Walmart Inc. will open its first automated consolidation center in Colton, Calif., in July to support the retail giant's supply chain, the company said Jan. 14.
The 340,000-square-foot high-tech facility will receive general merchandise items, such as toys and kitchen appliances from suppliers, consolidate the shipments in a full truckload and ship them to regional distribution centers, similar to consolidation centers currently in Walmart's network.
However, Walmart said its current centers have manual processes in place that can result in order inaccuracies and additional cost to ship products.
The new system will allow Walmart's suppliers to fulfill one order for the whole supply chain instead of 42 separate orders for each of its distribution centers. The facility will also be equipped with software that counts and documents inventory, enabling regional centers to focus on distributing products to stores.
Walmart said the site will open with 150 full-time staff and will grow to employ more than 600 associates by 2021.
The announcement comes around three months after Walmart broke ground on a tech-enabled perishable grocery distribution center in Shafter, Calif., which is expected to start operating by the fall of 2020.