Walmart is set to break ground on its first high-tech distribution centre for fresh and frozen groceries which, it says, will be more efficient, feature innovative technology and new jobs.
Set to open fall 2020, the new distribution centre in Shafter, California will use WITRON technology to process grocery perishables – produce, eggs, dairy, flowers and frozen goods.
The new centre will move 40% more product than a traditional distribution centre, which, Walmart says, will result in “fewer crushed strawberries”.
This will allow the company to move more product to stores and clubs faster by using new technology to undertake the heavy lifting and traditional manual labour.
Shayne Wahlmeier, one of the engineers on the project, said: “Every product is measured and documented so that we know how to handle it.
“A computer algorithm shows all the cases ordered for a given store and determines how to palletize them to maximize the space on a pallet or trailer. It also takes into account density – what’s crushable, what’s not.”
Because the technology is helping associates build a more flexible, dense pallet, more products will be able to fit onto a truck. This will reduce transportation costs, and those savings can be passed on to customers.