Sustainability

The future of fleet efficiency

Our U.S. trucks log millions of miles every year, delivering products to our more than 4,800 locations across the country. So when it comes to sustainability and fleet efficiency, the goal is simple: deliver more while driving fewer miles. This goal is the driving principle behind our commitment to double fleet efficiency by 2015 (compared to 2005). We’re already 80% of the way there. Since 2007, we’ve delivered 658 million more cases while driving 298 million fewer miles.

But the key to continued improvement is through technology. We need to use the most efficient equipment available – and we need to pursue and test the technologies of tomorrow. That’s why we’ve been working with our suppliers to pilot new and emerging technologies for about 20 years. These tests have included a number of prototypes: hybrid assist, wheel-end hybrid assist, full propulsion hybrid, natural gas (LNG and CNG) and waste grease. 

In Canada, our Supercube trailer pilot has just entered its second test phase after proving that it can ship up to 40% more merchandise than conventional tractor-trailer combinations, reducing costs by 24% and greenhouse gas emissions by 14%.

The latest example of this is our new Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience concept truck, which is the result of collaboration between many vendor partners, including Peterbilt, Great Dane Trailers and Capstone Turbine. The truck combines aerodynamic, mictroturbine-hybrid powertrain, electrification, and advanced control systems all in one vehicle.

Like the concept cars you see at auto shows, this prototype will evolve before it’s ready for the road. But it’s exciting to think about how any one of the new features might become an industry standard in the future. The important thing is that we find incremental improvements while also challenging ourselves to look at fleet efficiency in new and different ways. 


Take a video tour: Introducing the Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience concept truck

More downloadable photos: Logistics & Truck Fleet Photos

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U.S. Manufacturing

Congressman Helps Sleeping Bag Factory ‘Exxel’ at Creating U.S. Jobs

The chief executive officer of Exxel Outdoors swam against the tide of manufacturers moving their businesses overseas – a calculated risk that has led to continued success over the last 17 years at a sleeping bag factory in rural Alabama.

Helping smooth the way was Congressman Robert Aderholt of Alabama’s 4th District. The longtime U.S. representative co-sponsored and supported legislation that has helped companies like Exxel better compete in the global market, resulting in expanded production and more jobs in the States.

Recently, we caught up with Aderholt after he toured the Exxel factory and asked him about the importance of American made.

Q: How did you first connect with Exxel Outdoors in Haleyville, Alabama?

A: I first became aware of Exxel when I heard they were looking to “reshore” their operations from overseas to right here in Alabama. There were a number of trade regulations that stood in their way, and we worked together to clear them up so that they could build their plant and create jobs for some people who had not found work in over two years. It’s always fun to see the different styles of sleeping bags coming off the line. In a recent visit, Star Wars and Hello Kitty sleeping bags were being produced. And when you are walking through a Walmart store and see those sleeping bags, you immediately recognize they were made in America and right here in Alabama.

Left to Right: Exxel Outdoors CEO Harry Kazazian, Alabama Congressman Robert Aderholt, Exxel’s Plant Senior Vice President Barbara Garrison

Q: Why are American-made products important to your district?

A: Alabama’s 4th Congressional District is very rural. But it is also very productive. Farms in the district are literally helping to feed America. The 4th District is also helping to clothe, house and protect America as well. In addition to facilities like Exxel, inside our district are textile plants, manufactured housing facilities and a fire hydrant production company. No matter where you live in America, look at a fire hydrant and there is a good chance it will say that it was made in Albertville, Alabama. The men and women who work at these facilities are contributing to their communities and growing the economy.

Q: In your 20 years representing Alabama, how has your district been impacted by manufacturing jobs being moved overseas?

A: My district has been heavily impacted by jobs being moved overseas. The textile manufacturing sector has especially been hit hard. This had resulted in thousands of jobs lost since 1997. I believe this trend, though, is changing and, if not almost reversed, slowed dramatically. I believe the future of American manufacturing is brighter than it has been in many years.

Q: What would you say to companies to encourage them to follow Exxel’s example and create and keep jobs in the U.S.?

A: We have a workforce across the 4th District that is reliable and ready to work. We also have an excellent community college system that loves to partner with local industry for job training. We just recently had a metal procurement company move into the district specifically to have access to the students coming from Wallace State Community College in Hanceville. I say all of this to just remind companies looking to expand that there are communities across this country that are standing ready to help you be successful and to help keep that Made in the USA sticker on products.

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Sustainability

Kyle Explains Why the GRR is News Worth Knowing

Every single week, Walmart helps millions of people get everything from bananas to books and baby gear.

But did you know that at the same time we’re getting that stuff to you, we’re also working behind the scenes to support our associates and serve our communities?

Each year, Walmart releases a Global Responsibility Report (GRR) that details all of those efforts. From investing in opportunity for our associates, to purchasing more products that support American jobs, we’re committed to making a difference.

The full report is available here, but if you’ve only got a few minutes, Walmart associate Kyle Jones breaks it down in this video – all in the time it takes for him to get to his desk in the morning.

