Business

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at How Walmart Delivers

Since the 1960s, the ability to replenish stores and clubs quickly and efficiently has been a key contributor to Walmart’s success. But have you ever wondered how the products you buy get there in the first place? Or how your online order gets from fulfillment to your door - fast? Here’s a look inside how it all happens.

Humble beginnings. Walmart’s distribution network began in a rented garage in the 1960s. The first distribution center opened in 1970, and is now used as office space as part of the company’s Home Office in Bentonville, Ark.


Size and scale. Our distribution and transportation operation is one of the largest in the world, serving stores, clubs and direct delivery to customers with 163 distribution centers. Walmart Logistics is made up of 93,000 associates, including 7,900 drivers. 


Anything but average. An average facility serves 90-100 stores within a 200-mile radius. A regional distribution center can have up to 12 miles of conveyor belts capable of moving hundreds of thousands of cases through the center each day. Many of the facilities provide a unique merchandise assortment for specific stores; for example, a Walmart grocery distribution center is equipped to house up to 4 million bananas at one time.


Always prepared. Walmart has six disaster distribution centers strategically located across the country. They're stocked with relief supplies needed to assist communities with recovery.


Miles to go. Collectively, Walmart’s fleet drivers log approximately 700 million miles per year. The average Walmart truck driver logs more than 100,000 miles annually – the equivalent of about four trips around the world! And they work with safety in mind: The fleet has been named the “Safest Fleet” of its kind 12 out of the last 16 years.


Efficient design. In 2005, Walmart committed to a momentous goal: doubling the efficiency of our fleet by the end of 2015. By working with our associates to establish more efficient techniques for loading, routing and driving, as well as through collaboration with tractor trailer manufacturers on new technologies, we achieved this goal. With new efficiencies, our year-end results were a 102.2% improvement over our 2005 baseline, with associated savings of nearly $1 billion annually.


Cleaner energy. Walmart U.S. operates the largest fleet of forklifts powered by hydrogen in the world. Twenty percent – approximately 4,200 forklifts – has been converted. Not only do hydrogen fuel cells provide consistent power to the forklift, which increases productivity, they also have a five-year life cycle. In comparison, Walmart was replacing 1,800 large lead acid batteries each year before converting to hydrogen.


The future of e-commerce is now. For online orders, we’re using new and existing assets to reach customers faster and more efficiently. In the last 18 months, Walmart built seven new online fulfillment centers strategically located across the U.S. that give us efficient access to 95% of U.S. customers in two days or faster. These new centers combine with our more than 4,600 stores that serve as pickup locations for online orders,  store distribution centers and our world-class transportation fleet to get the company closer to customers. And, the @WalmartLabs team out in Silicon Valley crunches billions of variables and developed algorithms that determine from where an order should ship based on a customer's location.


Testing for the future. We’re always looking at how emerging technology can enhance our supply chain. Last year, we started a special team to help us do that. Some of the technology we’re looking at includes augmented reality, virtual reality, micro-warehouses, hyperlocal distribution centers and drones.

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Innovation

The Opioid Epidemic Has Changed Safe Disposal of Prescriptions

The opioid epidemic is as serious of a drug crisis as America’s ever seen. It’s so deep-reaching that nearly every community has felt its effects.

And while prescription pain medications are an appropriate treatment option for some, the reality is that unchecked supplies in the public pose a significant health concern. Just as prescription drugs should be prescribed carefully, they must be stored and disposed of carefully.

Providing a means for proper drug disposal is a fundamental way Walmart can help. Today, we announced a new, free, convenient solution for responsible opioid disposal, DisposeRx. It’s a first-of-its-kind solution and I’m so proud of our team and the work they’ve done to bring this simple means of disposal to our patients.

We know the person who was prescribed a prescription opioid medication isn’t always the only one who is at risk for misuse. This innovative option for medication disposal will help keep families and communities healthy, and DisposeRx is one more way we can make a difference.

Here are a few more reasons why we wanted to help with this critical issue.

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Business

Meet the Families Behind Our Grass-Fed Beef

They say you are what you eat.

When we shop to feed our families, we’re especially concerned with what’s in the food we’re buying and where it came from. Thanks to two cattle ranching families who came together years ago to farm grass-fed beef in Utah and Wyoming, we’re able to provide this option – our Marketside Butcher brand – at over 2,000 of our stores.

It’s important to do business with people who care about their customers as much as we do. Working with Jones Creek, that care is obvious. The Crandall family has been farming cattle on their ranches in Utah and Wyoming for over five generations, and they’re committed to a product that’s as natural as it is tasty.

Check out this video to see why they believe in producing beef with no added hormones or antibiotics, but lots of passion and care.

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Business

CEO Doug McMillon's Note to Associates on Tax Savings

Happy New Year! I hope you and your families had a great holiday season. Thank you so much for all your efforts to serve our customers during our busiest time of the year. I know there were many smiling faces on Christmas morning and throughout the season because of you. Thank you for serving them so well and for helping each other to do it as a team.

