Discover How Outside the Box Thinking Gets Products to Customers

When you are #RetailForward, customer service goes beyond just the store. Unpack how Olena creates innovative logistics solutions that help customers get products they need every day.

Most Walmart customers never see Olena W., Senior Manager of Fulfillment Engineering, Walmart eCommerce, Hoboken, N.J., but they benefit from her work every day. She helps create the innovative distribution centers that meet the needs of modern customers.

“What I do is like designing Willy Wonka chocolate factories, in a way,” she says. “I get to use my imagination and dream big, even though it’s real-world, practical work. I figure out how to put all the conveyor belts together, how to get items into boxes, what those boxes should be shaped like, and the best way to get them to customers and put smiles on their faces.”

Olena understands outstanding customer service extends beyond the in-store experience more than ever before. Her work helps eCommerce customers have more next-day or two-day delivery options, as well as a wider variety of products available for Pickup.

“To compete and to win,” she says, “our warehouses have to anticipate our customers’ needs—and get ahead of them with innovation. Doing what Amazon is doing isn’t going to get us there.”

In fact, Olena sees competitors trying to catch up to Walmart in terms of access to customers. “Walmart has a huge advantage: our stores and the customers in them,” she says. “We can lean on our unique relationship with them to help us find new opportunities along the supply chain.”

"You can’t limit yourself to the warehouse. You have to think about how things interact, where products are coming from, and where the customer receives the products."

Olena worked as a Walmart cashier while waiting on her engineering degree certification, and the experience taught her about customer service. Then, when she was hired to work in Logistics, engineers were focused on the inside of the warehouse. But as Olena advanced, she adopted a more global vision.

“I like to anticipate the details of a customer’s experience down the line,” she explains. “We have our automated systems in stores to fulfill orders, and the automated tower, and we’re even testing home delivery that puts groceries right in a customer’s fridge.

“So, depending on how the customer is receiving the order, packaging may be different based on whether it’s going to a store or a home. Maybe it needs to be shipped in a bag instead of a box—and how can we make sure that bag doesn’t break in transit?”

Ultimately, Olena believes the only way to serve customers better is to always be looking for innovative solutions. “Always try to do your best,” she says, “then go beyond that.”

For more stories, advice, and inspiration, download your copy of the Winter issue of Walmart World here!

 
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