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07/13/2022

Walmart expands e-commerce fulfillment infrastructure

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Walmart has opened a new distribution facility in Pennsylvania (Photo: Business Wire).

Walmart is opening a new fulfillment center dedicated to e-commerce and third-party marketplace orders.

The discount giant is launching the new 1.8 million-sq.-ft. facility in Shippensburg, Penn. Originally announced in March 2022, the center will be used to store millions of items available at Walmart.com, that are then picked, packed and shipped directly to customers.

The new state-of-the-art facility will also fulfill Marketplace items shipped by Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS), Walmart’s end-to-end fulfillment service for third-party e-commerce sellers. The facility is actively hiring workers, with a goal to hire up to 600 local full-time associates by the end of the year.

Walmart adds supply chain capacity
Unlike distribution centers, which are focused on receiving, storing, and distributing product to Walmart stores, the company’s fulfillment centers are focused on storing millions of items that are picked, packed and shipped directly to customers as soon as the next day.

The facility is part of a broader initiative to add more capacity into Walmart’s supply chain as the retailer prepares for growth. Walmart has been ramping up its supply chain infrastructure, from expanding its successful pilot of store-based, high-tech “local fulfillment centers to applying artificial intelligence to the palletizing of products in its regional distribution centers. More recently, the discount giant said it will fulfill online orders placed on Walmart.com from a hub in Salt Lake City, scheduled to open in summer 2022. The company also plans to build a high-tech distribution center for fresh and frozen groceries in Spartanburg County, S.C., as well as two high-tech supply chain hubs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and a high-tech center in Lebanon, Tenn. where human associates, artificial intelligence (AI) software, and automated robots working together to ship orders to customers as efficiently as possible.

Walmart has also begun using multi-temperature autonomous box trucks from Gatik to move online grocery orders from a fulfillment-only dark store to a nearby Walmart Neighborhood Market store in its headquarters city of Bentonville, Ark. 

In addition, Walmart has built a tech platform that powers its last-mile delivery ecosystem. Agnostic to supply and demand, and built around its own marketplace, the platform uses automation and machine learning to turn a near-infinite number of factors into usable data.

“We are excited about the addition of this state-of-the-art fulfillment center and the increased shipping speed it will provide for our customers. Especially with the holiday season right around the corner,” said Karisa Sprague, senior VP fulfillment network operations, Walmart U.S. “I’m proud of how our Shippensburg team has come together and is already playing an active role in the local community.”

“I look forward to seeing the positive impact this team and facility will have on the Southern Pennsylvania region and Walmart customers in the northeast,” said Josh Michaliszyn, GM, Fulfillment Center #7380, Walmart U.S. “I’m so happy to be celebrating this incredible facility alongside members of our community and our associates who will play an important role in serving our customers.”

Headquartered in Bentonville, Ark., Walmart Inc. operates more than 10,500 stores and clubs under 46 banners in 24 countries and e-commerce websites.