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IAmA former Wal-Mart Logistics employee, the lesser known side of Wal-Mart AmAA

Oct 1st 2014 by kocyandia • 26 Questions • 1857 Points

I will answer as many questions as I can I go into work at noon and will return at 9. AmAA

Q:

What was the biggest "disaster" you had to deal with?

A:

I ok'd some freight to go on our line. Unfortunately the cases broke open and some grill grates came out and got in-between the slots on the sorter and started destroying things. It ended up costing around $75,000 worth of damage I was told. They were conveyable on our system. The boxes were just shit.

edit: Also Christmas time. The place is nuts.


Q:

Whats the strangest items youve had to process? Maybe something we didnt know walmart peddled in.

A:

I've never processed it myself. But personal "massage" items. They were Trojan brand if I remember correctly. Other than that not a whole lot of wild things. You can buy your loved ones a casket online at Wal-Mart if you want though.


Q:

I work for a company that supplies cargo sensing devices for Wal-Mart trailers. Did you have any interactions with the devices or data?

A:

I did not, this is actually the first I've heard of this. Care to elaborate on it?


Q:

Inside the trailers we install sonic and light sensors, modem, and battery. I was just wondering how the devices and data are used by Walmart, or if you knew of the devices. I have heard rumors that some employees think they are used to spy on them. Walmart has a very efficient logistics division, it is quite interesting.

A:

YES! At the nose of the trailer. Looks like a Camera?


Q:

Sort of looks like cameras.

A:

Yep, I know what you're talking about now. And yes everyone thinks they are spying on them. I did for a while even.


Q:

Ha. I guess they let that rumor persist if it helps productivity ;).

A:

We had an older fella I worked with who was terrified of those things. He would load freight to cover them first. He acted like a drone as long as it was uncovered. I honestly don't think they get used though. When I checked trailers in to the lot we had to inspect our store trailers to make sure they were empty when they came in.


Q:

What exactly does a logistics employee do?

A:

I was in the distribution side of things. We basically brought freight from suppliers into our building move it around countless times then ship it out to the stores. Piece by piece and pallet by pallet. There's a lot to the process


Q:

why'd they take away our slip sheet truck?! now i have to search everywhere for them T-T

A:

Who knows. Those things make a huge difference. Ever drop a pallet of fancy feast...that's a mess lol.


Q:

How is your pay since you are higher up than most of the people we know who work for Wal-Mart? Do bonuses make up a larger portion of your pay?

A:

I received no bonuses except for a quarterly incentive. Our pay was top tier in our area for warehousing and factory work. I made $22.40 an hour. But I was in maintenance that last 2 months. General floor employees on a weekend day shift make 20.30 an hour.


Q:

How exactly did you get started working there?

A:

I was traveling for work at the time and had a child born. Wal-Mart had offered me a job and I turned them down. 6 weeks later I called them cause I was ready to be at home with my family. I got my interviews and got started almost immediately. In all honesty at the time they were a saving grace.


Q:

What did you do before that?

A:

Installed conveyor systems.


Q:

Movie plot: It's Christmas eve and a villainous toy kingpin decides to reroute the entire Walmart trucking fleet to his own warehouses.

How does he pull it off?

A:

Very carefully. He enters the TMS system and changes all the store addresses to his own warehouse. Which quickly gets him caught. Then an epic Nerf battle breaks out in the walls of the DC amongst the steel jungle of putaway racking.


Q:

What happens to stuff that gets sent back to the vendor? Is there a secret place where consumers can get returns really cheap?

A:

I believe its called Buds. I actually handled damaged freight for a while. If the selling case was damaged but the item was fine we would reclaim them and send them out to a discount store.


Q:

Then there's the associates only store up in Bentonville that resells some of the damaged or out of season items. I went in once with my dad and bought a single pillowcase out of a bedroom linen set that had been damaged. I think they also sell unreshelfable returns up there. Got a really sweet deal on a tamale pot.

A:

Ive heard of it once of twice never been. Ive seen some badass things go to reclaims though.


Q:

Did anyone or any groups of people get busted for theft?

