Walmart has taken a stake in automation technology company Symbotic, amounting to 11.1% of the company’s total common stock and 4.3% of its voting power, according to a securities filing.
The disclosure comes after the retail giant announced in May that it was bringing Symbotic’s automation technology to all 42 of its regional distribution centres over the next eight years, an expansion of a previous partnership.
At the time, Walmart said Symbotic’s system would increase its capacity to ship and receive products to stores and enhance its inventory accuracy.
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Symbotic has tailored its AI-powered systems, first trialled in a Walmart distribution centre in Florida in 2017, to meet the retailers needs, Walmart executive vice president of supply chain operations Joe Metzger said back in May.
The technology operates “with a precision that speeds the intake process and increases the accuracy of freight being stored for future orders,” he said.
Earlier this year, Walmart chief financial officer Brett Biggs also alluded to Symbotic technology helping to reduce time-consuming, labour-intensive work like unloading trucks.
“You can redeploy people to jobs they’d rather do, higher value,” Biggs said at a conference in March.