Walmart pilots robotics and automation at Calgary distribution centre as part of modernization plan

Tech will be rolled out across the retailer's distribution network following the pilot
Jillian Morgan, female, digital editor for Canadian Grocer
walmart calgary DC automation robotics
The project kicks off at the retailer’s distribution centre in Calgary. Photography courtesy Walmart Canada

Walmart Canada is piloting an automated receiving solution at its distribution centre in Calgary as part of the retailer’s plan to modernize its supply chain.

Over the next five years, Walmart aims to upgrade its legacy distribution centres, leveraging tech like material handling robotics and automation.

The project kicks off at the retailer’s Regional Distribution Centre (RDC) in Calgary.

In addition to reducing manual lifting and strain on associates, the automated solution promises to get products from trailers into the facility 90% faster. The technology also increases shipping accuracy and enhances data and analytics, Walmart said.

Here’s how it works: Autonomous mobile robots transport received pallets of products to processing stations, where robotic depalletizers place received pallets directly onto conveyors. Applicators automatically scan and apply shipping labels to packages as they flow through to the shipping dock.

The technology will be rolled out across Walmart Canada’s distribution network following the pilot, with other technologies to follow, the company said.  

“Walmart Canada is on a Tech Powered journey and this investment ensures we can deliver for our customers in Canada, now and in the future,” said Matt Kelly, VP, supply chain, Walmart Canada, in a statement. “As a people-led tech-powered company, we pair exceptional talent with innovative solutions, to make our supply chain network work harder for our customers.”

Walmart Canada has 16 active distribution and fulfilment centres from coast to coast, employing nearly 7,000 associates.

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