Walmart Goes High-Tech in Distribution Center Upgrade

AI-powered robotics and automation will help the big-box giant streamline regional distribution centers.

October 28, 2022

PALESTINE, Texas—Walmart has transformed a Texas distribution center as a high-tech automation center. The multi-million-dollar renovation now includes a combination of AI-powered software systems, robotics and automation to sort, store, retrieve and pack merchandise onto pallets which are then shipped to stores.

“Adding game-changing automation and AI-powered software systems to this facility will revolutionize an already impressive operation, changing the way we distribute products to stores, and we’re just getting started,” said Mike Gray, senior vice president, supply chain operations at Walmart.

The Palestine, Texas, regional distribution center transformation is part of Walmart’s broader initiative announced last year to renovate all 42 regional distribution centers with automated technology. Walmart says its regional distribution centers are a strategic part of Walmart’s broader supply chain network and exist to keep its more than 4,700 stores stocked with food items, home goods and tech gadgets.

One renovated, the updated regional distribution centers become high-density, automated facilities that provide faster product intake, increased inventory accuracy and increased building capacity, according to Walmart. The technology also works to keep employees safer and created new jobs in robotics and technology. New jobs include cell operator and maintenance technician.

During the grand opening ceremony, Walmart presented two $2,000 donations to local independent school districts, Grapeland and Palestine, along with a $3,000 donation to the East Texas Food Bank.

Walmart has 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.”