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Walmart begins to scale microfulfillment centers

Walmart executive states plan to roll out "dozens" of microfulfillment or "local fulfillment center" sites using solutions from providers including Alert Innovation, Fabric, and Dematic

In a corporate blog post today, a Walmart executive announced its plans to roll out more microfulfillment center solutions at “dozens” of stores. The post from Tom Ward, SVP of Customer Product, Walmart U.S., calls these sites local fulfillment centers or “LFCs,” and added that the company will tap various technology partners, including Alert Innovation, Dematic and Fabric, for automation in these LFCs.

According to the post,  “We’re already planning dozens of locations, with many more to come.” An LFC is described as a “compact, modular warehouse built within, or added to, a store.” Under the LFC automation, the post stated, “instead of an associate walking the store to fulfill an order, automated bots retrieve the items from within the fulfillment center. The items are then brought to a picking workstation, where the order can be assembled rapidly.”

Walmart began piloting its first LFC in Salem, New Hampshire, in late 2019. According to Ward, the top benefits include:

• More availability: LFCs will be able to pick more orders and do it quicker, creating more availability for customers.
• Faster fulfillment: The system’s speed can allow orders to be picked up or delivered within the hour.
• Greater efficiency: One LCF can fulfill orders for many stores, which means its benefits can be felt by customers in stores nearby.

“We’re excited about this new chapter for our business and what it means for our customers,” Ward’s post stated.

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About the Author

Roberto Michel's avatar
Roberto Michel
Roberto Michel, senior editor for Modern, has covered manufacturing and supply chain management trends since 1996, mainly as a former staff editor and former contributor at Manufacturing Business Technology. He has been a contributor to Modern since 2004. He has worked on numerous show dailies, including at ProMat, the North American Material Handling Logistics show, and National Manufacturing Week. You can reach him at: [email protected].
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