Walmart’s Supply Chain Connecting Customers with E-Commerce Orders

The expectations for Walmart’s e-commerce business is high coming off of 22% sales growth last year - the momentum builds, but room for improvement has been noted.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is experimenting with “click and connect” and focusing on creating more pickup points for goods ordered online.

The retailers wants to “provide choice and convenience through dynamic distribution points” such as stores and other locations, as well as home delivery, Tracy Rosser, senior vice president for transportation and supply chain for Walmart US said.

Mr. Rosser was addressing an Institute for Supply Management conference this week in Phoenix.

The company is testing such an access point in Bentonville, Ark., where Wal-Mart has its headquarters.

Mr. Rosser compared it to a Sonic fast-food restaurant, where customers can specify a pickup time frame, drive to the location, present an order number, collect ordered items and depart.

Retailers are looking for ways to serve the growing e-commerce market while also maintaining traditional distribution apparatus for their stores.

Tracy Rosser, Wal-Mart's senior vice president for transportation and supply chain

“It’s the biggest change I’ve ever seen”Tracy Rosser, SVP Transportation & Supply Chain, Walmart US

The world’s largest retailer is accustomed to moving “truckloads of merchandise that was going to stores for customers to buy,” said Mr. Rosser, who manages Wal-Mart’s 6,000-truck domestic transportation fleet.

But “now, if you’re supplying Wal-Mart, you’ve got a customer who might have already purchased that product and paid for that product. That requires a whole different level in terms of precision, pickup performance, and distribution through the stores or to the home, because the customer has already given you the money. They want to know when it’s going to be there and what condition it’s going to arrive in,” he said.

Next-day delivery services are “becoming the norm” at some big retail chains and as improves fast delivery by opening fulfillment centers near major population centers, Mr. Rosser said. Wal-Mart has at least 70 home-delivery trucks of its own, and its selection of items available both online and in stores has grown from a few hundred thousand to about 8 million, Mr. Rosser said.

“It’s the biggest change I’ve ever seen,” he said. That said, Wal-Mart’s built-in advantage is that it already has “more than 11,000 nodes of distribution” also known as its physical stores around the world.

Source: Nasdaq

Wal-Mart Builds Supply Chain to Meet E-Commerce Demands
Distribution centers dedicated to online sales are part of a new logistics strategy as the retail industry sees customers take sales online

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and other retailers are trying to build distribution channels dedicated to the special demands of online commerce. Photo: Reuters

Traditional warehouses are built to store pallets of products that are moved by forklifts to and from bays where trucks are loaded and unloaded. An e-commerce facility is fine-tuned for individual items, more like a sorting facility for parcel handling, to be picked and packed for individual shoppers.

Each of Wal-Mart’s new facilities will be more than 1 million square feet and hold at least 500,000 items - much larger than its traditional distribution centers for stores, which hold 30,000 to 50,000 items. Wal-Mart opened an e-commerce center in Texas last year, and like that one, the new buildings will use both human labor and automation, such as computer-controlled chutes, to move items. The new centers will be part of a network for filling online orders that includes traditional buildings, plus 11 existing smaller e-commerce centers and 83 Wal-Mart Supercenters that have been designated “ship-from-store” locations.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Related: Is Anyone Really Completely Omnichannel Ready?

Download the White Paper: The Omnichannel Retail Supply Chain

Article Topics

GT Nexus News & Resources

The Current and Future State of Digital Supply Chain Transformation
Infor Coleman AI Platform to ‘Rethink Supply Chain’ and Maximize Human Work Potential
End-to-End Visibility: Handling the Demands of Retail
Mastering Supply Chain Finance
ERP Suppliers’ Changing Role
New Logistics TMS Platform Sets Sights on SAP
Amazon Selects Infor for Global Logistics Business
More GT Nexus

Latest in Supply Chain

How Businesses Can Strengthen Their Supply Chains & Build Future-Ready Supply Networks
The Elusive AI Based Supply Chain Control Tower Platform
Global Trade Trends Overview with S&P Global Market Intelligence Head
When It Comes to Digital Transformation You May Not Be Doing What You Think
Discover How Procurement is Driving Sustainability
Online Sellers Find Excellent Opportunities to Win More Customers this Easter
How Chief Operating Officers are Achieving Results with Supply Chain Software
More Supply Chain

At GT Nexus, we built a company around a simple but very powerful idea: put a single cloud-based collaboration platform at the center of a huge but enormously inefficient industry - global trade and logistics - and give companies a rapid, low-cost way to enable hundreds of inter-company supply chain processes on a global scale, across entire trading communities, to drive new levels of operational efficiency and business agility. We provide the industry-wide collaboration platform that leaders from nearly every sector rely on to automate trade and logistics operations across their global partner networks. For these companies and their trading partners, GT Nexus is where global trade happens. Today, GT Nexus is the developer and operator of the largest cloud supply chain platform of its kind.

View GT Nexus company profile


Featured Downloads

Warehouse Contingency Planning Template
Warehouse Contingency Planning Template
We’ve taken the guesswork out of warehouse contingency planning with this downloadable editable template; from performing a risk assessment to testing...
AlixPartners 2023 Disruption Index A Bias for Action Sets Growth Leaders Apart
AlixPartners 2023 Disruption Index A Bias for Action Sets Growth Leaders Apart
In their 4th annual AlixPartners Disruption Index, business leaders cite this as the central dilemma, with 85% of CEOs telling us that it...

2023 Digital Transformation Report
2023 Digital Transformation Report
In this 2023 Digital Transformation Report, we share insights gained from our annual research on technology trends and digital transformation and explore the...
The State of Digital Transformation
The State of Digital Transformation
This White Paper Report combines our research findings with insights into what transformation truly entails – plus, guidance from our data and digital...
Multi-Party Orchestration Platform
Multi-Party Orchestration Platform
In this brochure, you'll find a guide to MPO's unified cloud platform for multi-party orchestration, including its rich and flexible solutions: Control...