MENOMONIE, Wis. (WFRV) – Walmart has announced a multi-million dollar investment for their regional distribution center in Menomonie, Wisconsin.
According to a release, the investment is part of a broader initiative with automated technology to continue modernizing Walmart’s vast supply chain network. The upgrades are expected to increase the speed, efficiency, and safety at which products are distributed. The first phase of the renovation will be completed by the end of 2022.
“Walmart’s Menomonie distribution center has been a pillar in our community for the last 29 years, and we’re honored to transform our building into an industry-leading, high-tech distribution center. This isn’t just an investment in our facility, but also our associates, our community, and our future. I couldn’t be prouder to be at the forefront of Walmart’s supply chain transformation,” said Marcea Weiss, General Manager, Regional Distribution Center #6025, Walmart U.S.
Menomonie locals are excited about the change, including Mayor Randy Knaack. “Walmart plays a large role in the economic impact of the Menomonie area. They are one of the area’s largest employers and a noted supplier of goods and services to Menomonie and the surrounding community. Congratulations on the new innovations at Walmart that will streamline the effectiveness of their ability to serve the community for many years to come.”
Walmart’s supply chain is currently undergoing a digital transformation to ensure customers can get the items they want, when and how they want them. Officials say this new, revolutionary technology investment uses a combination of AI-powered software systems, robotics, and automation to sort, store, retrieve and pack merchandise onto pallets which are then shipped to stores. For customers, this means they’ll find that products get onto shelves even faster.
“Our regional distribution center in Menomonie is a high-volume facility that works hard to ensure stores in the surrounding areas are stocked with the items customers need,” said David Guggina, senior vice president of innovation & automation, Walmart U.S. “Adding game-changing 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, and we’re just getting started.”
Walmart officials say altogether, the technology transforms existing regional distribution centers into high-density, automated facilities that provide faster product intake, increased inventory accuracy, and a 2X increase in building capacity. It’s expected to save store associates time by creating store and aisle-ready pallets, which take the guesswork out of unloading trucks and provide them with more time to serve customers.
The technology is also expected to increase associate safety while evolving strenuous, manual jobs into those that offer new skills in robotics and technology, which are more fulfilling and result in long-term employment.
“Most of my previous jobs in supply chain have been physically demanding, but in my new role as cell operator, the machine does the majority of the physical labor,” said Trish Bobel, a cell operator in Walmart’s Brooksville, Florida regional distribution center. “My new role is more intellectually stimulating and provides me with a sense of pride and accomplishment because I’ve been able to master the technology.”
More information on Walmart’s investment in its regional distribution centers can be found here.