Posted: November 28th, 2013
Establishing a Timeline
Establishing a Timeline
With more than ten thousand retail stores in twenty-seven countries, and a workforce of more than two million, Wal-Mart is the biggest retail outlet in the country. It is a discount store, whose main purpose is to provide quality items to its customers at affordable prices, and thus enabling them to save money. The company is one of the most profitable companies in the world. It had sales of $443 billion dollars in the fiscal year 2012. The company was formed by Sam Walton in 1962, and it is the largest private employer. The retail store deals with different varieties of goods such as household items, electronics, lawn and garden, food and groceries, health products, clothing, shoes and jewelry among others. It also has a pharmacy and a photo-processing center. The company has different divisions. These include the Wal-Mart discount stores, super centers, Sam’s club, the neighborhood markets and the Wal-Mart express stores. One of the strategic tools, which the company uses, is low prices, and this has continued to attract customers to its stores. The company is able to do this by dealing directly with the manufactures of the products and this enables it to purchase the products at cheaper prices. This translates into cheaper prices for the customers.
The Legal, Social, and Economic Environments
Wal-Mart has faced several legal issues, some of which have been costly. It has been sued by some of the employees who have worked for them in the past. Some of the cases were brought forward by female employees, who claim that they were victimized, especially concerning payments and promotions. The company has policies against discrimination, including sex discrimination. In the past, the company was charged with letting underage workers operate machinery and for hiring illegal immigrants (Associated Press, 2005). Many shoppers who frequent the Wal-Mart stores like it because they can shop for almost all they need at one price, and at low prices. Some of the shoppers have however complained that this has affected the quality of goods they offer. They therefore choose to go to other stores, which might be pricey, but they offer goods that are of higher quality. The company is engaged in different social activities, such as donating food and non-food items to people in need.
The company is concerned about the environment, and it has taken different initiatives to ensure that it helps in conserving the environment. It has resolved to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the use of fossil fuels. The company’s decision to collaborate with Samsung has made it possible for its customers to recycle the electronic goods such as DVD players. The company is working with various brands to ensure that they do not use PVC when packaging. The company also aims to reduce packaging by 5% in all its stores around the world. In addition, the company hopes to reduce waste by applying the principles of reducing, reusing and recycling. It hopes to eliminate the waste on the landfills and the use of plastic bags. It has reduced the use of plastic bags by packing goods in reusable bags. Customers can then take the bags with them when they go shopping.
The financial crisis has affected the store as it struggles to expand by increasing the number of its stores. Many people were laid off, and the price of different products became expensive. The consumers did not have a lot of money to spend, and this affected the company since if depends on the American culture of consumerism. For the first time, the company experienced a reduction in its sales in 2008. The financial crisis increased the competition in the stores. The company began changing its strategies so that it could attract more customers. Since then, the company has reduced the size of its stores especially in the super centers. The company has spent a lot of money remodeling, and this has not translated into increased sales (Seabury, 2011).
Organization’s managerial, operational, and financial issues
The company’s method of management is largely influenced by its founder. Sam Walton expected the managers to know the happenings in the store, and they had to take a hands-on approach to management. The managers are expected to mingle with the workers and customers as this will enable them to know the customers, and workers needs better. The management realizes the importance of workers in the business. The management understands that treating its workers well will in turn lead to them fulfilling the company’s main objective, which is to ensure that all customers are satisfied. In this regard, all the company’s employees are referred to as associates. Walton also established the
Wal-Mart has managed to surpass its competitors although they sell the same goods. This is because of the way it does its business operations. It has managed to do this by using techniques such as cross docking. This technique ensures that the goods transported from the manufacturers are not taken to storage, therefore leading to lower operational and inventory costs and maximizing the profits (Hossenlopp et al., 2010). The distribution centers are used for prepackaging the materials that are needed in the stores. Other than offering low prices, the company also uses other strategies to ensure that it continues to be profitable. It has different shop designs for all its stores. It considers all the demography groups when designing its stores. The company is always looking for different ways when laying out the designs and this guarantees customer satisfaction, since this will save them time when they are shopping. The company has made it difficult and expensive for competitors to enter the market by ensuring that they have price leadership. The company has a diversified workforce composed of both the skilled and the semi-skilled workers. It hires people of different ages ranging from students to the senior citizens. A significant proportion of its workforce is aged over fifty years old. It motivates the workers by offering bonuses based on their performance.
The company uses Just in time to manage inventory. This ensures that it has low ordering and holding costs. It reduces the lead-time, safety stock and economic order quantity. The company has heavily invested in technology in all its operations. One of the ways it has done this is by using the radio frequency identification (RFID). RFID tracks the goods and informs a person of their exact location. It is effective since it is compatible with just in time. It eliminates the need to count the inventory physically. It enhances customer satisfaction since they do not have to wait for the inventory to be taken. This also reduces the costs of inventory and labor. The company uses the Gantt chart as scheduling technique in most of its operations such as marketing and product releases.
The following is the company’s timeline
1962- The first discount store is opened in Rogers Ark.
1968- Begins operating the first discount stores outside Arkansas
1969- Incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores Inc
1070- Begins selling shares as a public traded company
1971- The company’s first distribution center begins operating
1972- Approved and listed on the New York Stock Exchange
1983- Acquires the U.S. Woolco Stores
1991- Starts international operations by opening a store in Mexico
2002- Receives the Ron Brown Award
Associated Press (2005). Wal-Mart struggles with deeper problems. Retrieved from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7901047/ns/business-us_business/t/wal-mart-struggles-deeper-problems/
Hossenlopp, R., Hossenlopp, R & PMP editor (2010). Organizational project management: Linking strategy and projects. Vienna, VA: Management Concepts
Seabury, C. (2011). Wal-Mart and target face similar challenges. Retrieved from http://www.ira.com/challenges-facing-walmart-target
Walmart.com. (2012) About us. Retrieved from http://walmartstores.com
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