After training more than 1 million of its store employees from 200 regional academies, Walmart is opening training centers in its distribution centers. The first one is in Carrollton.
A group of 50 managers graduated Friday from the box store’s new academy in Sanger.
“We started this concept of investing in our employees about three years ago, and we’ve seen success with it,” said Steve Miller, vice president of Walmart supply chain. “The needs of our associates in supply chain are evolving, and we want to set them up for success. Skills needed today are different than 15 or 20 years ago, and as we recruit them, we want them to have fulfilling jobs.”
The point is to train supervisors, Miller said, because Walmart is a big company, and supervisors are the front line. “It’s a critical role,” he said.
Walmart has the largest non-military supply chain operation in the U.S. and the world. Two hundred distribution centers that supply stores and fulfillment centers for online orders are run by more than 100,000 employees, including 9,000 drivers for its private fleet of trucks.
Most distribution centers are like the Sanger facility, which is 1.2 million square feet. It’s a general merchandise warehouse that supplies 140 Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs.
The facility employs 945 people who are supervised by dozens of merchandise category and function managers who will go through the training.
The Sanger academy will train employees from 15 distribution centers in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. The company plans to set up 10 academies that will each train about 15 distribution centers.
The academies are starting out with leadership, safety and supply chain training and will add course work in technology and other functions in the future, said Clint Hendryx, manager of the Sanger academy’s permanent staff of seven people. He had been a receiving operations manager at the facility.
“I think it’s great that Walmart is investing this time in me,” said Jason Grounds, a Sanger manager over shipping and logistics. “I’m being taken off the floor, and they’re teaching me policies and things that don’t get a lot of focus otherwise, ways to be a better leader and take us back to the origins of the company with Sam Walton.”
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon has spent more money on training and increased hourly worker pay.
Walmart introduced in-store training centers in 2016 with one in a Carrollton Supercenter. Last year, Walmart created education benefits with its $1-a-day college degrees in business and supply chain. And earlier this week, it announced new programs with colleges for its employees to complete health care degrees.