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Wal-Mart: An American Original - Agenda

1. A Retrospective on its Growth

2. Innovative Business Model

How Did Sam Walton Get These Ideas?

3. Wal-Mart Today: The Challenges

Retreat from Germany in 2006 Sluggish Growth in the US Market Clamour at Home: The Price of Becoming Big
Global Ambitions Re-thinking One-Size-Fits-All Approach Flexible Workforce
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4. Wal-Marts Response

Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

How Wal-Mart Got There - A Retrospective on Its Growth

The Numbers: How Big is Big? IT: The Driver of the EDLP strategy Management Process Partnership with Suppliers Partnership with Employees Obsessive Focus on Costs

Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

Wal-Mart: A Behemoth
1962 : Sam Walton launched his first store

Location : Bentonville, a backwater in Arkansas, a state where chickens outnumber people Today : Worlds Largest Retailer Four times as big as #2 Retailer, Carrefour

5,482 stores in 14 countries as of Oct 31, 2005


Revenues: 285B vs GE: $152B Second-largest Company after ExxonMobil ($298B) Workforce: 1.3 M Biggest private sector employer in the world
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

Waltons Business Model was Different


Located stores in small towns since big retailers such as Kmart and Sears dominated large towns Kept overhead low Offered incentives - Profit-sharing for staff Partnerships for suppliers Large investment in IT To keep inventory low Customers got friendly service

AND, Everyday Low Price


Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

Wal-Mart after 40 years . Lord of the Things


Annual 2001 sales: $220 billion Pre-text Profits: $9.3 Million .. 60% of U. S. Retail Sales #1 Food Retailer in the U.S.: $56 billion in 2001 .. Opened since 1985 over 1000 massive dept./grocery supercenters, at 200,000 sq. ft., bigger than 4 football fields # of employees worldwide: 1.28 million .. More than the US Postal service ; # in China : 4,000 # of Suppliers : 30,000 .. In every continent but Antarctica Value of 100 shares bought in 1970 @ $16.50 per share: $11.5 million Wal-Marts % of P&G's $40 billion in annual sales : 15% P&G has a 150-strong Bentonville office & Senior EVP dedicated to Wal-Mart Typical starting hourly wage: $6.50
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Source: Business 2.0, March 2002


Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

A Simple But Powerful Idea: Minimize the Bad I - Inventory


Walton figured out that most of the costs gets added after the product leaves the factory and moves through the supply chain:
Mfg. Wholesaler Retailer

20% - 30% of retail price spent on keeping inventory in 3 warehouses


Walton eliminated the wholesaler He instituted JIT inventory practices using real-time flow of information from a stores sales floors to the suppliers plants that dictated:

What to produce? When to ship? To which stores?


Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

IT is Critical for Wal-Marts Everyday Low Price Strategy


Invested in most of the waves of retail IT systems earlier and more aggressively than its competitors - Set industry standards in IT
1969 1980 1985 2003 : Used computers to track store inventory : Adopted bar codes : Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) with suppliers : Mandated its 100 largest suppliers to place RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags on the boxes and pallets shipped to Wal-mart stores by January 2005

Late 80s : Wireless scanning guns

Focus of IT Investments:
Applications that directly enhanced its core value proposition EDLP and increase sales through micromerchandising
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

IT: Only Area Where Wal-Mart Outspent Competitors


Walton recognized early on that timely information is the key to maximizing sales and minimizing costs. The better your information about whats selling and whats not, store by store, the better you can avoid the twin perils of retailing too little inventory or too much Very Secretive About Its Information Systems Custom-designed systems built by employees kept competitors off the trail Hardware and software vendors bound by non-disclosure agreements In 2001, Wal-Mart summarily announced that it would no longer share sales data with market research vendors like Information Resources Inc and AC Nielsen, since the reports of the vendors are available to all retailers who subscribe to that service.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

Wal-Marts Fetishness About Secrecy - Sued Amazon for Stealing Its Computer Secrets
1997: Amazon Forced to Set Up Distribution Network Because Bertelsmann, the German media giant, went into a joint venture with Barnes & Noble, one of the two largest book store chains in the US, and launched an online book store to compete with Amazon AND Bertelsmann bought the largest book distributor in the US, who was Amazons Supplier Amazon Lacked Core Competence in Distribution Recruited 15 current employees of Wal-Mart and its vendors who had intimate knowledge of Wal-Marts computer systems behind the superefficient distribution system. Amazons Stand Were not interested in other peoples trade secrets. Were interested in hiring the brightest, hardest working, and most talented people wherever they might be. Wal-Marts Response Theres a lot of computer talent out there in the Valley. If youre coming to Bentonville, youre looking for something special.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

Sharing Sales Data With Suppliers - Key to Low-Price Leadership


Treat Suppliers as Partners, NOT Adversaries Implemented a Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment (CPFR) Program JIT Inventory Program Reduced Carrying Costs - for Both Wal-Mart AND Its Suppliers Wal-Marts Cost of Goods : 5% - 10% Less Than Competitors CPFR has blurred the lines between Wal-Mart and the Supplier: Youre both working to the same end: To sell as much product as possible without either of us having too much inventory.
Source: Computerworld, Sept. 30, 2002
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Wal-Marts Data Warehouse


Current Level of Storage Capacity : 570 Terabytes *
Second only to the U.S. Governments More than all of the Internets fixed pages

BUT ALL THAT DATA IS USELESS UNLESS IT IS USED Information is shared with its own Buyers AND Suppliers
* Wall Street Journal, Dec 3-4, 2005
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Value of the Data Warehouse - Wal-Marts Buyers


Helps to time merchandise deliveries Its shelves stay stocked, but NOT overstocked

Predict what is going to happen, instead of waiting for it to happen


Example : Analysis of purchases during Hurricane Charley indicated products to be stocked in Floridas Wal-Mart ahead of Hurricane Frances that hit a few weeks later Not just the usual flash-lights, but, for example, strawberry Pop-Tarts whose sales rates was 7 times the normal rate. The Pre-Hurricane top-selling item was beer!
Source: New York Times, Nov 14, 2004
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Value of the Data Warehouse - Suppliers Wal-Mart opened its data vault in January 1999 to its suppliers cements Wal-Marts power over them
Extranet built by Wal-Mart, Retail Link, allows suppliers to see how their products are selling in different stores and which ones need to be replenished. Vast and detailed data on sales and inventory exceeds what many manufacturers know about their own products.

