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Walmart’s High-Tech Plans Includes 4 New Plants

Walmart plans to open four new fulfillment centers over the next three years as the company embraces automation.

Walmart (WMT) plans to open four new fulfillment centers by 2025 starting with one in Illinois, which will open this summer. The plants will feature high-tech advances which are expected to allow the retail giant to process orders faster. Automation technology will pick out products and transport them to employees, who are then tasked with packing the item into a box.

The company said it will hire 4,000 workers for the new facilities and pay them up to $28 an hour.

Robot Rollout

The additional fulfillment centers are being rolled out in tandem with upgrades to other parts of the retailer’s network, as it works to accommodate demand from online shoppers. Walmart has implemented automation at dozens of its stores to process orders and has announced it will introduce robotics to 42 regional distribution centers.

The moves will arguably help the company to better compete with Amazon (AMZN) by allowing it to turn around orders more efficiently. For consumers it could mean more one and two-day delivery options for common items like cereal and t-shirts.

Safety and Efficiency

The automation evolution may be cheered by both workers and shoppers alike. The use of robots could increase employee safety by taking over tasks such as heavy lifting, or grabbing items off of high shelves. For consumers the big win is faster ecommerce from a wider range of sources.

As the competition heats up in online shopping, industry observers say more retailers are likely to jump on the automation bandwagon. It also seems to indicate ecommerce purchases are likely to arrive on the doorstep sooner rather than later.

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James Flippin ABOUT James Flippin James Flippin is the son of a financial advisor who grew up hearing and learning about bond yields, interest rates, the stock market, and the ins and outs of Wall Street. After stints as a licensing and business broker for Marcus and Millichap in New York City, James moved into broadcasting and became a reporter and anchor. He covered crime, politics, finance, and tech at NBC News Radio while working part-time as a producer for SiriusXM. James graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics. He's also an accomplished podcaster with over 10-years of experience.

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