Deerfield, Ill. Walgreens Wednesday opened its newest distribution center in Windsor, Conn. Thirty percent of the work force at the new DC, Walgreens' 15th to date, is made up of people with disabilities.
“We’ve worked technology and creativity into every inch of this place, but the people here will amaze you,” said Randy Lewis, SVP supply chain and logistics, Walgreens. “We originally went into this project wanting to change the work environment but soon discovered we were the ones who changed in dramatic and wonderful ways.”
The employees with disabilities were trained to work side-by-side with other team members -- with the same productivity goals, earning the same pay. Disabilities range from autism and retardation, to hearing and physical impairments. An on-site training facility helps those with special needs become prepared for employment so everyone can work productively and effectively.
The 700,000-sq.-ft. facility, which can fit 12 football fields inside its walls, will serve hundreds of Walgreens stores throughout the Northeast. The center is expected to be 20% more efficient than the company’s previous generation of DCs and has some of the most innovative logistics systems in the distribution industry.
The Windsor location and facility in Anderson, S.C., which opened in 2007, are the models for every future Walgreens DC. It is the company’s goal to fill 10% of its distribution center production jobs with people with disabilities. Walgreens is more than halfway there.