They are very strict with their suppliers, but they give them the data they need.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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All That Data Is Mined! - Doing it since 1990


Analysis of its 90 million shopping cart transactions per week

- To see how the purchases of the different items are related.


- Company can then better identify items to market together. Obvious examples:

- Charcoal and tongs go alongside the barbecue grills


- Tiny baggies next to the pretzel boxes so Mom can pack snacks for the kids A not so obvious example! - Customers who buy Barbie dolls (it sells one every 20 seconds) have a 60% likelihood of buying one of three types of candy bars
Source: Forbes, Sep 5, 1997
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Micromerchandising Pays Off

Sales per square foot


500 400
Dollars ($)

300 200 100 0 2000 2001 Year 2002

Kmart Target Wal-Mart

Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Wal-Mart Stays Ahead of Competition!


Competitors began to adopt many of Wal-Marts IT innovations including EDI and wireless bar code scanning in earnest in the mid1990s. Targets vice-chairman acknowledges that his company is the worlds premier student of Wal-Mart. Still Wal-Marts productivity, measured by real sales per employee, is higher than competitors.
Sales per employee, $ thousand 1995
Wal-Mart

1999
148 Wal-Mart 181

Kmart

109

Kmart

133

Sears

87

Sears

118

Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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The Wal-Mart Effect on Retail


1987: - Wal-Marts Market Share: 9% - But 40% more productive than its competitors 1995: - Wal-Marts Market Share: 27% - Productivity advantage widened to 48% 1995-99: - Competitors reacted by adopting Wal-Marts innovations - Managed to increase their productivity by 28% - Wal-Mart raised the bar further by increasing its own efficiency by another 20%
Source: Retail: The Wal-Mart Effect, The McKinsey Quarterly, 2002, No. 1
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Wal-Mart Changed Retailing Economics


Company (Latest 12 months in 1994-95) Wal-Mart Circuit City K-Mart* Caldor* Bradlees* Federated Dept. Stores
Source: Business Week, Nov 27, 1995
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

Selling, General & Admin. Costs As a % of Sales 15.8% (19.4% in 1984) 19.0% 22.2% 24.4% 29.4% 33.3%

*Now in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings


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IT Innovation Is NOT Enough


At least half of Wal-Marts productivity edge stems from managerial innovations that improve the efficiency of stores and have nothing to do with IT.

For Example:
Cross-training of employees allows them to function effectively in more than one department at a time.

Better training of cashiers and monitoring of utilization can increase productivity rates at checkout counters by 10% to 20%.

Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Wal-Marts Management Process Key Features


1. Low Wages But Golden Cuffs
Started a Profit-Sharing Plan in 1971 for ALL Employees Based on profit growth, we contribute a % of the employees wages to his/her plan. The employee can take it in cash or Wal-Mart stock when they leave the company. After nearly 25 years at the company, Shirley Cox, a cashier, still earned barely $7.00 an hour. But she retired in her 40s on $250,000 of company stock. the stock is a prevailing theme for everyone at Wal-Mart if you hang around long enough, you can make a fortune on the stock.

2. No class system, thus fending off all attempts at unionization


ALL employees are called associates drumming home the notion that managers and workers are partners

3. Promote from within


In 1996, 5,900 workers moved up to management jobs 60% of the 30,000 managers are former hourly workers
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Wal-Marts Management Process Key Features


4. Empowering of Front-Lines

Wal-Mart gives them information at their finger-tips and the freedom to act. If someone asks me how we manage a $100 billion company, I tell them a store at a time, and we constantly challenge that unit to make it the best.

5. Keeping Track of Competitors Prices


Later that afternoon, she leaves the store for an hour to compare prices at nearby Kmart and Target stores. She is reimbursed mileage. If a competitors prices are the same or lower than Wal-Marts, she consults with her supervisor about cutting her own prices up to 5 %.

6. Management will not tolerate shrinkage


Loss, theft and damage of inventory is capped at around 1% Other retailers settle for 3% - 5%
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Wal-Marts Management Process Key Features


7. Work Ethic, Disdain for Extravagance and Customer-Centric
Lead by Example: Walton was a model of frugality and modesty who continually warned against complacency and sloth. He drove around in an aged Ford pickup truck and wore inexpensive clothes. Wal-Marts corporate offices are cramped, dingy and cheaply furnished. Walton believed that executives should spend more time on the selling floor than behind desks. To make sure they did, Walton, an avid pilot, assembled a small airforce that whisked them around the country, visiting Wal-Marts Monday through Friday. On the road, they stayed in budget hotels, and ate at family restaurants. Every Saturday, at a meeting in corporate headquarters in Bentonville, they discussed their findings.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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A Model of Frugality - In Practice


No signs of opulence or ego at the companys headquarters.
Lee Scott, the current CEO, drives a VW beetle and shares a hotel room. John Menzer, head of Wal-Mart International, sits in a tiny office on the same floor as his staff. Executives take out their own rubbish, pay for their coffee and are told to bring back pens from conferences ! Another penny-saving practice: call vendors collect ! Expenses on a buying trip should not exceed 1% of the cost of the items purchased.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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In the Founders Words


Theres no two ways about it: Im cheap. Wal-Mart never bought a jet until we hit $40B in sales and expanded as far away as California and Maine, and even then they had to practically tie me up and hold me down to do it. A lot of what goes on these days with high-flying companies and these overpaid CEOs, whore really just looting from the top and arent watching out for anybody but themselves, really upsets me Why should we stay so cheap when were a $50+B company: Because we believe in the value of the dollar. We exist to provide value to our customers, which means that, in addition to quality and service, we have to save them money. Every time Wal-Mart spends one dollar foolishly, it comes right out of our customers pockets.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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The Bigger Wal-Mart Gets, The More Essential It Is We Think Small


Waltons Management Principles (circa 1990, 1528 stores)
For several decades now weve worked hard at building a company thats simple and streamlined and takes its directions from the grassroots. Its a pretty tall order for an outfit that is spreading out all over the country as fast as we can.

