Fieldtrip: McLane Company

On Wednesday, February 7, EMAT 3450 Students went to McLane Company, which is a nationwide distribution center for convenience stores, for a field trip.

On this page, you are going to find notes about this trip (notes, reflections, photos, etc.)

Some Stas/Background Mathematics Ideas/Connections
Desired characteristics of employees Employment Practices Involve
Desired characteristics of employees Photos


Some Stats/Background:

  • Philosophy: Keep the people we hire (provide many opportunities, such as ESL training, etc.)
  • Goal: To be the premier logistic company in the world.
  • 106 years old; owned now by Wal-Mart.
  • Number one distributor to convenience stores (to almost every zip code, and to Brazil, Taiwan)--85 to 90% of goods in convenience stores is there via McLane.
  • 10,000 employees
  • $15 billion in sales
  • Our employees have good morale, strong work ethic, commitment to customer
  • 260 employees at this center (i.e., Athens, GA): 205 work in the center (most on floor; some in sales or administration); 55 are truck drivers
  • Central merchandising center in Temple, TX (only a small group locally)
  • Utopia = an empty dc (JIT=just-in-time inventory)
  • Trucking is different than distribution-in trucking you never want to run an empty mile, while in distribution sometimes you have to.

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Desired characteristics of employees:

  • Must show up on time (#1 reason for termination of employees is not showing up on time)
  • High school diploma
  • Truck drivers = ambassadors (well paid! $100,000)
  • Teach life skills and basics-reading, writing, arithmetic (esp. counting)
  • Comprehension of instructions
  • Team work-communicating both orally and in writing
  • Problem solving skills
  • Attention to detail
  • "Self starters"
  • Positive attitude
  • Must be able to fill out an application!
  • Drug free
  • Must be accountable for actions
  • Should be able to manage money
  • Must be versatile, able to deal with change

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Employment Practices Involve:

  • Entry-level training (classroom work, buddy trainer)
  • Growth for advancement from within
  • Educational assistance
  • Employee assistance program (EAP)
  • Must be shown larger picture/context, how employee plays a role in the whole organization(part of training)
  • Streches during the work day to avoid carpel tunnel syndrome, etc.

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Mathematics Ideas/Connections:

  • Predicting trends, projections for budgets
  • Routing--the traveling salesman problem (but with lots of variables!)
  • Spatial problem of packing the totes (there are a couple of different sizes) and then packing the trucks (note: packing is evaluated by industrial engineers from TX)
  • Data set:
% Turnover, McLane
% turnover, Dist. Center Only
  • Number and codes
  • Rates (e.g., 350 pieces per hour are moved in some areas; 550 pieces per hour in other areas; 1100 pieces per hour in still other areas)
  • Ordering on shelves (organized by how fast it moves out-stuff that moves the most quickly is at arm level to avoiding unnecessary bending, stooping, etc.)












The Department of Mathematics Education
University of Georgia