Applying the principles of social media to supply chain management go beyond traditional Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube use. Social media is more about the tools for allowing collaborations in an online medium.
Walmart, one of the world’s largest and arguably most powerful retailers, owes much of its transition from regional retailer to global powerhouse largely to changes in and effective management of its supply chain.
Once Walmart acquired Kosmix, they move towards committing to social and mobile commerce. As a social media technology, Kosmix filters and organizes content in social networks to connect people with real-time information that matters to them. Kosmix, now renamed under the @WatmartLabs umbrella, will allow Walmart to integrate a pull strategy for supply chain management – now from the customers perspective not just the distributors.
In an Advertising Age article, Anand Rajaraman (WalMart Labs Senior VP-Global E-Commerce) emphasizes that store receipts help stores see which products sell, but social media can help predict demand and determine new products to add to inventory.
“We’re analyzing social information for the neighbourhood of each store,” he said. “How should the interests of a community influence the assortment in the store?” With this advancement, Walmart stores could be on the brink to have merchandise as relevant to their neighbourhood as the past Mum & Pop General Stores.
Combining WalmartLabs analytical approach, e commerce, and a multi-channel supply chain management system evolving around customers “pulling” products to their stores will allow Walmart to be a retail giant.