We began our second day at Walmart, for the ElevenMoms trip, bright and early and headed over to the Kellogg’s company for breakfast. The company set out lots of their delicious cereals and a toaster with boxes of Eggo waffles so we could make our own waffles for the morning.
Here our host from Walmart, John, poses with a couple of the great selections that Kellogg offers!
We gathered our breakfast and went into their conference room to get the scoop on Kellogg’s new campaigns. Kellogg’s latest advertisements let the consumer know that they can have save money by eating a Kellogg’s breakfast because one bowl of cereal with milk only costs the consumer $.50 compared to a breakfast bought at a fast food chain.
They also shared with us that they spent a lot of time, money, and research into changing the formulas on their cereals so that they can offer the same exact cereals with 1/3 less sugar. To round out the discussion, they also had two of their own moms share ways that they save their families money, which was really nice to hear that we were not the only penny-pinchers in the room.
Next, we headed over to the Walmart headquarters for a discussion on the company’s programs for sustainability. One thing that they didn’t have to point out was that these containers for recycling were placed all over the building. We were told that the company is extremely diligent about making sure ALL of their employees recycle and will even receive memos if the protocol for recycling is not followed.
A couple of things that I noticed while on the tour that were not related to sustainability were my favorite Redbox vending machines where employees could check out movies. I wonder if their employees use the Monday free codes like me?
There was also a lactation room where moms could pump. They had a small refrigerator and a chair where moms could have some privacy while they pumped.
Here was a series of boards that were shown where employees could leave ideas for sustainability issues that they would like addressed within the company. Some of them were funny, but most were very series about issues that the company could improve on. Another board offered green tips that the employees could try.
We were told that each employee has to make one sustainability commitment that they will work on for the year. Our host, John, shared that his commitment was that he was doing the best that he could to not print anything on the computer. They have even met with life coaches that can help them turn their life goals into sustainable goals. I was really impressed by this.
We then headed to the conference room where we could talk with the person in charge of all of the sustainable goals for the company. He shared some of the improvements they had made. For example, they are offering their reusable shopping bags for only $.50 and hope to do away with plastics. Our suggestions were that they offer some type of credit to encourage their consumers to use their bags. I also suggested coming out with a design that made it more convenient to carry the bags. Target, for example, has bags that fold and zip into themselves so they make it easy to carry them. If they came out with a design concept that made it easier to fold these bags and use them, I would use their bags more often. I also suggested coming out with bags in holiday colors so that I could put my Christmas gifts in these. I love that Target’s bags are red and so I planned to use these for the holidays. He seemed very receptive to our ideas and gave us a DVD to take home to watch about their sustainability efforts. There next step will be that Lee Scott will be traveling to China to do a talk on sustainability there and Cameron Diaz, who is now a big supporter of the efforts of sustainability offered by the company, is actually accompanying Lee to share their green message.
I wish we would have had more time to learn about these efforts, but I am looking forward to watching their DVD and seeing what improvements the company has made.
Next, we headed over to the Innovations lab where we got to see a glimpse into some of the future projects of Walmart and their distributors. We learned that Coke is working with Walmart to come out with lines of t-shirts that are made from recycled plastic and a blend of cotton materials. Pictured above is a uniform that is used oversees that is made from recycled plastic bottles. I believe they said that there are nine bottles that have helped to create these uniforms.
IBM shared with us a virtual world that they had created where it would be quicker and easier to go to the doctor using computers, decreasing wait times for patients.
We also learned about a program that Walmart is working on that would decrease your wait time while waiting for your prescriptions. Instead of waiting for one cashier, one cashier would be manning four kiosks where you could sign and take care of plugging in your information to receive your prescription, similar to their self-check lanes at the store. While you are plugging in your information, it would notify the cashier which prescription to get in back so they could be grabbing that for you while you are inputting the remainder of your information. They are trying to improve wait times for their customers.
This is another feature that they have been working for the over-the-counter medication section of the store. They partnered up with Google and twelve of the top doctors to make this feature available in stores. His name is Rex and he can guide you on choosing an over-the-counter medication. You would input your symptoms, allergies, and age to pick medications that would work best for you. The medications are randomly generated each time, not influenced by ad-placement, and the customer can quickly find what they need. They even have a map to tell you exactly where the medication will be and show you different packaging styles visually so you will be able to grab the right thing.
Briefly, we were shown that they are also doing this for their grocery section as well. You can input your dietary needs and allergies, what type of food you are looking for, and get a listing of foods and where they are located.
These features will be made available online so you could plan your grocery list and print recipes from your home computer.
Next we headed over to Store #1, to see what their store looked like. This store is going through the process of the redesign, but it showcased what they were working towards. It is hard to describe, but when you walk in, the first thing I noticed was the absence of stuff pulled into the center of the aisles. It was just clean and open space so that the aisles were generous and easy to navigate. It was lit well by skylights that were built in to bring in natural life, decreasing the amount of lighting needed in the store. I also noticed that if you looked straight back, the milk was right there along the back wall, making it a little easier to run in and get what you need.
Another feature that is difficult to explain, but that made the aisles more generous and cause less traffic jams with carts were the way the endcaps have been created to set back into themselves instead of being wide and difficult to get around. They are basically missing the lower shelving so that the pallets can be slid underneath, again, creating more space in the aisles.
This is the signage in the stores with English and Spanish written below. There was signage down all of the lanes, making it easier to find what you need within the stores.
Walmart is also using their influence to decrease the packaging on the products that are within the store. Above, is an example of a carseat that is normally packaged in a giant box. To save room on shipping and use less resources, they worked with the distruber to come up with reusable zippered bags that would take less room in the store and be more environmentally-friendly.
The decreasing size in detergents was actually started by the efforts of Walmart. They were looking for ways to shrink the package sizes so they could get more to their stores. Their efforts helped the distributors to come out with concentrated formulas that would take up less space in shipping.
We ended the day with a dinner at Bonefish Grill. The food was incredible and we had a nice time visiting and chatting about blogging. Pictured in the lower picture is myself with my good buddy Colleen, from Classy Mommy.