Columbus NCR plants to make 10,000 self-checkout machines for Walmart

The Columbus plants operated by NCR Corp. will have a major hand in making equipment for 10,000 self-checkout lanes to be installed in more than 1,200 Walmart stores nationwide, the company confirmed today.

“As it stands now, the majority of those things will be made in Columbus,” said Mark Scott, a spokesman with NCR’s corporate headquarters in Duluth, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta.

“The production will start probably toward the end of December or early January because the rollout is going to be throughout 2013,” he said.

The Columbus operation now employs more than 500 people, Scott said, although that number does not appear likely to grow with the new Walmart contract.

“Self checkouts are already made there, so we won’t be having to add any kind of lines or reconfigure anything,” he said.

Aside from the self-checkout equipment, the Columbus operation manufacturers automated teller machines (ATMs), point-of-sale systems used for manned checkout lanes, as well as product bar-code scanners that are common in supermarkets and other retail outlets.

NCR’s Columbus presence includes a 340,000-square-foot plant in Corporate Ridge Business Park and a 100,000-square-foot facility in Muscogee Technology Park.

The smaller building opened last spring in a former Cessna Aircraft facility, with NCR saying it would make electronic point-of-sale systems for the retail, restaurant and hospitality sectors. Company executives said at the time it would add 100 jobs locally, on top of the 500 existing positions.

The larger NCR plant opened inside a retrofitted battery plant in late 2009, only months after the company unveiled plans to relocate its longtime global headquarters from Dayton, Ohio, to Georgia. The firm pledged to create 3,000 jobs in the state by 2013.

As part of the mega-deal, Columbus snagged ATM production, with NCR committing to employ 870 workers here within the same timeframe.

At one time, the manufacturer had a contract to make Blockbuster Express DVD rental kiosks for Publix supermarkets, with production in Columbus. Scott said that work was discontinued earlier this year.

NCR, historically known as National Cash Register Co., said Monday that Walmart already is a major customer. It cited a recent in-house company survey of shoppers indicating the acceptance of self-checkout lanes is growing.

“Shoppers and retailers recognize the speed and value self checkout provides and shoppers tell us they are eager to see it expanded into other retail segments,” Scott Kingsfield, senior vice president and general manager of NCR Retail, said in a statement.

The company estimates 300 million consumer transactions are conducted each day through the equipment it manufactures.