Here’s what Walmart is doing to accelerate the digitalization of its supply chain, CIO News, ET CIO

The retail industry has seen tectonic shifts in technology lately, and the pace of change has been rapid. With the rise of Industry 4.0, the sector is preparing for a new wave of transformation. Keeping this in mind, Walmart, one of the largest e-commerce organizations, has made substantial improvements with its Walmart Global Tech, which has implemented technologies that were fundamentally necessary for its operation.

As a result, the main focus of the organization has shifted to driving cross-channel customer experiences by empowering colleagues to be successful, productive, effective and efficient. To achieve these goals, they used application integration, automation, and artificial intelligence technologies as helpful tools, helping Walmart employees save time and increase productivity.

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With the rise of online grocery services, order fulfillment speed has taken center stage. So, Walmart has implemented a curbside pickup service for its store optimization. It reduces foot traffic in the store and makes it easier to deliver orders. The globally integrated order fulfillment application virtually queues customers, allowing store staff to prepare orders in advance.

“The app that the associate is using is on our corporate network inside the store can aggregate the relevant data for the particular order that’s being picked up and send it to the store associate through the app she -even, so that he can consult it immediately This is highly optimized and the associate is sent to the particular override without doing anything manually This can be done in different ways, for infrastructure and application level, which minimizes the amount of data that needs to be transferred,” said Hari Vasudev, SVP – Retail Technology Platforms and Country Head, Walmart Global Tech India.

As with the Internet industry, speed is a selling factor. They developed an algorithm that optimizes the selection path to reduce processing time to less than two minutes. Pick path optimization considers the combination of orders and goods an associate needs to pick, then builds an ideal pick path, reducing picking time.

In addition to streamlining multiple orders, they created an ID-based tracking system. Vasudev adds, “As orders arrive at different times of the day, orders need to be grouped better. We solved this problem by generating a pick-sequence-id of the order, which guarantees to be the same or close if another order a Each time an associate requests a pick list, the system groups orders by pick-sequence-id, which groups similar orders into a single pick.

But what happens if the item ordered is not in stock? So they have a smart substitute. This allows them to override the order of the specific goods requested by the customer. They use data and machine learning to examine consumers’ brand affinity as well as their buying habits, then group customers into cohorts to determine what would be a good substitute if the particular item wasn’t. available.

“The success criteria for this are: when we make this substitution, do the customers accept this substitution or not? Because when we make this substitution, we are telling the customer at the time of delivery of the order that he has the choice to accept it or No. The higher the acceptance, the more successful the substitution. We measure the Net Promoter Score (NPS) by understanding how many customers recommend Walmart after going through the purchase process. Based on our analysis of the six months to April 2021, orders with customer accepted substitutions have an NPS score of 77.1%,” he continued.

Key Application Areas

Walmart also has a [email protected] app to track the performance of its staff. While the apps may have fixed issues and introduced a more methodical process, Walmart Global Tech is tackling the app’s challenges, such as its large data footprint and need for a manageable size.

Vasudev says: “Since the movement of data between server and client, it is essential to ensure that the application is of a reasonable size, that it fits comfortably on the device and that it is high performing. These are all challenges I would say on the backend or aspects of the application that are not visible to the associate. But they become a huge bottleneck for the associate if, for example, performance degrades, so the associate won’t wait for the screen to refresh or wait for communication, and that reduces productivity.”

Another set of challenges is developing the app design in an intrusive way for 2.3 million associates across the world in stores, making distribution centers understand the app.

“The third set is that our stores are large and many of our associates have multiple roles. We also want to understand based on where the associate is at any given time, their roles and responsibilities, and the best task to suggest. The idea is that we want to be able to pass tasks to associates so that at all times they know what to do next. Rather than making them guess what to do , the app will tell them about their next step. It makes it easier for them. It takes the stress out of them having to think about the application,” he explained.

Future plans

Speaking of their next focus, Walmart’s Global Technology is poised to launch automation much more aggressively across Walmart’s warehouses and supply chain.

He says, “We partner with companies and develop in-house solutions that allow us to use robotics and automation in our warehouse, allowing us to be much more productive and allowing our associates to focus on higher offers. This means they focus on higher value work and mundane work is done through automation and robotics. This is more specifically for custom supply chains when it comes to using more efficient robotics and automation in our social centers, distribution centers and sorting centers. “


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