OEM : Retail
What started small, with a single discount store and the simple idea of selling more for less, has grown over the last 50 years into the largest retailer in the world. Each week, approximately 220 million customers and members visit approximately 10,500 stores and clubs under 48 banners in 24 countries and eCommerce websites. With fiscal year 2021 revenue of $559 billion, Walmart employs over 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. It’s all part of our unwavering commitment to creating opportunities and bringing value to customers and communities around the world.
Expanding Walmart’s Market Fulfillment Center Capabilities Through Automation
Today, we are announcing a step forward in the evolution of our supply chain and MFCs. I’m pleased to announce that Walmart has agreed to acquire Alert Innovation, a robotics automation company that develops material-handling technology for automating order fulfillment in retail supply chains. Walmart has been working with Alert to customize technology for our MFCs since 2016. Further investing in this technology will enable us to leverage our store footprint – 4,700 stores located within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. population – for storage and fulfillment. For customers, this means orders can be fulfilled quickly and conveniently through pickup and delivery, giving them the items they want, when and where they want them. This system also enhances the experience for associates, who are integral to helping us perfect the system.
Walmart Amps Up Cloud Capabilities, Reducing Reliance on Tech Giants
Walmart Inc. says it has developed the capability to switch seamlessly between cloud providers and its own servers, saving millions of dollars and offering a road map to other organizations that want to reduce their dependence on giant technology companies.
Walmart and Symbotic Expand Partnership to Implement Industry-Leading Automation System
Symbotic LLC, a revolutionary A.I.-powered supply chain technology company, and Walmart Inc. announced an expanded commercial agreement to implement Symbotic’s robotics and software automation platform in all 42 of Walmart’s regional distribution centers over the coming years. This is an expansion of Walmart’s prior commitment to deploy Symbotic Systems in 25 regional distribution centers.
How Walmart Uses Apache Kafka for Real-Time Replenishment at Scale
Real-time inventory planning has become a must for Walmart in the face of rapidly changing buyer behaviors and expectations. But real-time inventory is only half of the equation. The other half is real-time replenishment, which at a high level, we define as the way we can fulfill the inventory demand at every physical node in the supply chain network. As soon as inventory gets below a certain threshold, and based on many other supply chain parameters like sales forecast, safety stock, current availability of the item at node and its parents, we need to automatically replenish that item in a way that optimizes resources and increases customer satisfaction.
On any given day, Walmart’s real-time replenishment system processes more than tens of billions of messages from close to 100 million SKUs in less than three hours. We leverage an array of processors to generate an order plan for the entire network of Walmart stores with great accuracy and at high throughputs of 85GB messages/min. While doing so, it also ensures there is no data loss through event tracking and necessary replays and retries.
Walmart is quietly preparing to enter the metaverse
Walmart appears to be venturing into the metaverse with plans to create its own cryptocurrency and collection of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. The big-box retailer filed several new trademarks late last month that indicate its intent to make and sell virtual goods, including electronics, home decorations, toys, sporting goods and personal care products. In a separate filing, Walmart said it would offer users a virtual currency, as well as NFTs.
Predicting Defrost in Refrigeration Cases at Walmart using Fourier Transform
As the largest grocer in the United States, Walmart has a massive assembly of supermarket refrigeration systems in its stores across the country. Food quality is an essential part of our customer experience and Walmart spends a considerable amount annually on maintenance of its vast portfolio of refrigeration systems. In an effort to improve the overall maintenance practices, we use preventative and proactive maintenance strategies. We at Walmart Global Tech use IoT data and build algorithms to study and proactively detect anomalous events in refrigeration systems at Walmart.
Forecast Anomalies in Refrigeration with PySpark & Sensor-data
A refrigeration has four important components: Compressor, Condenser Fan, Evaporator Fan & Expansion Valve. Loosely speaking, together they try to keep the pressure at a reasonable level so as to maintain the temperature within (Remember, PV = nRT). In Walmart, we collect sensor data for all of these components (eg. pressure, fan speed, temperature) at a 10 minutes interval along with metrics like if the system is in defrost or not, compressor is locked out or not etc. We also capture outside air temperature as it impacts the condenser fan speed and in turn, the temperature.
