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Walmart Case Study on Supply Chain Management (SCM)

Case Study : Walmart's Supply Chain Management (SCM) Practices

Supply chain management (SCM) is important for companies that deliver goods or services. Transitioning from a single company to the whole supply chain implies the need for reorganization and reengineering, strategic management or organizational theories have not yet been incorporated in supply chain management. A competitive business environment has made Walmart focus on innovative processes and systems to overhaul its supply chains and make them more efficient. Increasingly, Walmart is integrating its supply chains with major customers. Wal-Mart is an innovator in SCM, which has helped it to provide low-cost merchandise to its customers and undercut its competitors.

Stalk et al. (1992) reported:
In 1979 Kmart was one of the leading companies in the retail industry… At that time, Wal-Mart was a small niche retailer in the South with only 229 stores and average revenues about half those of Kmart stores… Today Wal-Mart is the largest and highest profit retailer in the world. How did Wal-Mart do it? The starting point was a relentless focus on satisfying customer needs; Wal-Mart’s goal was simply to provide customers with access to goods when and where they want them and to develop cost structures that enable competitive pricing. The key to achieving this goal was to make the way the company replenishes inventory the centerpiece of its strategy. This was done by using a logistics technique known as cross-docking. In this strategy, goods are continuously delivered to Wal-Mart’s warehouses from where they are dispatched to stores without ever sitting in inventory. This strategy reduced Wal-Mart’s cost of sales significantly and made it possible to offer everyday low prices to their customers."

Stalk, G., Evans, P., and Shulman, L.E. (1992). Competing on Capabilities: The New Rule of Corporate Strategy. Harvard Business Review, March-April, 1992, 57-69.

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Keywords: Case Study, Walmart, Wal-mart, Supply Chain Management (SCM) Practices, SCM, Supply Chain, Strategy and Organization in Supply Chains

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Case Study Quotes

"Pretty much, Apple and Dell are the only ones in this industry making money. They make it by being Wal-Mart. We make it by innovation". - Steve Jobs, Apple