Out­side firm gets re­tailer’s 570 jobs

Wal­mart teams up with Gen­pact

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - SER­E­NAH MCKAY

Wal­mart Inc. is trans­fer­ring 570 jobs at its Ben­tonville head­quar­ters to an out­side firm that will help man­age part of the re­tailer’s fi­nan­cial op­er­a­tions.

The jobs are back-of­fice fi­nance and ac­count­ing po­si­tions, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease Thurs­day from Gen­pact, a global pro­fes­sional ser­vices firm that spe­cial­izes in in­tro­duc­ing com­pa­nies to new tech­nolo­gies. Em­ploy­ees in the af­fected po­si­tions han­dle du­ties such as ac­counts payable and re­ceiv­able and in­voic­ing.

A Wal­mart spokesman said all 570 work­ers have jobs at Gen­pact if they want them. She said Wal­mart made ev­ery ef­fort to en­sure they will have the same jobs there, with com­pa­ra­ble pay and ben­e­fits. Em­ploy­ees who choose not to make the move will be of­fered 60 days with pay to search for other jobs.

The moves will take place Nov. 28.

Work­ers were no­ti­fied of the im­pend­ing change Thurs­day morn­ing in a “town hall” meet­ing with com­pany

ex­ec­u­tives, the spokesman said, and had a chance to meet with Gen­pact ex­ec­u­tives.

Im­me­di­ately af­ter the meet­ing, they re­ceived their job of­fers so they could make an in­formed de­ci­sion about what to do, the spokesman said.

Wal­mart doesn’t dis­close how many peo­ple work in any given depart­ment, but the spokesman said those af­fected by the move are only a small per­cent­age of em­ploy­ees within its global-busi­ness ser­vices di­vi­sion.

Clay John­son, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and en­ter­prise chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer for Wal­mart, over­sees that di­vi­sion.

John­son said in the news re­lease that the part­ner­ship with Gen­pact will help the di­vi­sion tran­si­tion its func­tions to more dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy. This will im­prove work qual­ity, speed up pro­cess­ing time “and un­lock po­ten­tial sav­ings for in­no­va­tion and growth,” he said.

Em­ploy­ees who do make the move will re­main at Wal­mart’s Ben­tonville cam­pus, where Gen­pact is leas­ing a build­ing.

That will be its home for the fore­see­able fu­ture, Gen­pact spokesman Danielle D’An­gelo said.

Gen­pact, which has more than 70 of­fices around the world and a flag­ship of­fice in New York, is “100 per­cent com­mit­ted” to its in­vest­ment in Ben­tonville, D’An­gelo said. The com­pany plans to work with Wal­mart and other busi­nesses to cre­ate a hub for dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion in North­west Arkansas.

D’An­gelo said Gen­pact uses ro­botic process au­toma­tion, ma­chine learn­ing, pre­dic­tive an­a­lyt­ics, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and other dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies to help re­tail and con­sumer-goods clients stream­line pro­cesses, im­prove cus­tomer ser­vice and drive growth.

“Com­ing to this mar­ket is a big, ex­cit­ing move for us be­cause of how big Wal­mart is in re­tail,” D’An­gelo said. “But we are plan­ning a long-term com­mit­ment to the com­mu­nity here.

“We plan to reach out to lo­cal busi­ness groups and aca­demic in­sti­tu­tions, and find ways to part­ner to­gether to make Ben­tonville even a stronger place known for dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion.”

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