Walmart acquires Alert Innovation to improve order fulfillment automation
Walmart announced late Thursday (Oct. 6) the acquisition of Alert Innovation, a Massachusetts-based robotics company that develops technology that automates order fulfillment. Walmart did not disclose financial terms of the deal.
The retail giant has been partnering with Alert since 2016 to customize technology used in conjunction with online grocery pickup and the market fulfillment centers (MFCs) Walmart is adding to its supply chain.
David Guggina, senior vice president of innovation and automation, Walmart U.S., said the investments in this technology will enable the company to leverage its store footprint – 4,700 stores located within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. population – for storage and fulfillment.
In late 2019, Walmart piloted its first MFC at a supercenter store in Salem, N.H., using custom-built Alphabot System bot technology from Alert. He said the system also enhances the experience for employees who are integral to helping Walmart perfect the system.
Walmart said the bot technology is notable within the industry as the system retrieves, stores and dispenses orders by moving horizontally, laterally and vertically across three temperature zones without any lifts or conveyers. The technology is also used in Walmart Store No. 5260 in Rogers and in the new MFC located next to Walmart Store No. 100 in Bentonville.
“Bringing the best of Alert’s technology and capabilities in-house will enable us to reach customers quicker by deploying MFCs with greater speed, providing both an unmatched shopping experience and a competitive advantage in omnichannel fulfillment,” Guggina said.