Walmart Canada’s supply chain gets a high-tech makeover: how we’re embracing robotics and automation

March 21, 2024

As a people-led, tech-powered company, Walmart Canada is making a significant investment in the modernization of its legacy distribution centres over the next five years to help associates in their day-to-day tasks. This is part of the company's mission to expand, revolutionize and transform its best-in-class supply chain to better serve its associates and Canadian customers.

The high-tech makeover includes the introduction of material handling robotics and automation technologies that’ll keep operations bustling and improve ergonomics for associates. And to kick things off, Walmart Canada is piloting an automated receiving solution at their Regional Distribution Centre (RDC) in Calgary, Alberta.

This solution is a game-changer, making the process of getting products from trailers into the facility 90% faster than doing it manually. Talk about a speedy upgrade! Not only does it boost productivity, but it reduces strain on associates, increases shipping accuracy, and enhances data and analytics. It’s a win-win!

The automated receiving solution will be rolled out across Walmart Canada’s distribution network following the pilot, with other technologies to follow.

People-led, tech-powered

Walmart Canada continues to invest in its supply chain network to get customers the products they want at the everyday low prices they expect from Walmart – faster than ever before. As part of this investment, the company is accelerating the adoption of new technologies to assist its associates in their day-to-day.  

“Walmart Canada is on a tech-powered journey and this investment ensures we can deliver for our customers in Canada, now and in the future,” said Matt Kelly, VP, Supply Chain, Walmart Canada. “As a people-led tech-powered company, we pair exceptional talent with innovative solutions, to make our supply chain network work harder for our customers.”

From Box to Bot

The tech behind this transformation is seriously cool as various parts work together seamlessly. Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) will be zipping around, transporting received pallets of products to processing stations. Robotic depalletizers will impressively place the received pallets directly onto conveyors. And to finish it off, Auto Case Label Applicators will automatically scan and apply shipping labels to packages as they flow through to the shipping dock. It's like having a team of high-tech assistants working side by side with associates!

Early feedback from associates at Walmart Canada's Calgary RDC has been incredible. Joanne Hodder, an Operations Manager at the Calgary RDC, shared her excitement, saying, "It's been so exciting to work alongside this new technology. The integration of robotics and automation has allowed us to maximize our receiving volume while reducing the physical demand on our associates. It's made our day-to-day work better."

Walmart Canada has 16 active distribution and fulfilment centres from coast to coast, employing nearly 7,000 associates. These facilities enable the distribution of products directly to stores and bring two-day shipping to 97% of Canadian households.