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Walmart comes up with new consolidation centre

19
Jan '19
Courtesy: Walmart
Courtesy: Walmart
Walmart has come up with a new high-tech consolidation centre in Colton, California - the first in Walmart’s supply chain to receive, sort and ship freight. This automated technology will enable three times more volume to flow throughout the centre and helps Walmart deliver the right product to the right store, so customers can find the products they need.

This massive Walmart-owned centre, which will open in July with 150 full-time associates, can move three times as many cases. It will grow to employ more than 600 associates by 2021. With the combined might of people and world-class logistic technology, this facility will be the most efficient consolidation centre in Walmart’s supply chain.

Walmart continues to expand its portfolio of high-tech distribution centers. In October, Walmart announced that it had broken ground on a tech-enabled perishable grocery distribution centre in Shafter, California.

Consolidation centres have a specialised role in moving products quickly on their journey to the customer. These centres receive less than a truckload (known in the industry as LTL) of general merchandise items like toys and kitchen appliances from suppliers, consolidate quantities of this freight in a full truckload (TL) and ship it to regional distribution centres. This allows Walmart’s 42 regional centres to focus on the next step – distributing products to stores.

Consolidation centres take multiple orders and consolidate them to make the process more efficient for distribution centres across the country. Walmart has consolidation centres, but the process is manual. Right now, merchandise suppliers create and ship 42 separate orders through the same consolidation centre that then forwards the orders on to each of the 42 regional distribution centres where they are officially received and counted. This makes reacting to order inaccuracies a challenge, because associates may not discover them until the orders are planned to be at the store.

If Walmart ordered toothpaste, and the request was accidentally fulfilled with mouthwash, associates won’t know until the product reaches the regional distribution centres. This means a customer looking for specific toothpaste brands or flavours will experience out of stocks for several shopping trips. The new system enables suppliers to fill one massive order instead of 42. New software automatically scans and counts the product immediately when it arrives and documents the information, so Walmart will be able to react faster to order-filling issues.

Automating the receiving upstream in the consolidation centre allows supply chain teams to group products based on how they are stocked, making unloading simpler. “We’re going to make the regional distribution centres more efficient,” said Geno Bell, senior director of the consolidation centre network.

The new centre is also a warehouse. When it comes to reacting to unexpected events such as sudden changes in weather, having products separated and stored further upstream allows Walmart’s supply chain to react even faster to get the right products to the right places. “With this new technology, we can be surgical and responsive in getting merchandise into stores,” Bell continued. (SV)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India


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