Investing Capital for the Highest Return
The night before he delivered a moving keynote speech at a Main & Wall dinner, Randy Lewis, senior VP of distribution and logistics at Walgreens, was featured on “ABC World News.”
It’s hard to say which seems more unlikely, that a distribution and logistics VP would make primetime news—or that he would be the keynote speaker to an elite group of CEOs, CFOs, financial analysts and investment brokers. However, the story Lewis shared is in itself one of unlikely, yet unparalleled, successes.
At the Walgreens’ distribution center in Anderson, S.C., more than one-third of the work force has severe physical or cognitive disabilities. The employment model is even more unique because it is one of total inclusiveness. People with a wide range of skill levels, and limitations, perform the same jobs—with the same performance requirements and compensations for all.
“This DC is not just as good as our other DCs,” explained Lewis, “it’s better than the others.”
In fact, Walgreens is building another DC in Hartford, Conn., that will follow the same model, and by 2010 Walgreens expects to employ more than 1,000 disabled workers.
Walgreens invested more than $100 million in automation, technology and process accommodations at the Anderson DC, but the returns are measured in dollars, productivity and, more importantly, changed lives.
“This is the most meaningful thing we have ever done,” Lewis said.
His parting message to Main & Wall executives: “People with a lot less authority and power than you have, did a lot of good—and you have an opportunity to make a difference also.”
For detailed information, visit www.walgreensoutreach.com .
Wal-Mart to sell earth-friendly CDs
SANTA MONICA, Calif. As part of Wal-Mart’s “Earth Month” the company is selling more than 20 Universal Music Group titles that come with special earth-friendly inserts. The inserts are made with special seed paper and, according to the companies, can actually bloom into wildflowers.
The inserts, in addition to being good for the environment, also offer consumers three free digital downloads from Universal Music. Universal also said that a number of its new CDs will be packaged in third-party certified, renewable recycled board and recyclable paper.
ODP urges rejection of Levan nominees
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. Office Depot is continuing to urge its shareholders to reject dissident nominees and elect the company’s nominees to its board of directors at its annual shareholders meeting this April.
In a proxy statement sent to investors, Office Depot said that Alan Levan’s proposed nominees would do little to help improve shareholder value. According to the statement, Levan’s company, Levitt Corp. has seen its share price fall about 93% over the past three years and that its subsidiary, Levitt and Sons, is in bankruptcy. Office Depot also noted that BankAtlantic, of which Levan is chairman and ceo and one of his nominees, is president of real estate, construction and development, share price has dropped approximately 75% over the past three years.
Office Depot also cited news reports that commented on Levan’s failing business ventures, as well as others that said that his nominees are not qualified to serve on Office Depot’s board of directors.
The company pointed out nominee Mark Begelman’s experience with Mars Music, a company he founded in 1997 that went bankrupt in 2002. According to Office Depot, many news reports attributed this failure to a flawed business strategy.
According to Office Depot, when Levan’s other nominee, Martin Hanaka served as chairman of Sports Authority from 1998 to 2003, the company saw its price fall by about 13%.
Office Depot stressed that its directors best understand the company and are well-suited to help the company grow.
“We strongly believe that removing two of the most experienced retailing executives from our board, including our current ceo who is driving the implementation of our strategic turnaround plan, would be highly disruptive, could delay the implementation of internal and external initiatives and could damage prospects for a successful turnaround,” Office Depot said in the proxy statement.