On Friday, April 12
, during a spring snowstorm, our Import/Export class visited theALDO corporate headquarters and took a tour of its breathtaking premises.Upon taking my first step in the front door I was completely awestruck atmy surroundings. Simply put, the lobby was big, bright, and beautiful; naturallyflowing into the massive atrium hall that stretched the entire length of the buildingfrom front to back. The walls became office windows facing the hall as they stretched
upwards towards the high ceiling. My eyes didn’t know what to stare at first!
In the lobby we were greeted by our professor, Frederic Chevallier, who
introduced us to ALDO’s International Supply Chain Coordinator, Daniel Alvarez.
Daniel led us through the atrium towards the warehouse where we would begin ourtour. As we walked I was struck by the amount of artwork that covered the walls;featuring the works of everyone from Andy Warhol to Banksy, Janet Werner andXavier Veilhan. The combination of stunning artwork, a classic Fiat sitting in thecorner, and the historic ALDO memorabilia stretching the entire length of the atrium
dating back to the early 1970’s, made me feel as though I had stepped into a
museum rather than a headquarters.
As if the atrium wasn’t enough of a sensory overload already, one step in the
warehouse my jaw hit the floor. Complex rollercoaster-like conveyer belts stretched
from wall to wall and from floor to ceiling, covering the majority of ALDO’s 800,000
square foot warehouse. This maze of moving parts was larger than large. Afterweaving over, under, and around the belts, we arrived at the section of thewarehouse called the tilt trays. The tilt trays carry product along the conveyor beltsdumping their loads into respective chutes to sort for packaging. These trays weresorting product into 464 chutes at 6 feet per second! 11,000 pairs of shoes can beprocessed in just one hour. Back before all of the advanced technological upgrades,the same process would have taken at least two days to complete, and the entirewarehouse operations as a whole would have required at least 3,000 employees. Talkabout upping your efficiency!