At our size today, theres all sorts of pressure to regiment and standardize and operate as a centrally driven chain.
Id hate to work at a place like that and I worry every single day about Wal-Mart becoming that way.

Nothing at all profound about any of our principles in fact, theyre all common sense. Most of them can be found in any number of books or articles on management theory.

But I think the way we have applied them at Wal-Mart has been just a little bit different.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Most Important, Think One Store At a Time


That sounds easy enough, but its something weve constantly had to stay on top of. Because our sales and earnings keep going up doesnt mean that were smarter than everyone else, or that we can make it happen because were so big. What it means is that our customers are supporting us. We know what we have to do: keep lowering our prices, keep improving our service, and keep making things better for the folks who shop in our stores.

That is not something we can simply do in some general way.


It isnt something we can command from the executive offices because we want it to happen.

We have to do it store by store, department by department, customer by customer, associate by associate.


Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Store Within A Store: Push Responsibility And Authority Down


Toward that department head whos stocking the shelves and talking to the customer.
What sets us apart is that we train our department heads to be managers of their own businesses. In some cases, these businesses are bigger in annual sales than a lot of our first Wal-Mart stores. This works only because we decided a long time ago to share so much information about the company with our associates, rather than keep everything secretive.

We let them see all the numbers so they know exactly how they are doing within the store and within the company. They know their costs, their markup, their overhead and profit margins. Its a big responsibility and a big opportunity. And, we give them incentives to want to win.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Sales Review Meetings at Corporate - One Store At A Time


When we sit down at our Saturday morning meetings to talk about our business, we like to spend time focusing on a single store, and how that store is doing against a single competitor in that particular market. We talk about what that store is doing right and what its doing wrong.

Focus on a Single Store


Enables us to improve that store Learn a particular way in which, say, the Panama City Beach Wal-Mart is outsmarting the competition on beach towels. Get that information out to all our other beach stores around the country. I dont know any other large retail company Kmart, Sears, Penneys that discusses their sales at the end of the week in any smaller breakdown than by region. We talk about individual stores - if were talking about the store in Harrisburg, Illinois, everybody here is expected to know something about that store how to measure its performance, whether a 20% increase is good or bad, what the payroll is doing, who the competitors are, and how were doing.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Keep Your Ear To The Ground


A computer is not and will never be a substitute for getting out in your stores and learning whats going on. It can tell you down to the dime what youve sold. But it can never tell you how much you could have sold.

Thats why we at Wal-Mart are fanatics about our managers and buyers getting off their chairs here in Bentonville, and getting out into those stores. We have 12 airplanes only one of them is a jet, Im proud to say in our hangars out at the Rogers, Arkansas, airport, and thats why they are there.

We stay in the air to keep our ear to the ground.


Our whole travel system is really an outgrowth of the way I managed those 9 stores back in 1960. I would get in my old Tri-Pacer and fly to those stores once a week to find out what was selling what wasnt, what the competition was up to, what kind of job our managers were doing, what the stores were looking like, what the customers had on their minds. Of course, I have continued to visit stores almost constantly ever since, but with almost 2,000 stores today, a lot of other folks have to get in on the act.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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The Real Hands-On, Get-Down-In-The-Store Stuff


Our district managers are doing the job that I did back in 1960. But we also have 18 Regional Managers based here in Bentonville. Every Monday morning, they pile into those airplanes and head across the country to the stores in their region.
Its a condition of their employment. They stay out 3 to 4 days, usually coming back in on Thursday. Weve drummed into their heads that they should come back with atleast one idea that will pay for the trip. Then they gather with the senior management of the company all of whom should also have been visiting stores earlier in the week if they expect to ask any intelligent questions or know the first thing about whats going on for our Friday morning merchandising meeting. In addition to the field work, we have computer printouts at the meetings which tell us whats selling and whats not.

But the really valuable intelligence that surfaces in these sessions is what everybody has brought from the stores.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Bentonville, Arkansas, Does Not Come to the World


- The World Comes to Bentonville!
It Buys the Most
Company Tandy Brands Accessories Clorox Revlon PJR Tobacco Procter & Gamble % of its total sales to Wal-Mart 39% 23% 20% 20% 17%

It Sells the Most Products


Company Dog Food Disposable diapers Photographic film Toothpaste Pain remedies
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

Wal-Marts U.S. market share 36% 32% 30% 26% 21%


Source: One Nation Under Wal-Mart; Fortune, Feb. 18, 2003

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As the Company Grew, It Exercised Its Muscle on Suppliers


Wal-Mart meets with each Supplier to establish sales goals for the coming year after review of sales results for past weeks and months.

Keeps a Supplier Scorecard

Punctuality of deliveries Data-documented problems about meeting orders or returns of defective products by customers Suppliers not meeting sales targets would face tougher negotiations in the future from the steely Wal-Mart buyers. RFID Mandate to Top 100 Suppliers in 2003

In the Horizon: Scan-based Trading

Suppliers own each product until it is sold. Wal-Mart will never take those orders onto its books. Think of the impact of shedding $50B of inventory. The impact will probably be felt by suppliers, but none are likely to complain. Meta Group Retail Analyst
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Wal-Mart Lives in a World of Supply & Command, Instead of a World of Supply & Demand
An Example: Cross-Docking
Pre-assembled orders for individual stores from a suppliers truck go seamlessly from an unloading dock at Wal-Marts Distribution Center directly into a truck bound for stores Get goods into stores without even unpacking them let alone allowing them to sit in storage ! Until we reached a billion dollars, a lot of suppliers just ignored us way out here in the Arkansas Outback. Now, of course, were too big too ignore.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Vendor-Financed Inventory !
How Cross-Docking Works
At Wal-Marts new distribution centers, P&Gs trucks are unloaded directly to trucks that will head for Wal-Mart Stores. The toothpaste is never even put on warehouse shelves. Once a truck is full, it heads to the stores. Products are put on the shelf within 4 hours, and are usually sold within 24 hours. Despite this tight delivery schedule, Wal-Mart has 10 days to pay P&G.

