Swisslog and Wal-Mart intensify co-operation

Buchs/Aarau, – Wal-Mart has contracted the logistics company Swisslog to build a distribution center (DC) outside of the US. Swisslog will plan, design and build a new facility in San Martin Obispo, Mexico. This order coincides with the grand opening ceremony of the first new generation distribution center of Wal-Mart in New Caney, US.

Swisslog together with Wal-Mart developed a new concept for DC's with a higher level of automation for the Grocery Distribution Network of the US retailer. Four clones of the newly opened prototype DC in New Caney are being implemented in different regions of the US in the coming years.

Wal-Mart de Mexico has contracted Swisslog to design and implement a new distribution center concept for perishable products in San Martin Obispo. The new warehouse will reduce costs of distribution and support the substantial growth of Wal-Mart throughout Mexico. By extending the cold chain from field to shelf, Wal-Mart will improve the quality of perishable products delivered to their customers. An international logistics team of Swisslog from the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Malaysia has developed the concept for the entire distribution center. The concept incorporates a semi-automatic approach to provide the optimum level of automation in the freezer and within the cold environments. The project will be completed in June 2004.

The newly opened DC in New Caney provides perishable food products, in particular refrigerated and frozen foods, for Wal-Mart stores in and around the Houston area, Texas. When at full capacity, the DC will support more volume of inbound and outbound freight than any previous Wal-Mart perishable food products facility. The project near Houston started in summer 2001. A Swisslog team of automation and software experts planned and built the mechanized refrigerator and freezer as well as implemented the logistics hard- and software. The grand opening ceremony in Texas was attended by Wal-Mart's Executive Vice President of Logistics, Rollin Ford and by Swisslog's Chief Executive Officer, Remo Brunschwiler. Both noted that the combined efforts of the design and implementation teams of the two companies allowed this first of a kind facility to open on time. With four additional US-facilities under contract with Swisslog, Wal-Mart takes advantage of the benefits of mechanization and automation to make their DC’s more employee friendly and to lower the cost of goods for the benefit of its customers.

Swisslog is a global provider of integrated logistics solutions for optimizing production and distribution processes. Swisslog's solutions increase their customers' flexibility, responsiveness, and quality of service, while minimizing logistics costs. For more information, visit: www.swisslog.com. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is the world's largest retailer, with $218 billion in sales in the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2002. The company employs more than 1.3 million associates worldwide through more than 3,200 facilities in the United States and more than 1,100 units in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, China, Korea, Germany and the United Kingdom. Information about Wal-Mart's Good.Works. community involvement is available online at http://www.walmartfoundation.org. Wal-Mart de Mexico (WALMEX) is a major retail company in Mexico and its shares have been traded on the Mexican Stock Exchange since 1977. Nationwide, Wal-Mart de Mexico operates 602 retail units throughout 58 cities, which include self-service stores including SuperCenters, Sams Clubs, Superamas, and Bodegas, Suburbia apparel department stores and VIPS restaurants. Internet websites for the Wal-Mart de Mexico include: http://www.walmartmexico.com.mx, http://www.sams.com.mx, http://www.superama.com.mx, http://www.suburbia.com.mx, http://www.vips.com.mx, and http://www.tarjetawalmart.com.mx. Wal-Mart de Mexico has headquarters: Blvd. Manuel Avila Camacho No. 647, Col. Periodistas, Deleg. Miguel Hidalgo 11220 Mexico, D.F.

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