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Walmart’s ‘First-of-its-Kind’ Supply Chain Academy Futureproofs for Retail’s Future

Walmart’s schooling associates on supply chain skills.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer already operates an extensive network of 200 “Walmart Academies” throughout the United States—now, the company is turning its considerable resources and attention to the supply chain with the opening of a new, supply-chain-focused training program at its Sanger, Texas, distribution center, the first-of-its-kind in the retailer’s history.

The retailer said the new academy was established to provide supply chain associates with a “clear path to advancement,” explaining that each academy is based on the belief that associates will need new skills and abilities now that consumers “have more shopping choices than ever before.”

“Within the Walmart Supply Chain, we are focused on creating a great place to work where our more than 100,000 associates can be empowered to solve problems for our business,” Greg Smith, the executive vice president of Walmart’s U.S. supply chain, explained in a statement. “This first Supply Chain Academy is a pivotal step on that journey. North-central Texas customers will see the impact of the training and hard work of these graduates on the shelves of the more than 140 Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs this distribution center serves.”

Walmart explained that each academy, including the new Texas-based addition, is operated by a permanent team of trainers and staff, teaching subjects including leadership, safety, area-specific training and supply chain fundamentals.

“Walmart stands apart from our competitors in both the retail and supply chain industries by providing full-time, permanent positions with great pay in all areas of the country,” Steve Miller, vice president of Supply Chain People, a U.K.-based supply chain recruitment organization, said of the move. “This is yet another example of Walmart’s commitment to investing in our people so that they can live better and grow in a field that is rapidly evolving.”

Walmart said it plans to expand the academy concept to multiple distribution centers across the country in the coming years. The retailer expects that each training center should be able to serve around 15 distribution centers on average.

The retailer will likely need to be prepared for increased supply chain strain in the coming years after announcing a $98 membership program designed to compete with Amazon Prime earlier in September.