Benefit of Cross-Docking: Vendor-Financed Inventory


Sell the goods before we have to pay.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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How Wal-Mart Drives a Tough Bargain


Suppliers are shown to the row, a long corridor of drab, windowless cubicles at the Bentonville headquarters, each adorned with a notice that Wal-Marts buyers do not accept bribes. Its like a scene from a bazaar: sweaters spill out of suitcases and haggling over prices continues all day.
We were grapes, but now we are raisins. They suck you dry. Theres a difference between being tough and being obnoxious. Every buyer has to be tough, Thats the job.

Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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How Wal-Mart Drives a Tough Bargain


Buyers are told: Youre not negotiating for Wal-Mart. You are negotiating for your customer. And your customer deserves the best price you can get. Dont ever feel sorry for a vendor. He knows what he can sell for, and we want his bottom price. Vendors are told to quote the best price: If they told me its a dollar, I would say, Fine, Ill consider it, but Im going to go to your competitor, and if he says 90 cents, hes going to get the business. So make sure a dollar is your best price. If thats being hard-nosed then we ought to be as hard-nosed as we can be. You have to be fair and upfront and honest, but you have to drive your bargain because youre dealing for millions and millions of customers who expect the best price they can get. If you buy that thing for $1.25, youve just bought somebody elses inefficiency.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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A Telling Example of Wal-Marts Growth - Went Past Toys R Us by 1998


Toys R Us: Largest Toy Retailer in the U.S.
--- Value Proposition: Choice, Quality, Reasonable Price --- Displaced Dept. Stores and small specialist toy retailers --- 25% share of the market Before Wal-Mart!

Today:
Wal-Mart: Largest Toy Retailer: 25% market share --- Toys R Us Share: 15% (2003 Sales: $11B) --- Value Proposition: One better than Toys R Us: Rock-Bottom PRICES

WAL-MART STRENGTHS:
--- Super-efficient supply chain --- Mass retailer, with a broad diverse array of products --- Can afford to use toys as a loss-leader (lose money on toy sales) to lure in customers who then purchase higher-margin goods - Toys R Us just doesnt have that luxury
Source: Wall Street Journal, August 31, 2004
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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41 Years of Nonstop Growth

Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Sense & Respond Management Process of Wal-Mart : Why They are Unbeatable Disappointing sales on Friday, Nov 26, 2004 (the day after Thanksgiving), Traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year - Wal-Mart knows it literally at the end of the day Because of their state-of-the-art information system

Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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How did Wal-Mart Management respond to it?


1. Within a couple of hours, Michael Duke, the president of Wal-Mart, had gotten messages on his Blackberry that sales were off at stores around the country. He brainstormed with execs and store managers about which products to mark down.
A team met over the weekend to finalize the list and contact suppliers. On Tuesday, stores nationwide offered the new prices.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

2.
3. 4.

Source: www.fastcompany.com
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How did Wal-Mart Management respond to it?


5. 6. 7. On Thursday, Wal-Mart broadcast a video for its stores suggesting new displays. The next day, the displays were up, and a new ad campaign was underway. On Saturday, the company conducted a meeting with 500 employees asking for more ideas -- and acted on 21 of their recommendations. The result? The retailer expects December sales to be up three percent. Alth ugh it's not the holiday season it had initially hoped for, it represents a heck of a comeback.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

Source: www.fastcompany.com

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Wal-Marts Exception Management Driven by IT


At Wal-Mart, problems are referred to as exceptions. We keep watching everything that just happened. We are pretty near realtime. We can tell people that they need to go do something, and we are within hours, depending on the event.
The event may be a trucks failure to drop off or pick up something. It could be the absence of an important product in the stores backroom or in the distribution centre that serves the store. Or, it could be an act of nature like the hurricanes that descended, one after another, on Florida in 2004
Source: New York Times, Nov. 14, 2004
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Reflecting on the Wal-Mart Business Model - What Is It Grounded On?


1. 2. 3. 4. Use of IT Cost Control Partnership with Suppliers Partnership with Employees

How did a Small-town Merchant get these Innovative Ideas?


Walton tells it all in his folksy, conversational style in his autobiography; Sam Walton: Made in America My Story, Bantam Paperback, June 1993 He died in April 1992, after fighting a two-year battle against a form of bone cancer.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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How did Walton Get IT?

1966 Store #5 was under construction


I knew we had to get better organized than we were. We had lists of items we were supposed to carry, and we were dependent on the people in the stores to keep records of everything manually this was at a time when quite a few people were beginning to go into computerization.

Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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How did Walton Get IT?


I had read a lot about that, and I was curious. I made up my mind I was going to learn something about IBM computers.
So I enrolled in an IBM school for retailers in Poughkeepsie, New York. One of the speakers was from the National Mass Retailers Institute Abe Marks, Head of a Discount Retailer in Connecticut.

I visited with Abe a number of times at his New York office, and he was a very open guy. He shared with me how he used computers to control your merchandise.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Best Utilizer of Information To Control Absentee Ownerships


Sam knew that you are putting your stores where you, as management, arent. If he wanted to grow, he had to learn to control it.

Need Timely I to Service the Stores

- How much merchandise is in the store? - What is selling? What is not? - What is to be ordered? Marked down? Key Metric: Inventory Turnover Ratio of Sales to Inventory Higher Inventory Turnover Less Working Capital

The man is a genius. He realized even at the rudimentary level he was on in 1966, operating those few stores that he had that he couldnt expand beyond that horizon unless he had the capability to capture this information on paper so that he could control his operations, no matter where they might be Gave him the ability to open many stores, and run them well, and be profitable.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Growth of Wal-Mart Stores


Year 1962 1966 1968 1970* 1972 1974 1976 1978 1980 1990 # of Stores 1 5 13 32 51 78 125 195 276 1,528 Sales (million $)

31 78 168 340 678 1,200 26,000

* Went public on Oct 1, 1970 100 shares in 1970 @ $16.50 Nine Two-For-One Stock Splits 51,200 shares in 1990 @ $62.50 Initial Investment of $1,650 in 1970 worth $3M in 1990
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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How Did Walton Manage IT?


