Walmart is planning to make a multi-million-dollar investment in its Cullman regional distribution center. It is part of the company’s initiative with Symbotic LLC, originally announced in 2021, to modernize its supply chain with artificial intelligence-powered robotics and software automation.
Once the renovation is complete, the distribution center in Cullman will be able to ship nearly double the number of cases compared to a traditional regional distribution center, while evolving strenuous, manual jobs into those that offer new skills in robotics and technology.
“Walmart’s Cullman distribution center has been a pillar in our community for the last 40 years,” said Ken Caviness, general manager, Regional Distribution Center #6006, Walmart U.S. “Adding robotics, automation and AI-powered software systems to this facility will revolutionize an already impressive operation, fundamentally changing the way we distribute products to stores.”
Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs said, “This automation investment by Walmart confirms that Cullman has been a great partner community. No industry here can match the jobs created by Walmart over the past 40 years and this investment guarantees they will continue providing quality jobs for the foreseeable future.”
Regional distribution centers are a strategic part of Walmart’s supply chain network, keeping its more than 4,700 stores stocked with merchandise. The new process will use a combination of people, robotics and massive storage systems to increase the speed at which the retailer sends merchandise to stores, ensuring products get onto shelves faster.
“The improvements we’re making in our Cullman, Alabama, distribution center will be felt by store associates and customers in the surrounding region,” said Rachel Nash, regional general manager, Southeast Operations, Walmart U.S. “For our store associates, these improvements will make it significantly easier and faster to stock shelves, which results in our customers having the items they want, when they want them.”
The new system works to sort, store, retrieve and pack freight onto pallets. The old system was more labor-intensive, with employees manually moving and storing goods in the warehouse and then packing the 53-foot trailers to get the products to the stores.
The new system uses dense modular storage, expanding Walmart’s current buildings’ capacity. The high-speed palletizing robotics also organize and optimize the freight, so that it is store- and aisle-ready, taking the guesswork out of unloading the trucks at the stores.
In addition to the five distribution centers, Walmart has 144 retail stores in Alabama. It employs 41,029 associates in the state.