The Eagle Has Landed

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James Arias flies high as a leader at our high-tech consolidation center in Colton, California.

 

When Walmart opened its first automated consolidation center (ACC) in Colton, California, in 2019, James Arias was one of the facility’s first associates.

 

The innovative facility—which receives, sorts and ships freight—was the first of its kind for Walmart. Using automated technology, the center moves three times more volume than traditional consolidation centers and ensures stores and customers are getting products they need.

 

Moving Forward

James started his career with Walmart in 2015 as an hourly unloader at Walmart’s fulfillment center 8103 in Chino, California. Though only 22 years old, he was promoted to a T3 trainer within three months. Later, he’d be promoted to an hourly supervisor position and then to area manager. When ACC 6561 opened in Colton, James served first as the outbound area manager, and then moved to inbound.

 

“I didn't come with the mindset that I was going to become anything with Walmart,” James says. He believes that his work ethic and his enthusiasm for working in a brand-new facility—as well as help from mentors—kept him moving forward. He enjoyed being able to help create a foundation for two successful facilities (the e-commerce center in Chino was also a new facility when he joined the team there). James also likes getting to know associates, training them and setting standards for moving forward.

 

James’ enthusiasm for the facility is well known by his fellow associates—especially when it’s on display at special team events, where he sometimes wears an eagle mascot uniform. With local temperatures sometimes reaching over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s true dedication!

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“Walmart's given me this opportunity to become somebody and make something of myself.”

 

He’s also drawn to the family culture Walmart provides. “It's ultimately your family away from your family,” says James, who recently welcomed his third child.

 

James encourages new associates to give their all, whatever their position. “I’m the product of internal promotion,” he says. “If you give 100 percent to Walmart, Walmart will give 100 percent back.”

 

Faster Fulfillment

The consolidation center receives less-than-full truckloads from suppliers, fills trailers with palleted as well as conveyable goods and then ships the full trailers to regional distribution centers. From when the trailers arrive at the center, James says, it’s about 72 hours before they’re unpacked, merchandise is repacked into trailers going to regional distribution centers and trailers are shipped out again. That compares to a multi-week timeline for traditional consolidation centers.

 

The 340,000-square-foot facility in Colton is the center point of 42 regional distribution centers, with 36 of those receiving their freight by rail and the rest receiving their freight from over-the-road carriers, including Walmart’s private fleet.

 

James says it’s the highest-producing volume distribution center on the West Coast. “We’re out-producing our regional distribution centers,” he says, noting that ACC 6561 has committed to providing regional distribution centers with “a perfect load every time.” That means loading trailers to within 10 inches of the roof, and segregating conveyable freight and pallets so the distribution center only has to put an extended conveyor in place once.

 

Want to learn more?
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Starting at the end of August 2021, James will be starting a new chapter at Walmart when he returns to where he got started, the fulfillment center in Chino. This time, he’ll be the inbound operations manager.

 

Coming Soon

Walmart will continue its investment in ACCs, with another one scheduled to open later this year in North Lebanon, Pennsylvania.