I knew Id never be any whizbang computer guy myself, so I had another reason for going to that school. I was looking to have a good, bright systems person, and I figured I might find one there. Thats where I first met Ron Mayer, then the smart young CFO at Duckwall Stores in Abilene, Kansas. I targeted him as the guy we needed at Wal-Mart, and started wooing him right there. Like so many of them, he wasnt interested just then in moving to Bentonville, Arkansas, to work for somebody he knew next to nothing about. Later on, we changed his mind He joined Wal-Mart in 1968 as VP for finance and distribution.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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How Did Walton Manage IT?


From Ron Mayers arrival on, we as a company have been ahead of most other retailers in investing in sophisticated equipment and technology. The funny thing is: everybody at Wal-Mart knows that I have fought all these technology expenditures as hard as I could. The truth is: I did want it. I knew we needed it, but I just couldnt bring myself to say, OK, sure, spend what you need.

I always questioned everything. It was important to me to make them think that may be the technology wasnt as good as they thought it was, or may be it wasnt the end-all they promised it would be.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Growth of IT in Wal-Mart
1978: Bar Coding & SKU Inventory System
When Jack Shewmaker became our COO in 1978, he worked really hard at getting me to invest in more and better computer systems, so that we could track sales and inventories across the company, especially in-store transactions.

1983: Satellite Communication System


Once we had those scanners in the stores, we had all this data pouring into Bentonvile over phone lines. Those lines have a limited capacity, so as we added more and more stores, we had a real logjam of stuff coming in from the field. I like my numbers as quickly as I can get them. The quicker we get that information, the quicker we can act on it. The technology did not really exist to do this for a retailer in the early Eighties. But we got together with Macom & Hughes Corporation and worked out a contract Committed $24 M to build it It was not an immediate success. But we got it working. Now, everybody has one - Jack Shewmaker
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Value of IT in Wal-Mart - According to Walton


A few years ago, we built this huge building right next to our offices around 135,000 sq. ft. just to house the computers, and everyone at the time told me how much room wed have to grow. I mean it was really empty in there just 2 or 3 years ago. Well, already its completely full of computer equipment. And, when I look back, its no wonder

Weve spent almost $700 M building up the computer and satellite systems we have Im told its the largest Civilian database in the world even bigger than AT&Ts. None of that matters to me. What I like about it is the kind of information we can pull out of it on a moments notice.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Value of IT in Wal-Mart - According to Walton


We keep a 65-week rolling history of every single item we stock. I can pick anything, say a little combination TV/VCR like I use here in my office, and tell you exactly how many of them weve bought over the last year and a quarter and exactly how many of them weve sold. Not only overall, but in every region, every district, every store.

It makes it tough for a vendor to know more about how his product is doing in our stores than we do.

Weve always known that information gives you a certain power, but the degree to which we can retrieve it in our computer does give us the competitive advantage.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Partnership with Suppliers - Started with P&G


One day my close friend, George Billingslay, asked me to join him on a canoe trip down the Spring River. He said he was bringing along an old friend named Lou Pritchett, who was a V.P. with P&G at the time, and who wanted to meet me and talk about some things relating to our two companies. So I went along, and it turned out to be the most productive float trip I ever took with George. During that time on the river, we both decided that the entire relationship between vendor and retailer was at issue. Both focused on the end-user the customer but each did it independently of the other. No sharing of information, no planning together, no systems coordination.

We were simply two giant entities going our separate ways, oblivious to the excess costs created by this obsolete system.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Sharing of Information - Key for Win-Win Partnership


We assembled the top ten officers of both the companies in Bentonville for two days of soul-searching and thinking. Within three months, we had created a P&G / Wal-Mart team to build a whole new kind of vendor relationship. We formed a partnership to conduct our business, with one of the most important outcomes being that we started sharing information by computer.

P&G could monitor Wal-Marts sales and inventory data, and then use that information to make its own production and shipping plans more efficiently. We broke new ground by using IT to manage our business together, instead of just to audit it.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Employees: Key to Customer Loyalty


The way management treats the associates is exactly how the associates will then treat the customers. And if the associates treat the customers well, the customers will retain again And, THAT IS WHERE THE REAL PROFIT IS

Satisfied, loyal, repeat customer are at the heart of Wal-Marts spectacular profit margins, and those customers are loyal to us because our associates treat them better than salespeople in other stores do.
Our relationships with the associates is a partnership in the truest sense. Its the only reason our company has been consistently able to outperform the competition and even our own expectations.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Sam Waltons Confession


Now I would love to tell you that this partnership was all part of my master plan from the beginning, that as a young man I had same sort of vision of a great retailer company in which all the employees would be awarded a stake in the business That I saw them having the opportunity to participate in many of the decisions that would determine the profitability of that business.

I would love to tell you all that, but unfortunately none of it would be true!
In the beginning, I was so chintzy I really didnt pay my employees well. The managers were fine, but we really didnt do much for the clerks except pay them an hourly wage, and I guess that wage was as little as we could get by with at the time.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Then, Eureka ! - Walton Saw the Light


In the very early days of the business, I was so doggoned competitive, and so determined to do well, that I was blinded to the most basic truth, really the principle that became the foundation of Wal-Marts success Back then, I was so obsessed with turning in a profit margin of 6% or higher; and, no matter how you slice it in the retail business, payroll is one of the most important parts of overhead. Overhead is one of the most crucial things you have to fight to maintain your profit margin That was true then, and its still true today The larger truth that I failed to see turned out to be another of these paradoxes like the discounters principle of the less you charge, the more you will earn

AND, HERE IT IS: The more you share profits with your associates, whether its in salaries or incentives or bonuses or stock discounts the more profit will accrue to the company.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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The Idea for Sharing Profits & Benefits NOT From Me, But From Helen
We were on a trip, and we were talking about the high salary that Sam was earning, and about all the money and benefits that he was paying the officers of the company in order to keep his top people. He explained that the people in the store didnt get any of those benefits .

