According to a press release from Walmart, the new MFC opened in Bentonville, Arkansas, on Monday (May 22), in response to a proof-of-concept that was initiated in Salem, New Hampshire, in January 2020.
According to the news announcement, Alphabot, a system that uses autonomous carts to gather things ordered for online grocery delivery, powers both MFCs. Once the products are at a workstation, a Walmart employee confirms, bundles, and delivers the order.
Store manager for the Bentonville location Ryan Simpson said, “This new order fulfillment system is truly game-changing.” It not only allows us the chance to continue growing our business in the present and the future, but it also enhances the client experience through quicker, more accurate online order fulfillment.
The first MFC powered by Alphabot was unveiled in Salem with the intention of serving as a pilot for the technology and being tested for future advancements before going nationwide.
Walmart said that automated supermarket systems like Alphabot could choose and pack goods 10 times more rapidly than a person as the demand for online grocery delivery services rose. Potentially increasing order capacity.
The MFCs are built inside of present stores, increasing the ability of the locations to be used as fulfillment centers, according to the news release from Monday.
The news announcement claims that technology enables companies to handle many more orders in a single day, frees up staff to help customers as they shop in-store, creates new leadership positions, and presents new opportunities to learn technical skills.