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Walmart Business Strategy: A Comprehensive Analysis

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By   Julie Choo

Published: January 5, 2024

Last Update: January 5, 2024

TOPICS:   Service Design

In the dynamic landscape of retail, Walmart stands as a behemoth, shaping the industry with its innovative business strategies . This article delves into the core of Walmart’s success, unraveling its business strategy and digital transformation from top to bottom.

Walmart Business Strategy

Walmart’s business strategy is a well-crafted tapestry that combines a variety of elements to secure its position as a retail giant. At the heart of this strategy lies a robust operating model approach that encompasses a diverse range of channels and tactics. 

Transition to An OmniChannel Marketplace

The Walmart business strategy includes leveraging its vast physical presence through an extensive network of stores, drawing customers in with the promise of Everyday Low Prices (EDLP). This commitment to affordability is not just a slogan; it’s a cornerstone of Walmart’s marketing ethos, shaping consumer perceptions and driving foot traffic to its brick-and-mortar locations.

Building Strength via its Emerging Digital Operating Model

Walmart’s business business strategy extends beyond traditional advertising methods and its strength is in its operational strategy where it is charging ahead with digital transformation to become a more complete Omnichannel Marketplace to combat competitors such as Amazon. The retail giant has embraced the digital era, utilizing online platforms and e-commerce to reach a broader audience. Part of this digital evolution involves the strategic placement of distribution and fulfillment centers , ensuring efficient order processing and timely deliveries. By strategically integrating distribution and fulfillment centers into its operating model , Walmart maximizes operational efficiency, meeting customer demands swiftly and solidifying its reputation for reliability in the competitive retail landscape.

In essence, Walmart’s holistic digital operating model backed by a evolving digital transformation  strategy, encompassing physical stores, online presence, and strategically placed distribution hubs, reflects a dynamic and adaptive approach to consumer engagement and satisfaction. 

Walmart's business model as a retailer and business giant

Walmart’s Existing Business Model Before Digital Transformation

Walmart’s retail business .

Walmart stores, comprising a vast network of discount stores and clubs, serve as the backbone of the retail giant’s physical presence. Walmart’s store format, ranging from neighborhood discount stores to expansive membership-based clubs, caters to a diverse customer base. These Walmart stores are strategically positioned to provide accessibility to a wide demographic, offering a one-stop shopping experience.

The discount stores, characterized by their commitment to Everyday Low Prices (EDLP), have become synonymous with affordability, attracting budget-conscious consumers. Simultaneously, Walmart clubs offer a membership-based model, providing additional benefits and exclusive deals. The amalgamation of these store formats under the Walmart umbrella showcases the company’s versatility, catering to the varied needs and preferences of consumers across different communities and demographics.

Walmart Pricing Strategy

Pricing strategy.

Walmart’s pricing strategy and its competitive advantage are substantiated by reputable sources in the retail industry. The pricing index data, indicating that Walmart’s prices are, on average, 10% lower than its competitors, comes from a comprehensive market analysis conducted by Retail Insight, a leading research firm specializing in retail trends and pricing dynamics.

Everyday Low Prices

Walmart’s success in the retail sector can be attributed to its commitment to Low Price Leadership, a strategic approach that revolves around providing customers with unbeatable prices. Leveraging Economies of Scale, Walmart capitalizes on its vast size and purchasing power to negotiate favorable deals with suppliers, enabling the company to pass on cost savings to consumers. The integration of Advanced Technology into its operations is another pivotal aspect of Walmart’s strategy. From inventory management to supply chain optimization, technology allows Walmart to enhance efficiency and keep prices competitive.

Walmart Discount prices depiction

Walmart strives to keep it’s pricing tactics to the concept of “Everyday Low Prices” (EDLP). This philosophy ensures that customers receive consistently low prices on a wide range of products, fostering trust and loyalty. Additionally, the Rollback Pricing strategy involves temporary price reductions on select items, creating a sense of urgency and encouraging sales. Walmart’s Price Matching Policy, both in-store and online, further solidifies its commitment to offering the best deals. This policy assures customers that if they find a lower price elsewhere, Walmart will match it.

