Swisslog and Wal-Mart intensify co-operation

May 1, 2003
Buchs/Aarau, May 9, 2003 For the first time, the worlds largest retailer Wal-Mart has contracted the logistics company Swisslog to build a distribution

Buchs/Aarau, May 9, 2003 – For the first time, the world’s largest retailer Wal-Mart has contracted the logistics company Swisslog to build a distribution center (DC) outside of the US. Swisslog plans, designs and builds 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.

Swisslog receives order from Wal-Mart de Mexico 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.

Opening ceremony for new generation DC in New Caney The newly opened DC in New Caney provides perishable food products, in particular refriger- ated 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 com- bined 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.