I think it was the first time I realized how little the company was doing for them. I suggested to him that, unless those people were on board, the top people might not last long either .
I remember it because he didnt really appreciate my point of view then. Later on, I knew he was thinking about it, and when he bought it, he really bought it. We didnt include our associates in the initial, managers-only profit sharing plan when we took the company public in 1970. There was nobody around preaching that philosophy in those days

In 1971, we corrected my big error of the year before, and started a profitsharing plan for all the associates Profit-sharing has been the carrot thats kept Wal-Mart headed forward.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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One of the Most Successful Bonuses - Our Shrink Incentive Plan


Unaccounted-for inventory loss theft is one of the biggest enemies of profitability in the retail business. So, in 1980, we decided the best way to control the problem was to share with the associates any profitability the company gained by reducing shrinkage. If a store holds shrinkage below the companys goal, every associate in that store gets a bonus that could be as much as $200. Our shrinkage % is about half the industry average.

Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Employees Monitor Shrinkage !


Most associates dont want to think that theyre working alongside anyone who does enjoy stealing. So, under a plan like this, where you are directly rewarded for honesty, theres a real incentive to not ignore any customers who might want to walk off with something, or, worse, to allow any of your fellow associates to fall into that trap. Everybody in that store becomes a partner in trying to stop shrinkage, and when they succeed, they, along with the company in which they already hold stock, share in the reward.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Empowering Front-Line Employees - Sharing Rather Than Hoarding, Information


The only way they can possibly do their jobs to the best of their abilities.
Obviously, some of that information flows to the street. But I just believe the value of sharing it with our associates is much greater than any downside there may be to sharing it with folks on the outside. It doesnt seem to have hurt us much so far. Nowadays, I see management articles about information sharing as a new source of power in corporations. Weve been doing this from the days when we only had a handful of stores. Weve kept doing it as we have grown. Thats why weve spent hundreds of millions of dollars on computers and satellites to spread all the little details around the company as fast as possible. But they were worth the cost. Its only because of IT that our store managers have a really clear sense of how theyre doing most of the time. They get all kinds of information transmitted to them over the satellite on an amazingly timely basis like, for example, up-to the-minute sales date that tells them whats selling in their own store.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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- Control Your Expenses Better Than Your Competition

Obsessive Focus on Costs

Every time Wal-Mart spends one dollar foolishly, it comes out of our customers pockets. Every time we save them a dollar, that puts us one more step ahead of the competition, which is where we always plan to be. Sam Walton Fifteen years after his death, frugality is still ingrained in Wal-Marts culture.

Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Walton Led By Example


Frugality came naturally to Walton, who was a country boy. He drove an old pick-up truck, and flew economy class. Im not saying every company should necessarily be as chintzy as Wal-Mart. Everybodys not in the discount business, consumed by trying to save every possible dollar for their customers I feel its upto me as a leader to set an example. Its not fair for me to ride one way and ask everybody else to ride another way, The minute you do that, you start building resentment and your whole team idea begins to strain at the seams.

If American management is going to say to their workers that were all in this together, theyre going to have to stop this foolishness of paying themselves $3M and $4M bonuses every year and riding around everywhere in limos and corporate jets like theyre so much better than everybody else.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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The 2 Percent Formula - For Corporate Overhead Expenses


When we had about 5 stores, I tried to operate on a 2% general office expense structure. I just pulled it out of the air. Most companies then charged 5% of their sales to run their offices. But we have always operated lean. We have had our people do more than in their companies. It has been our heritage, our obsession, that we would be more productive and more efficient than our competition. We have not changed that basic formula from 5 stores to 2,000 stores. In fact, we are actually operating at a far lower % today in office overhead than we did 30 years ago. And, that includes tremendous expenses for computer support and distribution center support everything that we supply centrally in the way of support for the stores.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Stay Lean, Fight Bureaucracy


A lot of first-time visitors are shocked by our executive offices. Most people say my office and those of the other Wal-Mart executives look like something youd find in a truck terminal We sure as heck wont win any interior decorating awards, but theyre all we need, and they must be working fine. Just ask our shareholders. A lot of bureaucracy is really the product of some empire builders ego. Some folks have a tendency to build up big staffs around them to emphasize their own importance. We dont need any of that at Wal-Mart.

If youre not serving the customer, or supporting the folks who do, we dont need you.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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A PARADOX ! Wal-Mart Retreats from Germany in July 2006


Entered Germany in 1997 Bought two struggling German retail chains 95 stores in 1999 Persisted for 8 years before admitting defeat Too afraid to tarnish its image by pulling out of the worlds third largest economy Fiscal 2006 Sales: $ 2.5 B; Losses: $ 127.5 M Total International Sales: $ 63 B; Global Sales: $ 312 B Struggled from the outset against stiff local competition Closed 10 of the initial 95 stores
Sold its 85 stores to Germanys largest retailer, Metro Pre-tax Loss: $ 1 B on the Deal
Source: Financial Times, July 29-30, 2006
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

Tried German managers, US managers, and a combination of the two.

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Germanys Discount Retail Market - A Tough One to Crack


German shoppers are frugal People in this country only ever look out for one thing PRICE This trait should have been a boon for Wal-Mart - the guardian of EDLP But Germany already had a number of homegrown discounters Regulations restrict store hours and other retailing basics Carrefour, Wal-Marts biggest global competitor, operates in 29 countries But has steered clear of Germany

It is clearly a very challenging market for us that we have not figured out. Wal-Mart CEO, April 2006
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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German Discounters - Proved to be A Real Match for Wal-Mart


Power of Privately-held Discounters Aldi & Lidl Grown their market share to 40% vs. < 2% for Wal-Mart Had discovered the efficiency of drab out-of-town store sites and economies of scale that made their suppliers sweat Kept costs AND prices low

Underpriced Wal-Mart

Sell a limited selection in each store 850 to 1,000 items vs. 100,000 at Wal-Mart Stock mainly their own brands 80% of German consumers are 20 minutes from an Aldi

Aldi has invaded Wal-Marts home turf opened more than 700 stores in the U.S.
Source: Asian Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2006
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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BIG Mistake Made by Wal-Mart - Exported Its Culture Wholesale


Did NOT Adapt to the German Market Little feel for German shoppers They care more about price than having their bags packed. The German consumer does not like extra service as hes worried that hell have to pay for it. Bag-packers were reassigned ! Little feel for German staff as well They hid in the toilets to escape the morning Wal-Mart cheer.
We screwed up in Germany. Our biggest mistake was putting our name up before we had the service and low prices - Head of Wal-Mart International, The Economist, Dec 6, 2001
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Germany Was Not The Only Failure


