Walmart teaching area employees at second-only U.S. academy here in Ohio

Walmart has created a supply chain academy in Ohio to train its employees on ways to deliver products to stores quicker, better use of technology and how to be more efficient.

Area managers from 15 distribution centers will be the first to graduate from the new training facility at the company’s large distribution location in Washington Court House, an hour east of Dayton.

The academy is only the second of its kind in the United States, following the first that launched in Sanger, Texas in September.

“We focus on what we call one best way processes…the best way we know how to do a task,” said Steve Miller, a Walmart vice president. “It means that we’re delivering our products to our stores on time, when our customers…need it and then we talk about perfection.”

That means making sure the right quantity of items arrive at stores on time and damage free, he said.

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The Washington Court House academy is also the first in the Midwest and the first for grocery products. In all Miller said he expects Walmart will open around 10 academies across the country to serve the 40 grocery, 40 general merchandise and 40 specialty distribution centers, but the plans aren’t set in stone.

“This is a big ask for our (distribution centers) to not only support the day-to-day operations, but make such a big investment in up-scaling our associates throughout Walmart. Washington Court House certainly met that bill,” Miller said.

Walmart is the top Ohio employer, employing nearly 49,000 people.

A majoring of the training at the Washington Court House academy will be on the supply floor, but some is also done in a classroom setting. Employees will study leadership, safety, supply chain foundations and area-specific subjects, according to a statement.

“The biggest thing I took away for it that’s going to help our team is the team building, engaging the associates to come in and do more than one job,” said Andrew Helsel, one of the area managers at the Washington Court House academy that will graduate this month.

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By meeting with all of the different managers from different shifts and teams, Helsel and the other employees are able to learn how other groups perform similar tasks and evaluate how to alter techniques to be more efficient, which could translate to store shelves and and deliveries, he said.

“You get to step back and identify…potential waste in the building,” Helsel said.

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The supply training schools are modeled after the 200 Walmart Academies that train managers and employees, sometimes using virtual reality technology to put the students inside situations. Both the Walmart Academies and Supply Chain academies are expected to help employees succeed in their current roles and create a clear path to career growth, according to the company.

“We believe part of our responsibility is to continue to ensure that our associates have the skills not only to do their jobs today, but jobs for the future,” Miller said. “What we want to do is make sure we’re not only great at the current work but we’re positioning our associates to be future leaders.”


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