The El Peñón distribution center in Chile is the first to be equipped with omnichannel warehouse distribution management systems in Walmart International
SANTIAGO, Chile, Sept. 11, 2019 — With economy minister Juan Andrés Fontaine and labor minister Nicolás Monckeberg in attendance, Walmart Chile inaugurated one of the retailer's most important International logistics projects yesterday. The El Peñón distribution center in the municipality of San Bernardo is an initiative that entailed a total investment of US$180 million and will strengthen the omnichannel proposition with which the company hopes to continue leading the retail trade in our country.
The inaugural ceremony was presided by Walmart Chile CEO Horacio Barbeito, who highlighted the importance of the project that will create around 2,000 new jobs when fully operational. The vast majority of these jobs will go to residents of San Bernardo and neighboring municipalities. This reinforces the commitment the company made to support Chile's development since arriving in the country 10 years ago.
The El Peñón distribution center is a cornerstone of our growth plan and will impact job creation directly in the long-term: over 4,000 new work positions in the next three years. Without a doubt this inauguration is good news for Chile.
After touring the site accompanied by the economy minister, Barbeito highlighted that the completion of this project is fundamental to the company's distribution network. "This new DC will allow us to significantly improve our logistical capacity to quickly and efficiently supply 100% of our almost 400 supermarkets from Arica to Punta Arenas while simultaneously strengthening our digital proposition, a channel we have defined as strategic and which will be one of the main engines of growth in the years to come," he said.
Barbeito also highlighted the impact that the new infrastructure will have on small and medium suppliers. "Rarely does development of a private initiative bring so many benefits for SMEs, placing a logistics network at their disposal that will allow them to distribute their products to every corner of the country in faster and the most cost-effective ways, giving them tremendous competitive advantages," the CEO pointed out.
Barbeito also recalled that the company is undergoing the biggest transformation in its history to respond more efficiently to the needs of increasingly demanding customers who are avid for quick and personalized solutions. "This project is fundamental to the omnichannel strategy that we are developing in the country, as it will better position us to handle the growing demand that e-commerce has created. In this context, we're happy that Walmart's first omnichannel warehouse management systems DC in International, is indeed in Chile," he added.
The Distribution Center is located in the municipality of San Bernardo and its development included investing over US$15 million in mitigation measures to ensure its harmonious integration with the environment. Some of the initiatives promoted by the company included improving road, planting native trees and relocating wildlife.
For his part, economy minister Juan Andrés Fontaine explained the significance of the new distribution center. "This is what we're talking about when we speak of a “Chile on the Move” - of creating opportunities of this scale. We find ourselves in the presence of a US$180 million investment that is going to give 2,000 people jobs when it becomes fully operational in the coming months. It means opening up opportunities for entrepreneurship and growth to the 1,500 suppliers who work here, many of them SMEs, which also means more investment and jobs," he said.
Meanwhile, labor minister Nicolás Monckeberg said, "This is a good example of what Chile and the world are facing today in terms of the job market. We are in the presence of a project that 10 years ago was either not needed or unthinkable: a distribution center that creates 2,000 jobs and also improves service. That is what I would like to highlight about this tremendous investment."
Last August, Walmart Chile announced an investment of close to US$700 million for the next three years, which will consist of opening 50 stores nationwide, the inauguration of 150 new Pickup stations, the remodeling of 60 sales floors and the incorporation of new technologies. The El Peñón distribution center plays a key role in this context as an "anchor project" for the development that the company plans in the country.
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