Before Germany, South Korea
Sold its 16 stores in May 2006

Another Problem Child: Japan


Took a stake in the Seiyu store chain over 400 stores in 2002

Faced Problems Similar to Germany


Sluggish domestic consumer market

Challenge of adapting its global strengths to the different cultural expectations of its Japanese customers

Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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The Japan Expansion - Seiyu Store Chain Still Hangs Heavily


Took Full Management Control of Seiyu
Invested an additional $565M in Dec 2005 Became the majority owner of Seiyu Ended the uneasy effort to cooperate with the previous Japanese-led management Dispatched former COO of Wal-Mart International to take command of the Seiyu operation

Challenges in Japan
Low-cost format is not established in the market Will Japanese consumers respond to its efforts to turn Seiyu, a conventional Japanese department store, into something closer to its discount store model?
Source: The Financial Times, July 29-30, 2006
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Maturing US Business - Impacting Wal-Mart Share Price


Sales Growth at Existing Stores Sliding Since the Late 1990s
FY06: 3% same-store sales gains vs. 9% in 1999; > 6% for Target Q2 Profit in FY07 likely to fall 23% despite 14% rise in sales First time in 10 years

Stock Price Down 35% from Peak in Dec 1999


Despite $11B Earnings on $312B Revenue for FY06 10% rise from previous year

US Division: 78% of Total Sales BIG Challenge in the US Market

Cant rely solely on building hundreds of new stores each year to perpetuate growth Must find ways to generate more sales at existing US stores
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Source: Wall Street Journal, Sept 7, 2006 & Economic Times, Aug 15, 2006
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

The Price of Becoming a Behemoth - A Rash of Lawsuits & Negative Publicity


Its Giant Stores: Symbols of Big Retail
Blamed for the destruction of entire communities Eliminates jobs when it moves into a new community Drives down retail wages in that community since Wal-Marts low price forces other businesses to lower their prices and hence their wages.
Crushes Kmarts and mom-and-pops alike Decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs as both Wal-Mart & its Vendors turn to cheaper overseas sources 6 women filed a suit in 2001 alleging that Wal-Mart doesnt fairly pay & promote women Federal judge ruled in 2004 that the suit could proceed as a class action covering 1.6M current and former female employees

Companys Pursuit of Low Prices


Class Action Suit for Sex-Discrimination


Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Information?


Wal-Marts Unusually Detail-Rich Human-Resources Database
Contains data on Performance reviews Seniority & Time Spent with the Company Which Store ?

Judge Has Allowed Use of the Database


To compare whether men and women working in the same store were paid differently Whether women were fairly promoted compared to men
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Wal-Mart CEO Rebuts Critics


We used to believe you could run the company out of Bentonville, and if you took care of your business, employees and customers, everyone would leave us alone. What were trying to do now is reach out. Where were wrong, we change, so our detractors dont have a foothold in attacking us. Where were right, we will fight and take each issue to the wall.

Impact of Lawsuits
Sam Walton believed that there were only two types of employees he wouldnt give a second chance to those who abused people and those who stole We have 1.5 million employees, including every kind of person known to man racists, sexists, etc. If someone made a negative racial comment in the past, instead of dealing with it severely, we might have transferred him. In todays world, he has to go. The number of people not doing the right thing is a small %. But it is unfair when that number is seen as representative of a wider institutional pattern.
Source: Wall Street Journal, Oct 6, 2004
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Response to Charges of Discrimination


Started companywide computer postings of management openings Hired a Director of Diversity Executive managers bonuses based on diversity targets CEO personally stands to forfeit $600K of his bonus if the company falls short of company goals

CEO is also getting out more, meeting with investors, community groups and the media
Playing the role of the Companys public defender and explainer To avoid future growth being constrained by political barriers, Wal-Mart will have to raise its head from Bentonville, and worry more about how it is perceived
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Response to Charges of Low Wages


The United Food & Commercial Workers union has been successful in creating in peoples minds the perception that we pay inadequate wages & benefits.

I like the free-enterprise system in this country


Two-thirds of our managers are promoted from the ranks of hourly employees. Over 75% of our workers are full-time. We paid $2B last year in health benefits. We pay more than our Competitors. We opened a store in Phoenix recently and 5,000 people applied for 500 openings.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Driving Out Competitors


I get irritated as sin when I read that we historically sell our toys at a loss
We have a phenomenal toy business, and our profits are exceptionally good. Its one of the highest margin businesses. We say we sell for less, which means, if a competitors prices are lower, we will drop our prices, even if it means below our cost.

Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Unpopularity is Hard for Wal-Marts Executives to Understand


After all, EDLP has been good for consumers Criticism Leveled Against Wal-Mart:

To benefit your customers, you drive down prices as low as possible. But doesnt that encourage manufacturers to move jobs overseas, which puts some of your customers out of work, so they cant afford to buy as much at Wal-Mart. Isnt that a vicious circle and does that really benefit America ?

CEOs Response:

We have a history of working with companies like P&G, Kellogg, PepsiCo to drive out unnecessary costs inventory buildup, packaging expenses from the business and pass the savings onto the customer. Say we do business with a certain manufacturer and give them all the shelf space for their products. And other retailers are sourcing a similar item overseas and offering greater value. Ultimately, the customer will make the decision. Manufacturers are putting themselves at risk.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Wal-Marts Global Ambitions


International Revenues: 20% of Total Sales in FY06 Fastest-growing business segment Focused on Asia & Latin America Bought a stake in Central Americas largest retailer in late 2005 gained a majority stake in March 2006 60 retail outlets & 30,000 employees in China We have plans to open 20 new stores in China this year. Exit from South Korea & Germany in 2006 Put it farther from its target of getting a third of its sales and profit growth overseas Fallen behind Carrefour in expanding globally will operate in 11 countries outside the U.S., vs. 29 Carrefor Deepened its India Focus in 2006 Set up a liaism office in Bangalore to undertake its Indian market research The Indian market is much less competitive than Germany and Korea, and its middle class is hungry for modern retailing prices and products sold by Western retailers like Wal-Mart
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

