Walmart is preparing to open a Supply Chain Academy for its warehouse workers. The Academy would provide Walmart’s warehouse workers with a variety of knowledge, skill, and abilities. In addition to business acumen, and knowledge to be a good operator in the warehouse, they will study STEM topics (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).
The hope is that Walmart Associates will grow with the evolution of the warehouse. Today, most warehouse job are physically demanding. However, as new technologies are added to the warehouse, the jobs will change and utilize more STEM knowledge.
Video Spotlight: Walmart Fulfillment Centers: Flexible Associates
This post is based on the Yahoo! Finance article, EXCLUSIVE: Walmart’s Grocery Warehouse Worker of the Future Will Have A STEM Background, by Julia La Roche, October 18, 2018, and the YouTube video, Walmart Fulfillment Centers: Flexible Associates by Walmart, May 30, 2017. Image source: Fuse/Getty Images.
1. Why is Walmart’s inclusion of STEM education in its Supply Chain Academy somewhat unique?
Guidance: Many organization set training to the minimum level needed for the current job. Any training, such as STEM education, is considered to add cost to the organization for “unnecessary” training. In some cases other costs increase as workers expect better pay for new skills, and could move on to other jobs—increasing turnover.
2. What does Walmart hope to gain from including STEM education in its Supply Chain Academy?
Guidance: The hope is that as the job evolves with the addition of new technologies, the worker will evolve as well. Currently these job are physical in nature with operators moving products throughout the facility. However with the addition of technologies such as robotics, the job is quickly changing to more of a skilled job.
STEM education might solve two problems for Walmart if successful. First, if the workers evolve, the technology will not displace the workers and Walmart will not incur the cost associated with displaced workers. Second, the demand for skilled workers is increasing. It is becoming difficult to find workers for these skilled position. If education can take a potential displaced worker and turn them into a skilled worker, it is a double win for the organization.