Walmart recently announced its plans to acquire Alert Innovation, a robotics automation company that develops material-handling technology for automating order fulfillment in retail supply chains, media reported.
Walmart has been working with Alert to customize the technology for its market fulfillment centres (MFCs) since 2016, David Guggina, senior vice president of innovation and automation of Walmart US, told the media.
In late 2019, Walmart began piloting its first MFC in Salem, New Hampshire, using bot technology from Alert specifically built for Walmart.
The bot technology is notable within the industry, due to its fully autonomous bots that store, retrieve and dispense orders by moving horizontally, laterally, and vertically across three temperature zones without any lifts or conveyors.
This provides fewer space constraints inside the MFC and eliminates the need to pause the entire system for bot maintenance.
Further investing in this technology will enable us to leverage our store footprint—4,700 stores located within 10 miles of 90% of the US population—for storage and fulfillment.
For customers, this means orders can be fulfilled quickly and conveniently through pickup and delivery, giving them the items they want, and when and where they want them.
This system also enhances the experience for associates, who are integral to helping us perfect the system, Guggina wrote on the company website.