Source: Economic Times, August 14, 2006 80

Wal-Mart Opens Doors to Unions - In China: August 2006


After years of fighting unionization efforts at its stores in the U.S., WalMart decided to allow unions in China after years of pressure from the All China Federation of Trade Unions
Unionization is required under Chinese law. Wal-Mart Supports Chinas Efforts to Build a Harmonious Society. Company Announcement Will collaborate with the All China Federation because the two groups had the mutual aim to establish grassroots unions Unions in China do not have the history of bargaining power that unions in Europe and the U.S. have The function of Chinese unions is to urge workers to participate in the work, care about their welfare, and to organize recreational activities for them. Statement from the All China Federation: If Wal-Mart union members are subjected to unfair treatment at work, unions at the national, provincial, city and district level will strive all out to protect employees legitimate rights.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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To Boost Sales, Wal-Mart Drops One-Size-Fits-All Approach


Break Its 3,400 U.S. Stores into 6 Different Models
Affluent Shoppers, African-Americans, Empty-Nesters, Hispanics, Suburbanite & Rural Residents

Wal-Mart is all things to all people.

By offering customers all the same things, you end up under-serving everyone because you dont have an offering that is specific to that customer segment. CEO of U.S. stores and architect of the new approach. Huge shift for a Company that grew on the strength of standardization

Test Run of Localization Theory in Mexico


Six Different formats with different merchandise mix to better target different income levels The Bodega stores catered to low-income customers with basic breads, while the Superama stores lured the affluent with rich deserts and fancier display cases Sales per sq.ft rose by 10%
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Address Specific Customer Segments With a Precison That Better Meets Their Needs & Wants Segmentation of U.S. Market based on ethnicity and lifestyle in addition to income

New Store in Plano, Texas: Affluent Shoppers


3,000 different items targeting the well-heeled About 3% of the approx. 100,000 items in an average Wal-Mart supercenter Twice the number of organic products Expanded the wine section with 1,000 bottles, at prices ranging from $4 to $500 Removed the Gun Department Expanded the Home-Fitness Equipment area
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Hears the Customers Voice !


Interviewed 50 women in North Dallas
Complained how cluttered Wal-Mart store seems

Made changes, large and small


Welcome instead of Entrance over the front stores Aisles are at least a foot wider than at the typical Wal-Mart Special displays of products that normally mark Wal-Marts main aisles have been removed Research showed that after about 8 ft., shoppers eyes glaze over and they stop noticing what is on a shelf Designed shelves that jut out with a rounded edge where special items are displayed.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

84

Another Example: New Store In Largely White Suburb of Chicago


Determined that Shoppers would be Predominantly AfricanAmerican from nearby Chicago Study of the area showed it had a high number of premature births Store stocked up on clothes and baby-bottle nipples geared for preemies Both have been strong sellers Doubled the amount of cosmetics for African-American women Increased the gospel, rhythm and blues, and hip-hop music section to 92 ft., almost 4 times the size at an average Wal-mart

This Wal-Mart has stuff for all your needs - the right music, make up, baby things.
A 19-year-old African-American shopper, who is holding a friends baby.
Source: Wall Street Journal, Sept 7, 2006
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

85

Localization Strategy Entailed Shaking Up the Management Structure


Beefed up its Marketing Dept., adding Ph.D.s in areas such as ethnology, food science, and research and evaluation Segmented its shoppers using census data and customer feedback, among other things, into demographic groups. Moved 27 Regional GMs from Bentonville to the Regions By reading the newspapers, watching the TV stations and being part of the community, I have a better flavour for whats going on. Regional GM for 132 stores in Illinois, who moved to a Chicago suburb. Gave Local Store Managers More Say in What Products to Carry Added new field staff responsible for following trends in fashion, food and consumer electronics
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

86

First Venture Into Interactive Consumer-Generated Advertising - To Reach Out to Fashion-Conscious Youth Consumers

Back-to-school Season Marketing Campaign in July 2006


The Hub-School My Way, jointly sponsored by Sony and put together by a unit of Omnicon, the worlds biggest marketing agency.

An online competition inviting high school students


To check out what styles are on the horizon, and to express your style Create your own web pages and videos Winners to be used in a Wal-Mart cable television commercial, possibly also for cinema release.

We are just scratching the surface. Instead of a small number of ad agency executives creating the best ads, millions of people will be contributing to creating the best ads a huge change that will really enhance brand advertising.
Chief Executive of ViTrue, which provides marketers with the technology to create interactive advertising.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

Source: The Financial Times, July 21, 2006


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Back to Basics for Wal-Mart - A Flexible Workforce


A New Plan for Manning Stores: Employees Work Schedule Tailored to the Demands of Customer Shopping Habits To improve the bottom-line
Despite the risk of more bad PR on worker issues Something to cheer its loudest critics now, the investors

Invested in Software-Generated Workforce Optimization


Meet heavy shopping hours with more help Scale down during slower periods, generally weekday afternoons Shorter lines at the register mean more happy customers who are more likely to return More important to the business than a cashier, unhappy about spreading her work week over 4 days instead of 3, who quits and does not return
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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Will It Work ?
Piloted in 39 Stores Roll-out to All U.S. Locations by end-2007
Our surveys indicate that customers had a better shopping experience. Affects 1M workers

Already Drawing Union Wrath


But, of course, that is nothing new. The United Food & Commercial Workers already devote 10 pages of their Web site to Wal-Mart bashing, so whats one more Two other major chains, Target & Lowes, have already rolled out such a plan in the U.S.

But, when youre the biggest player on the block, everything you do will draw reaction.
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

Source: Times of India, Jan 9, 2007


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At the End of the Day


Few doubt that Wal-Mart has both the patience and the resources to stay on top.

Never underestimate them. They foster an image as country hicks. It makes the kill more of a surprise. A Retail Analyst Certainly, Wal-Mart has made mistakes, but it has also got more things right than its rivals, who mistake its small-town simplicity for naivety at their peril. Just because we are simple doesnt mean we are unintelligent. Wal-Mart CEO
Source: The Economist, Dec 6, 2001
Dr. Lakshmi Mohan

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