Walmart expands orders for warehouse robotics from Symbotic

Warehouse robotics vendor Symbotic LLC is expanding its ties with Walmart Inc. and now plans to provide its robotics and software automation platform in all 42 of the retail giant’s regional distribution centers over the coming years, up from its previous plan to implement the technology at 25 of those sites.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Symbotic said it now has a backlog of more than $11 billion in committed sales, up from its previous level of $5.3 billion on March 1.

Also today, the company reported financial results for its parent entity, Warehouse Technologies LLC, for the second quarter of fiscal 2022, ended March 26. The firm posted revenue of $96.3 million in that period for a loss of $26.2 million in adjusted EBITDA and a loss of $29.9 million in net income.

Wilmington, Massachusetts-based Symbotic makes an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered automated material handling system that builds palletized loads of department-sorted inventory. It also uses end-of-arm tools and vision systems to output cases, totes, and packages at high speeds. The firm says those approaches help Walmart get products onto the shelves of its more than 4,700 stores more quickly, including faster responsiveness to store orders, higher capacity in its DCs, and greater inventory accuracy.

“The expanded partnership with Walmart substantiates how our technology is truly reinventing the traditional warehouse and distribution of consumer goods across the supply chain,” Rick Cohen, Symbotic’s chairman, president, and chief product officer, said in a release. “As a technology platform with deep roots in warehousing and distribution – our system addresses some of the biggest challenges of today’s complex supply chain, such as inventory agility, transportation cost, and labor availability.”

Symbotic first implemented its autonomous “Symbot” robots in Walmart’s Brooksville, Florida, DC in 2017 and the parties have been optimizing the system together ever since. They increased the implementation of that system to 25 sites in 2021, and later that year, Symbotic announced a plan to go public on the NASDAQ stock exchange sometime in the first half of 2022.

“The need for accuracy and speed in the supply chain has never been more visible, and we’re confident that now is the time to move even faster by scaling Symbotic’s technology to our entire regional distribution center network,” David Guggina, senior vice president of Innovation and Automation, Walmart U.S., said in a release. “Using high-speed robotics and intelligent software to organize and optimize inventory, the Symbotic System helps us get products to our customers quickly and seamlessly by revolutionizing how we receive and distribute products to stores.” 

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