We’ve got some really good news to share today. As you know, the President and Congress have approved a lower business tax rate. Given these changes, we have an opportunity to accelerate a few pieces of our investment plan. We plan to continue investing in you, in our customers through lower prices, and in our future--especially in technology to help improve your jobs and the experience for our customers.

So, we’re pleased to tell you that we’re raising our starting wage to $11 an hour for Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club, Supply Chain, eCommerce and Home Office hourly associates effective in February.

We’re also providing a one-time bonus to hourly associates that pays a larger amount the longer you’ve been with our company. Associates that don’t benefit from the new starting wage increase are eligible for the bonus and it will range from $200 to $1,000 depending on your length of service. As an associate who’s been with the company more than 25 years, I understand the value of experience and we all appreciate those of you that have helped build this company over the years.

I’m also excited to tell you that we’re making an important change to benefits by expanding our paid leave policy to provide full-time hourly associates with 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave. This expanded parental leave also applies to salaried associates and to parents who adopt. We will also contribute $5,000 to the cost of adoption. I recently heard from two associates on this topic—one through an open door note and one at a town hall. Both pointed out how limited our policy was for adoptive parents so we’re happy to be addressing that concern now. Families are a priority to us and connecting with and caring for a new family member is obviously important.

As we look to the future and how we’ll win with customers, we’ll be assessing what additional investments are needed, and we’ll make those decisions with you, our customers, and our shareholders in mind.

Thanks again for everything you do. I’m proud of our progress and we have momentum. Let’s build on that in 2018!

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Life

In Case You Missed It: Our Favorite Stories from 2017

Last year, our news feeds were full of big moments.

In case you missed some of Walmart’s major events, we rounded up our Top 10 favorite stories of 2017 – from the impressive, to the heartbreaking, to the downright adorable.

Our Family Got Bigger and Better
It’s always a happy moment when a family grows. This year, we added exciting companies to our team like ModCloth, Bonobos, Shoes.com and Parcel. We also partnered with tech innovators like August Home, Google, Uber and Lord & Taylor, proving that when we strengthen our business in the right places, our customers win.

A Podcast About Retail (And All Things Related)
These days, you can find a podcast for just about anything. From whales to Wales, from weather patterns to whether the latest movie is any good, you can probably find it all in your favorite podcast app. In May, we launched a podcast of our own called Outside the Box where we brought together thought leaders and innovators of all backgrounds to talk about the ways they’re transforming technology, shopping and everything in between.

Virtual Reality – and a Few Cues From Football – Helped Train Our People
Inspiration can come from surprising places. With the same technology used by some major football teams, we started incorporating virtual reality training into our Academy programs across the country. It’s just one of the many ways Walmart Academies use tech to set up associates for success.

This 5-Year-Old Associate Stole Our Hearts
What do you call a preschooler who does an art project on working at Walmart? Our newest associate! Well, at least for a day. When 5-year-old Will Coffman’s dad shared an adorable picture on Twitter, a local store manager invited him in to help out (and try out the job).

We Made Great Value… an Even Better Value
Premium Ice cream, sustainable coffee and salon-quality hairspray all at everyday low prices? We made it happen. In 2017, we highlighted some private label products that go above and beyond in providing our customers an amazing value. Be sure to check them out, you may be surprised!

This Short Story Revealed a Much Bigger Impact
A lot goes on behind the scenes in this big retail business. Aside from bringing customers their favorite products at a great value, we work to make a difference year-round for people, communities and the environment. This year we had Walmart home office associate Kyle Jones break down the lengthy report for us. He did such a great job we wondered why we never thought of it before!

#MadeInUSA Helped Create Jobs Across the Country
In 2013, we announced a commitment to source an additional $250 billion in products made, assembled or grown in the U.S. From an eyeglass factory in Brooklyn to an inventor’s home factory in Opdyke, Illinois, we took 2017 to highlight suppliers that are creating change for American workers.

Shopping Got a Major Tech Upgrade
The world is navigating a cultural revolution into the digital age, and last year was a big year for tech in retail. Last year, our Online Grocery Pickup continued to grow as a customer favorite, and we opened new stores with some pretty exciting features. What’s more, our incubation arm Store No 8 moved like a startup to test better ways to shop.

Associates Came Together to Help Those in Need
After natural disasters destroyed homes across the U.S., we witnessed communities and associates come together in times of need. From Hurricane Harvey to Hurricane Maria, from earthquakes in Mexico to wildfires in California, we were proud to see Walmart associates use their unique skill sets to help those affected get back on their feet.

We Started With #HelloMyNameIs
Every year, our Shareholders meeting brings together exceptional associates from around the world. It’s always inspiring to see what our international co-workers are up to, but last June we heard a powerful story from an Asda associate who’s carrying on his late wife’s legacy, and we just had to share it.

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