In the next several years, twenty-five of Walmart’s regional distribution centers will be equipped with robotics from automation company Symbotic. The agreement between retailer and robotics company is actually an extension of an existing partnership. As automation becomes increasingly important for retailers, especially those operating on a very large scale, Walmart has piloted various programs with robotics startups in rapid succession, some more successful than others. Why the urgency? According to TechCrunch, a certain competitor has Walmart trying very hard to stay at the forefront of emerging technology.
Ask anyone who runs a fulfillment/warehouse robotics company what companies’ top motivation is for embracing automation and they’ll probably cite labor shortages or shipping speeds. The looming truth of the matter boils down to one word: Amazon.