A:

Yeah a small group got busted for drinking energy drinks in the modules. Quite a few did actually. They thought they were being sneaky. Cameras and planning proved otherwise.


Q:

drinking energy drinks? did they steal like 500 barrels?

A:

One or 2 a piece. The 5 hour energy kind. They are very strict on theft.


Q:

thats it? two 5 hour energy drinks?

A:

Yep pretty much. A friend of mine got walked out because he accidentally left a 2 dollar pair of gloves in his back pocket and the alarm went off as he left. He had a jam on the conveyor and instead of leaving the gloves in the conveyor or throwing them to the ground he put them in his pocket as he was working. He did this regularly and always put them on the damages pallet for me to handle later. He forgot this time since the gloves were light weight. Ive seen the guy put cans of dog food in his pocket. It was how he done things.


Q:

Hello former Walmart logistics employee. I am a current Walmart logistics employee. I work in a grocery warehouse though, going on 3.5 years. I just have to say:

Gimme a squiggly!

No but seriously, how is it working in a regional (GM) warehouse? We have no conveyors in ours, it's all done by hand.

A:

It wasn't terrible over all in my last days with the company I was in maintenance. Conveyor is nice to have for moving the volume we put out. It would be impossible without it honestly. But the upkeep is terrible. The last few years with the company we had new upper management come in and things changed quick. Policy is black and white now. No gray areas.


Q:

Do you have a particular education or work experience in logistics which made them offer you this position?

A:

I had no experience in logistics at the time. They were doing a mass hiring, I just simply applied online.


Q:

How are employees treated by management behind closed doors? The anti-Walmart side of me imagines sweatshop like conditions, but I would like to know the truth.

A:

It's not sweatshop like conditions. It's not fun by any means but I was payed incredibly well. Its changed over the last few years things are much more strict as far as going by policy. But over all we were free to move about. Our production was key, if we didn't make it, it was literally because of hard to process freight or slacking off. Compared to the stores the DC folk have it made.


Q:

They keep adding stupid rules all the time, no lifting above 20 pounds? we have boxes that weigh 60, fucking stupid....

A:

We lift a heck of a lot of heavy stuff I think 70 is the limit before you have to team lift. Team lift never happens. But the tables that lift freight up to you made a huge difference on the back at the end of the night.


Q:

They put those bs policies in place for one reason. If you get hurt they can claim you weren't following company procedure. They know damn well that there's no way you can follow all their safety procedures to the letter with the workload they give you.

A:

I've experienced this first hand


Q:

How can the Wallmart bathroom be out of paper towels when there are 600 rolls in the store ?

A:

Amazing question. In our DC we always had paper towels. Same thing with 30 lanes and 3 are open. That is mildy explainable though.


Q:

What is the process of deciding what goes where? How do you know this store needs this?

A:

Most of it is automated. Joe Schmo walks into a store and buys an item. The stores logs its as sold and submits a request. The DC then orders a set amount of item from the supplier to sell to the store. As far as deciding where each item goes. The database of what has been ordered prioritizes each item to its intended location. When it is scanned within the DC it gets a store number and batch number and unique bar code only used within Wal-Mart. Each item is conveyed through a scanner and then sorted out by a machine to each shipping lane where it is loaded. There is a little more to the process but it would be a chapter book by the time I was done.


Q:

Reading some of your answers, I think you had the same job on the Walmart end that my dad currently has for Sam's. Would you be willing to tell your DC number?

One more quick question. Did you ever get a chance to go to the Shareholders Meeting? I swear, it's been six years and my dad still brags about all the stuff he got to see and do up there.

A:

I never got to go to a shareholder meeting. But I heard plenty about them. They say they are a blast. And I was at a Wal-Mart DC not a Sam's. I won't reveal my DC number but if your dad was interested have him answer some stuff on here as well. I'd like to hear his experience.


Q:

What was the most physically difficult part of the job? Is there anything you wish had been automated?

A:

Actually yes. Processing heavy freight was the worst. We had to lift paint in 4 gallon cases 8 inches off the ground when we had it. Also anti-freeze, washer fluid, anything heavy for that matter. I did this for 5 and a half years. 3 months ago they installed lift tables to make processing heavier freight less stressful on the back.