The objective is to minimize the number of malfunctions and suggest probable resolutions of the same to save time. So, we leveraged this telemetry information in order to forecast anomalies in temperature, which would help in prioritizing issues and be proactive rather than reactive.
Walmart Is Pulling Plug on More Robots
The retailer is phasing out the hulking automated pickup towers that were erected in more than 1,500 stores to dispense online orders. The decision reflects a growing focus on curbside pickup services that have become more popular during the Covid-19 pandemic and continues a broader retreat from some initiatives to use highly visible automation in stores.
What Walmart learned from its machine learning deployment
As more businesses turn to automation to realize business value, retail’s wide variety of ML use cases can provide insights into how to overcome challenges associated with the technology. The goal should be trying to solve a problem by using ML as a tool to get there, Kamdar said.
For example, Walmart uses a ML model to optimize the timing and pricing of markdowns, and to examine real estate data to find places to cut costs, according to executives on an earnings call in February.
Advantages of Migrating to Cloud for Enterprise Analytics Environment
We are a data team. We spend the bulk of our efforts building out data pipelines from operational systems into our Decision Support infrastructure. We synthesize the analytical data assets from operational data flow and publish these assets for consumption across the enterprise. Our ETL pipelines are built using an in-house ETL framework with workflows that run on Map Reduce and tuned with TEZ parameters and some workloads using Apache Spark. Data flows through a series of logical stages from various sources across the organization into a “Raw Zone”,” Cleansed”, and “Transformed” to build multiple fact tables suitable for the Enterprise team’s use-cases. The data is then flattened and loaded to the consumption layers for ease of business analysis and reporting. These works might be common among most of the companies today, and we hope that our story about overcoming a series of challenges through a cloud migration resonates with you and your teams.
A Markov Chain Formulation for the Grocery Item Picking Process
A major chunk of Walmart business (and most of its markets outside the US) comes from Grocery. Customers place orders online which are then delivered to the shipping address or collected by customers from the store (CnC).
What is common to both modes of fulfillment of an order?
It is the process of picking items done by associates in the store. While the actual process has many complexities like downloading of online orders into the store, figuring out locations of items in store, generation of substitutes, generating optimized number of containers to fulfil an order, generating optimized pickwalks for associates across the store etc., the basic operation performed by the associate is to look at different items in an order (typically between 50–70 items) and add them to the containers.
The case of the missing toilet paper: How the coronavirus exposed U.S. supply chain flaws
Before executives at consumer-goods giant Kimberly-Clark rushed to shut their offices on Friday the 13th of March, they convened for one last emergency meeting. Commuting home that final time, Arist Mastorides, president of family care for North America, stopped at his local Walmart, on the edge of Lake Winnebago in Neenah, Wis., to see the emergency firsthand. Mastorides oversees toilet paper brands like Cottonelle and Scott, but that evening he could find none of his own products. “A long gondola shelf that’s completely empty of bathroom and facial tissue, I never in my life thought I would ever see that,” he says. “That’s a very unsettling thing.”
The algorithms big companies use to manage their supply chains don’t work during pandemics
Even during a pandemic, Walmart’s supply chain managers have to make sure stores and warehouses are stocked with the things customers want and need. COVID-19, though, has thrown off the digital program that helps them predict how many diapers and garden hoses they need to keep on the shelves.
Normally, the system can reliably analyze things like inventory levels, historical purchasing trends, and discounts to recommend how much of a product to order. During the worldwide disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the program’s recommendations are changing more frequently. “It’s become more dynamic, and the frequency we’re looking at it has increased,” a Walmart supply chain manager, who asked not to be named because he didn’t have permission to speak to the media, told The Verge.