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Walmart to add Symbotic automation system at DCs

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BENTONVILLE, Ark.  — Walmart plans to implement Symbotic’s robotics and software automation platform in all 42 of its U.S. regional distribution centers, the companies announced on Monday. This is an expansion of Walmart’s prior commitment to deploy Symbotic Systems in 25 regional distribution centers.

“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,” said David Guggina, senior vice president of innovation and automation at 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.”

Symbotic says its software-enabled robotics platform will help Walmart’s modernize its vast supply chain network and allow the retailer’s regional distribution centers to respond more quickly to store orders, increase inventory accuracy and have a higher capacity for receiving and shipping freight to stores. The technology’s ability to build palletized loads of department-sorted inventory will ultimately enable Walmart to get products onto shelves at its more than 4,700 stores more quickly, the company says, while also making one of the toughest aspects of supply chain work — material handling — safer and simpler. It will also create new, tech-enabled jobs, such as cell operator and maintenance technician, that offer 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,” Symbotic chairman, president and chief product officer Rick Cohen said. “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.”

Symbotic describes its system as a first-of-a-kind automation technology platform with a wide range of business use cases. The company says it reinvented the traditional warehouse with an end-to-end system powered by a fleet of fully autonomous robots and A.I.-powered software. Combined with a unique high-density physical structure the system promises to improve efficiency, accuracy and agility while reducing costs. Symbotic software orchestrates a team of robots to receive, store and retrieve a virtually limitless number of SKUs, the company says, using proprietary end-of-arm tools and vision systems to output cases, totes and packages at industry-leading speeds.


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