebanon, the center is slated to open in the fall of 2022 and will support the company’s expanding supply chain network and e-commerce business.
Walmart noted that the high-tech fulfillment center will create up to 300 full-time jobs and include a combination of associates, artificial intelligence software and robots that work together to speed up shipping of orders to customers. The facility will store millions of items from Walmart’s everyday-low-price merchandise to be delivered directly to customers as soon as the next day, according to the company. Once an online order is placed, a fleet of robots navigates a compact storage system to retrieve products and ferry them to associates for packing. The order then is shipped directly to the customer.
“We’re thrilled to be bringing a new high-tech fulfillment center to the community of Lebanon,” David Guggina, senior vice president of automation and innovation at Walmart U.S., said in a statement. “This facility will include game-changing automation technology that’s radically disrupting the supply chain, improving the customer experience and saving time for associates.”
In Tennessee, Walmart operates three distribution centers and 150 retail stores and employs more than 42,500 associates.
“Walmart’s fulfillment center in Wilson County will play an important role in our broader supply-chain network, focused on fulfilling Walmart.com orders and supporting our promise of free next-day and two-day shipping,” commented Steve Miller, senior vice president of supply chain operations for Walmart U.S. “We’re thrilled to be opening our newest fulfillment center in the great state of Tennessee and look forward to a long relationship with the community of Lebanon.”
The Lebanon high-tech fulfillment center reflects Walmart’s efforts to boost supply chain capacity by using automation to stay ahead of demand, improve the customer experience and raise productivity. In July, the company unveiled plans to automate 25 of its 42 regional distribution centers (RDCs) with robotics and other automation technology.
More recently, Walmart in October said it aims to build a high-tech distribution center for fresh and frozen food in Lyman, S.C., which will be the retailer’s biggest grocery DC to date. Due to open in 2024, the more than 720,000-square-foot 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 retailer noted.
And about two weeks later, in November, Walmart announced plans to build two high-tech DCs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The project in Lancaster, Texas, includes a 1.5 million-square-foot automated fulfillment center expected to open in 2023 and a 730,000-square-foot automated grocery DC slated to open in 2024. Walmart said the facilities will be among the largest automated fulfillment and distribution centers in its network.