Walmart Updates Fleet Driver Tech

The revamped system gives the retail giant a near real-time assessment of freight management.

June 21, 2022

Walmart Truck Driver Technology

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Walmart has begun implementing new technology to help its fleet drivers, including an intuitive, interactive tablet device that integrates with NTransit, a driver workflow application developed by Walmart’s product and technology teams, according to a news release.

Walmart worked with Platform Science, a telematics infrastructure and transportation technology leader, to equip each Walmart Private Fleet cab with the technology. The company has a network of more than 12,000 drivers.

“This customized onboard computer system provides private fleet drivers with a world-class technology experience, the business with real-time visibility and our customers with what they want, where and when they want it,” wrote Walmart in the release.

The technology allows Walmart near real-time visibility of where its assets are within the fleet to ensure freight arrives on time and in the correct location, allowing stores to anticipate load arrival times and effectively plan their days and labor around truck deliveries. Additionally, Walmart says its customers will benefit from this increased visibility and efficiency. They will see shelves stocked in-store and have access to a more accurate inventory of products available for purchase online.

The on-board technology helps drivers better communicate with stores by integrating with store applications. As the driver approaches a store, geolocation technology detects the driver’s location, sending push notifications to store associates’ handheld devices, allowing them to plan for a quick unload and turnaround. Walmart can also deploy secure audio messages directly to its drivers.

Walmart’s goal is to create a frictionless workflow so drivers can spend more time driving the truck and less time waiting at fulfillment centers or store deliveries. Platform Science and NTransit integrate seamlessly to coordinate scheduling and navigation, so drivers can move on to their next destination without keying it in. Walmart’s new system also allows drivers to communicate what they accomplished on the road so they can be compensated for any miles and nondriving activities beyond what was initially planned.

The retail giant recently announced it will now pay its truck drivers up to $110,000 in their first year, and the retailer is launching a 12-week program that allows its supply chain associates in the Dallas, Texas, and Dover, Delaware, areas to earn their commercial driver’s license (CDL) and become long-haul truck drivers for Walmart.

Walmart currently pays its drivers an average about $87,500 in their first year. The median pay for truck drivers is $47,130 per year, which is higher than the median for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average private fleet driver earns more than $86,000 a year, according to ATA.

Walmart also said it will open four "next generation" fulfillment centers over the next three years. The centers will be the “first of their kind” for Walmart and will use a combination of people, robotics and machine learning.

Walmart has also said it is homing in on delivering convenience to its customers.

“We’ve watched in real time as people foundationally changed their shopping habits, spurred not just by a global pandemic, but by the expectation for availability to also mean convenience,” wrote Walmart. “That need for convenience led to six times the number of customers using delivery in the fourth quarter compared to pre-pandemic levels, signaling a huge change in how our customers shop.”