Walmart is one of the largest and most successful retailers in the world. Founded in 1962 by Sam Walton, the company moved from being a series of grocery stores to a Fortune 500 company posting the highest sales for any company in 2007 (Khade & Lovaas, 2009). The company has three segments, with a commanding presence in the US, which is its major source of revenue, Sam’s Club and International, which denotes its operations outside the US (Buckley, DeFina & Roots, 2016). Today, the company has moved from its traditional brick-and-mortar mode of business through its 11,526 stores to generation of sales through its website Walmart.com.
As a core business, Walmart is a retailer with retail stores across the world. The company’s core business is to “help people around the world save money and live better-anytime and anywhere,” a goal that the company pursues through its retail stores and through e-commerce and mobile capabilities (Walmart, 2016). The company relies on its innovation to deliver seamless products and services to its customers on both its digital platform and its extensive network of physical shops (Walmart, 2016). Over the past few years, the company has moved from a traditional brick-and-mortar retail chain, adopting an omni-channel model that includes online sales (Khade & Lovaas, 2009). Walmart has especially adopted this (omni-channel) model as a means of competing Amazon, the world’s largest online retailers, which has been eating into its store traffic.
Walmart is perhaps the world’s largest retailer by revenue. It has a long history in the retail business having previously been founded in 1945 by Sam Walton, and incorporated in 1969 (Walmart, 2016). The company has grown over the years to become the largest retailer in the world, with an exemplary logistics and warehousing system. Khade and Lovaas (2009) argue that Walmart’s success in the retail business is a result of a logistics system that has delivered great results for the company. Walmart’s supply chain logistics include point of sale and supply chain technologies, as well as superior warehousing logistics, all of which have enabled the company stay ahead of its competitors. Perhaps what makes Walmart stand out from the rest of the retailers is its investment in logistics technologies and deploying the technologies to ease its work. According to Khade and Lovaas (2009), Walmart purchased a satellite, which the company uses for Electronic Data Interchange. The technology therefore allows the company to not only deliver massive point of sale data on customers, but also helps in transportation, and with the company’s foray into online retailing, the satellite and data are instrumental in the management of its online business.
Perhaps most interesting is how Walmart handles its warehousing functions. Khade and Lovaas (2009) inform that unlike other retailers that use third party logistics to handle their warehousing, Walmart has its own fleet of trucks for the distribution of shipment within its supply chain. Walmart’s stores, therefore, expand around distribution centers, which are the company’s main warehouses. Walmart’s stores are therefore within a one-day drive from a distribution center ensuring that supplies get to the stores within the shortest time possible. The proximity of the warehouses to the stores also means that online customers get their products as fast as possible (Walmart, 2016). Internationally, the company has a central global procurement warehouse in Shenzhen, China, from where the company sources products from more than 65 countries. From the sources, Walmart uses land bridges, which make transportation to its warehouses not only cheaper, but also faster than traditional means.
Buckley, C., DeFina, P., & Root, L. (2016). Walmart vs. Amazon. Shidler College of Business
Khade,A., S. & Lovaas, N. (2009). Improving supply chain performance: A case of Wal-Mart’s logistics. International Journal of Business Strategy, 9(1)
Walmart (2016). Walmart Inc. retrieved from http://d1lge852tjjqow.cloudfront.net/CIK-0000104169/46c5c2e3-666c-4865-b437-eb351ae5dbfe.pdf