Walmart: Dominating Supply Chain Management

Rosanna_D    October 27, 2014


Organization Name: Walmart

Industry: Retail

 Web references:


Supply chain management (SCM) is a complex conundrum with many moving parts. Many customers don’t realize the process behind the scenes and the amount of work, time, energy and resources that are required to get products into their hands.

A great example of a company who has taken SCM to the next level is Walmart. The general merchandise giant has more than 11,000 retail stores globally and more than 130 million customers shop in their stores each week.

In 2014, Walmart introduced the Walmart Exchange WMX – an innovative digital buying and optimization platform that uses sales data from and social media data from their Twitter and Facebook pages to help cut their spending costs.

The platform changes the way Walmart collaborates with their suppliers so that they can get products onto their store shelves quickly and at a low cost. And, it changes the way suppliers showcase products on Walmart’s website and social media pages because they can now advertise the ‘right’ products to customers based on pre-determinant consumption patterns, value and  product popularity.

“We’re going to bring a lot more tools that our vendors can use with Walmart that will make their digital marketing a lot more effective. If you think of a P&G and Samsung, it lets them see that their marketing is actually having an impact at Walmart, and we’re able to speed up reporting in real time. It’s pretty much a holy grail for us as marketers.”

Stephen Quinn, Chief Marketing Officer, Walmart U.S.  (Advertising

Four Components of Walmart’s Supply Chain Strategy:

  • Vendor partnerships
  • Cross docking and distribution management
  • Technology
  • Integration

The strategy enables the company to accurately forecast demand, track and predict inventory and high efficiency transport routes so that the right amount of product gets to the right store location to the right customers. Given their reach and scale globally, they are a fierce force who is using technology as a competitive advantage including lower product costs, reduced inventory carrying costs, improved in-store options, and competitive pricing for customers.

Lessons for others:

  • SCM requires collaboration between supply chain managers and buyers
  • Social media and digital technology can help drive supply chain efficiencies
  • We live in a world today where customers are agile. They require quicker development and delivery of products which means companies need to be innovative when it comes to their supply chain managment

Other Resources:

Economist Insights

University of San Francisco (article)

To Increase (blog)

Submitted By: Rosanna D’Alessandro

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