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Opportunity

How A Promise to Military Families Eased the Stress of Change

When my wife received her transfer orders, we prepared ourselves for the Army to move us from Wichita, Kansas to Joplin, Missouri.

Once again, we were off to a new-to-us destination. The life of a military family is not for those who don’t like change. So much of life is built around constants, yet in a military life, change is one of those constants.

I admire my wife for her devotion to our family and to our country. I get it. I really do. I served from 1992-2006 in the U.S. Marine Corps, and my wife has served in the U.S. Army since 2000. Both of us spent time overseas with Operation Iraqi Freedom. And while I chose to transition to civilian life a few years ago, my wife stayed the course and built a career with the Army.

Most don’t think about the toll transfers take on military families; when one serves, we all serve. Being at the military’s beck and call is something we are used to. We know what we signed up for. While I’m not complaining about this life of service, trying to quickly find a new job when your spouse is transferred can be challenging and stressful.

But there was something different this time – something that made our family’s latest transfer experience better than it has ever been before.

As an asset protection manager at store 3492 in Wichita, Kansas, I wasn’t familiar with Walmart’s Military Family Promise (MFP) program until I spoke to a friend who worked at the home office. The MFP program guarantees a job at a nearby store or club for all military personnel and military spouses employed at Walmart or Sam’s Club who move to a different part of the country because they or their spouse have been transferred by the U.S. military.

I didn’t go into the MFP process with any preconceived notions. I knew I might not get the exact job I wanted unless something opened up. And, while I would’ve been thankful for any opportunity, I was fortunate enough to land the exact same position I had in Wichita at a Neighborhood Market in Joplin, Missouri, just a few miles away from where my wife is serving.

I knew Walmart cared about veterans and was familiar with our Veterans Welcome Home Commitment. But I had no idea we had policies in place to support me, a military spouse. The MFP allows me to focus on what’s most important during this transition – and that’s getting my house in order and getting my kids acclimated to their new surroundings.

I’m also taking time to share my story so other military family associates can take advantage of MFP and focus on what’s important in their lives during their own moves. Thanks to programs like these, we don’t just have jobs at Walmart, we have careers.

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Innovation

A Look Inside Walmart's Next-Gen Test Stores

The world is navigating a cultural revolution into the digital age.

Meeting customers’ needs is critical as they adopt more digitally-driven lifestyles, expectations increase and increasingly shopping options do not require a trip inside a store.

With this in mind, Walmart is testing new approaches in two recently opened supercenters in Tomball, Texas, and Lake Nona, Florida. These stores were fully reimagined from a new layout to building and environmental enhancements to added technology that all improve the shopping experience.

Keep reading to learn more about these new retail environments. Or, if you’re in the area, drop by and look for yourself.

New Layout
We started with customer shopping behavior to reimagine the layout for these two stores. For example, services like the beauty salon and tech repair are adjacent to relevant merchandise. Health and wellness departments are consolidated to create a single destination. Baby, toys, kids' apparel and kids' shoes form a single destination to ease mom’s shopping journey.


Scan & Go
Speeding up checkout is critical to improving customer experience. So we’re testing Scan & Go technology that works both on personal smartphones and Walmart-provided handheld devices. Customers are greeted on their way into the store by a large bank of these Scan & Go wands, and new digital produce scales have been added to make scanning weighable items much easier. The Scan & Go fast pass checkout lanes allow customers to bypass the traditional checkout process, which makes a quick trip faster than ever.


SmartLife
New interactive projection technology allows customers to learn about connected devices (think Google Home, Apple TV, Nest, baby monitors and connected thermostats) and get answers to what is important to them. Since images are projected onto tables and walls, there’s no chance of accidentally damaging a product, and the product details can be updated more quickly through this new platform. This technology is found in the entertainment section of the store, as well as in hardware, baby, and health and wellness for relevant department items.


Integrated Pickup
Shoppers can use the outside drive-thru to pick up not just their weekly groceries, but also their prescriptions and Walmart.com orders.


Extended Aisles
Step into the Tomball Supercenter and you’ll find interactive screens offering access to an extended curated selection of online-only items in almost 100 categories. Customers can order products, pay with the rest of their basket at checkout and pick up two days later.


Appointment Setting and Ordering Technology
Need your deli order, fast? These stores test a new appointment and ordering kiosk system where you place your order, go shopping, then come back to quickly pick it up. If the initial test in the deli area goes well, it could be expanded to pharmacy, Auto Care Center, beauty salon or anywhere ordering and appointment setting occurs.


Next-Gen Call Buttons
Shoppers simply press a Wi-Fi-connected call button and wearable GPS-enabled devices alert associates that assistance is needed. Associates wearing these devices are trained in specific store areas and are on call to help in the furniture, paint, fabrics, sporting goods and bikes areas of the store.

So what’s the bottom line? By rethinking stores and testing new ideas with customers in real-life stores, we are improving customers’ experiences and making it easier than ever for them to get what they need as quickly and easily as possible.

Editor’s Note: You can learn more about Walmart’s in-store tests in this piece from Good Morning America.

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