Walmart announced it will launch a first for its supply chain come July: a 340,000-square-foot state-of-the-art consolidation center created with the intent of optimizing how the company receives, sorts, and ships freight. The grocer selected Colton, California, as the location for the new automated facility.
“We’re going to make the regional distribution centers more efficient,” stated Geno Bell, Senior Director of the Consolidation Center Network. “With this new technology, we can be surgical and responsive in getting merchandise into stores.”
The Colton center will open with 150 full-time associates and then scale up to more than 600 associates by 2021. In a press release, Walmart said the facility, which will be the most efficient consolidation center in its supply chain, will allow it to move three times as many cases as before.
While Walmart has built consolidation centers before this one, the process has always been manual. As the process exist today, suppliers must create and ship 42 separate orders and forward each to one of 42 regional distribution centers. The new system, according to Walmart, enables suppliers to fill one large order instead. The software will automatically and immediately scan and count the product when it arrives then document the information in Walmart’s systems.
Because the new center is also a warehouse, this also means Walmart will be able to react and move product more quickly. The retailer gives the example of, if there happened to be an unexpected blizzard in the Northeast U.S., products like extra space heaters could be sent quickly from Minnesota to New England—potentially before a storm even hits.
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