Current State of Walmart Retailer
Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has become very concentrated in becoming the next big thing in e-commerce. In order to achieve their online presence goal, they begin to map out their service supply chain. The Walmart supply chain flow begins with the manufacturer, the company or person that makes the goods for sale. Then continues to the warehousing where they store the many items Walmart consumers purchase. From there, we move onto distributor. Walmart doesn’t just sell its products in their retail stores but they also sell their products online. Then comes Return which is the step where people return items, exchange items, trade in, warranty, etc.
Costumers have expectations and it is Walmart’s duty not just to meet the expectations but to exceed them. Customer’s main needs are simple, they want fast service, low prices, high-quality supply, and security/return policy. When placing an order on Walmart.com your guaranteed fast two-day delivery. Walmart is able to deliver this resource due to the numerous warehouses, reliable suppliers, and efficient delivery at hand. There are over 5,000 Walmart stores in the USA and those physical stores can be used for delivering items directly from the store to the customer’s home. Instead of the product coming from a faraway warehouse we can utilize the store to our full potential. Walmart also has great reliable suppliers that ensure to meet their needs, which results in Walmart meeting their customer’s needs. Customers seek affordable products with high quality. In order to attain high-quality supplies, Walmart needs to recruit suppliers with inexpensive high-quality items. Not only do customers seek high quality but they also seek low prices. In order for Walmart to ensure customers low prices, they buy in bulk from their suppliers. Lastly, customers appreciate security/protection and the best return policy. As Walmart expands into the e-commerce world they need to prepare their selves for shipping errors and mistakes. When delivering a package it can accidentally be delivered to the wrong person or worse it can be delivered broken. Customers look for companies that can assure them safe delivery and if something goes wrong in the process they expect an exceptional return policy.
As Walmart takes a big step into the direction of both retail and e-commerce we must assure that our suppliers are the best available. The best way to get high quality without breaking the bank is negotiating with low-cost countries for low prices but high-quality items. Walmart needs to question themselves “what is the quality standard I expect from a supplier? What are my expectations of the quality control and verification process from a supplier?( Frasch). It’s important for Walmart to set a clear understanding of what quality is to them before continuing business with the supplier. It’s important to examine the products being provided and compare them to other popular suppliers in order to obtain the best quality for low price. Walmart also seeks suppliers that are reliable shippers. If Walmart buys products at cheap cost and high quality from a wholesaler but gets them late that can mean big losses for Walmart.
Walmart has an immense advantage over its competitors, Amazon. Unlike Amazon, Walmart has more than 5,000 stores in the United States where they provide in-store convenience which has not been achieved by Amazon thus far. Walmart customers have the advantage of seeing and feeling the products before purchasing them. They also have the option to pay cash or card. Many people don’t feel comfortable providing their card information online to purchase items. If a customer purchases an item they are no longer interested in they can easily return the product in stores. When returning items to Amazon, you must ship your items back which includes the hassles of printing, buying a box/envelope, and driving to the place of drop off. Walmart has an undoubtedly retail presence, but that doesn’t stop them. Walmart continues to evolve in order to provide customers with top-notch e-commerce. Walmart has implemented a new feature in some Walmart called the kiosk. The kiosk is located at the end of the physical aisle to access the online Walmart inventory. “If a customer has come to a location looking for a specific product, only to find that the store doesn’t carry it, they can simply access the terminal and place an order. They can arrange to either collect the item from the store or have it delivered to their home. They have also implemented the purchase online and pick up in stores. With this option you don’t have to pay for shipping and Walmart also offers their customers a discount on thousands of products when you choose this option. This is a great strategy Walmart uses. Not only are you saving the customer money but you’re also saving the company money and bringing the customers in store to potentially buy other products.
As a project manager, the first crucial challenge I face is budget. First are the wages and raises of Walmart’s employees. As we plan to expand our online presence we begin to expand our online customer service team. We want customers that are purchasing items online to be able to contact customer service with a message on our website. The great thing about this is that there won’t be much spending to do. Walmart already has such a large customer service team. Many of those customer service consultants help customers through the phone. The workers we currently have can do both online and telephone customer service. As the project manager I have decided to hire a couple of more qualified customer service consultants due to overwhelming calls and messages. They will be a great help and addition to the team, especially during the holiday seasons. Walmart will be expanding on technology online and in stores. We are implanting kiosk into Walmart’s to expand our online presence and showcase the availability and easiness of online shopping with Walmart. Walmart is also partnering with Google to bring to customers the ability to order products by voice. This results in high technology investment. The main goal is to expand our online presence which has been low for many years. As we continue to invest in expanding, Amazon will continue to expand as well. Meaning, it is a non-stopping cycle of technology investment. As a project manager this is a difficult challenge to deal with. When is it enough? When do we slow down our investment? The answer to this is never. We are the top retail store, with “more than 5000 locations in the United States. If we continue to invest and implement new features we should be able to acquire the #1 slot in no time.
The second crucial challenge I face is time. As a project manager, I am responsible for making sure that everything is running smoothly in a timely matter. First I need to make sure my projects are being completed on time. If a project is not completed on time that backtracks all we have planned on tackling, resulting in major scheduling issues and delays. In order to master this challenge, I use time management programs that provide me with assistance in keeping up with the latest projects. I also keep a close look on deliveries being shipped from suppliers to our warehouse as well as deliveries being shipped to customer’s homes. As a huge retailer and online store, we need to be prepared for big storms that will eventually come our way and get in the way of our timely schedule deliveries. This results in operation interruptions and disruptions to Walmart’s supply chain. In order to prevent delays and stay on a timely schedule, we will invest in risk management and revise our supply chain risk strategy.
My third and final challenge is the scope. The scope of the project is to provide customers with high quality, low price items online. This is a crucial message Walmart has been trying to address to its customers. The challenge can be overcome by simply sticking to the prewritten scope of the project. We must provide customers with high quality, low price items online to expand our online presence.