MCCORDSVILLE, Ind.—Walmart has opened a new 2.2 million square foot fulfillment center, which is the company’s largest fulfillment center to date. Located 20 miles northeast of Indianapolis in McCordsville, the center will allow Walmart to fulfill more orders more quickly, according to a statement by Walmart.
The space is Walmart’s largest fulfillment center to date and is designed to expand access to the retailer’s next- or two-day shipping. The McCordsville fulfillment center is the second of four next-generation facilities Walmart plans to open. These locations combine people, technology and machine learning to achieve faster shipping and delivery, says Walmart.
Combined with the rest of Walmart’s fulfillment network, these next-generation fulfillment centers will enable the retailer to reach 95% of the U.S. population with the service.
“The McCordsville grand opening marks a major milestone in our supply chain modernization journey,” said Karisa Sprague, senior vice president, fulfillment network operations for Walmart U.S. “With more customers shopping online, we’re leveraging state-of-the-art technology to increase speed of delivery all while creating tech empowered career opportunities for our associates.”
Walmart said the fulfillment centers will be the “first of their kind” for Walmart. The retailer partnered with Knapp, a tech company for intelligent fulfillment solutions, to implement an automated, high-density storage system, Symbiotic, that streamlines a manual, 12-step process into five steps. Walmart has tested this system in its Pedricktown, New Jersey, fulfillment center; some of the benefits of the new technology include more comfort for associates, double the storage capacity and twice the number of customer orders Walmart can fulfill in a day.
In April, CNBC reported that Walmart has increased its use of automation and robots in its 1.4 million square foot warehouse in Brooksville, Florida, the first distribution center for shelf-stable household items—including packaged foods—with such technology.
By the end of January 2024, the retailer will add the Symbotic technology to each of its 42 regional distribution centers, with around a third of its locations receiving shipments from automated facilities.
Walmart has said in the past that it is honing 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.”
With automation growing in importance, read “Who’s Minding the Store?” in the February 2023 issue of NACS Magazine to stay in the know.