Walgreens Celebrates The Opening Of Its 12th Full-Service Distribution Center In Anderson, S.C.
Facility is first of its kind to employ a significant number of people with physical or mental disabilities
Walgreen Co. (NYSE, NASDAQ: WAG) today celebrates the official opening of its 12th full-service distribution center in Anderson, S.C. The DC, built to support the company’s expansion throughout the Southeast, is the first facility of its kind to employ a significant number of people with disabilities. More than 42 percent of the facility’s workforce has a physical or cognitive disability such as autism or mental retardation.
Anderson is Walgreens most advanced DC to date, with some of the most innovative logistics systems in the distribution industry. The center is expected to be 20 percent more efficient than the company’s previous generation of DCs. There are currently 275 employees with plans to grow to more than 800 within the next few years. At full capacity, the facility will ship approximately 80,000 cases daily to more than 700 Walgreens stores across the Southeast. The total investment for this DC is more than $175 million.
Walgreens worked with the Anderson County Disabilities and Special Needs Board and the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department to develop training for people with special needs. Features like flexible workstations that adjust for height, touch screen computers with large icons and easy-to-read signs allow the DC to accommodate people with a variety of physical or mental challenges.
“In designing this facility, we believed we could employ a large number of people with disabilities while holding them to the same performance standards as all team members,” said Randy Lewis, Walgreens senior vice president of distribution and logistics. “This is a business, not a charity, and our employees with disabilities earn the same pay and benefits as other employees for the same work. The DC’s design makes work easier for all employees, with or without a disability. It also makes us more efficient and ultimately saves money.”
Future Walgreens DCs, including one opening in Windsor, Conn., in 2009, will launch similar disability initiatives with the goal of filling at least one-third of the jobs with people with disabilities. A Web site, Walgreensoutreach.com, provides information to help potential employees understand what work is like at the Anderson DC.
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