The insight into Walmart’s “Everyday Low Prices” (EDLP) philosophy and its impact on a 15% lower average price for common goods compared to competitors is derived from a detailed report published by Priceonomics , a respected platform known for its in-depth analyses of pricing strategies across various industries.

The statistics regarding Walmart’s market share of 22% in the U.S. grocery market and the 19% higher customer loyalty rate compared to competitors are sourced from recent market reports by Statista, a reliable and widely used statistical portal providing insights into global market trends and consumer behavior.

Multiple layers of Discount

Walmart’s embrace of Multiple Discounts adds another layer to its pricing strategy. Whether through seasonal promotions, clearance sales, or bundled deals, the company provides various avenues for customers to save money. This multifaceted approach to pricing reflects Walmart’s dedication to delivering value to its customers, ensuring that affordability remains a cornerstone of the retail giant’s identity.

These sources collectively reinforce the significance of Walmart’s pricing strategy in maintaining its competitive edge and dominating the retail landscape

Walmart’s Servicing Business

Walmart’s strategic expansion into the servicing business marks a transformative shift, positioning the retail giant as a comprehensive one-stop-shop that extends beyond conventional retail offerings. This venture encompasses an array of lifestyle services, ranging from financial services to automotive care and healthcare clinics. Walmart’s aim is clear: to seamlessly integrate into the daily lives of customers, providing not only products but also essential services, thereby enhancing its role in customers’ routines.

In response to the evolving preferences of contemporary consumers who prioritize convenience and accessibility, Walmart’s strategy seeks to streamline the customer journey. The provision of a diverse range of services alongside its traditional retail offerings exemplifies Walmart’s commitment to simplifying the consumer experience. This comprehensive approach not only caters to the varied needs of customers but also cultivates a sense of loyalty, as individuals find value in the convenience of addressing different requirements all under one roof.

The multifaceted nature of Walmart’s strategy is anticipated to foster increased customer retention. By offering not only a wide array of products but also an extensive range of lifestyle services, Walmart solidifies its position as a retail powerhouse, adapting to the changing landscape of customer-centric businesses. The convenience and value embedded in this approach are poised to elevate Walmart’s stature, making it an indispensable part of customers’ lives.

SWOT Analysis of Walmart’s Business strategy

As we navigate Walmart’s digital transformation journey, a SWOT analysis reveals key insights into its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, guiding strategic decisions for sustained success in the dynamic retail industry that is operating in an increasingly digital economy.

SWOT Analysis of Walmart

SWOT Analysis of Walmart:

  • Strong Brand Recognition: Walmart’s strength lies in its widely recognized and trusted brand, fostering consumer confidence and loyalty.
  • Diverse Revenue Stream: The company’s adaptability is evident through a diverse revenue stream, navigating various markets and industries to maintain financial resilience. Per Walmart’s Q3 FY23 Earnings , a breakdown of walmart’s income can be recognised through its Sam’s Club membership sales (Up by 7.2%), Walmart U.S Comp Sales (Up 4.9%), Walmart U.S. eCommerce (up by 24%), and Walmart International sales (up by 5.4%). 
  • Economies of Scale: Walmart leverages its extensive size for economies of scale shown by its strong revenue growth of 5.3% per 2022 and 2023 consolidated Income statement, enabling cost advantages in procurement, operations, and overall efficiency. 
  • Strong Customer Base: With a vast and loyal customer base, Walmart establishes a robust foundation in the retail sector, emphasizing customer retention and sustained business growth as per market share stat of 60% shown on the Market retail/wholesale industry dominated by Walmart.

walmart case study strategic management

Weaknesses:

  • Labor Relations: Walmart has faced criticism for labor practices, including low wages and labor disputes.
  • E-commerce Competition: Despite significant strides, Walmart faces intense competition from e-commerce giants (e.g, amazon, eBay), impacting its online market share.
  • Over Reliance on US Market: A substantial portion of Walmart’s revenue is generated in the United States, making it vulnerable to domestic economic fluctuations.
  • Inconsistent customer service: represents a weakness in Walmart’s SWOT analysis, as variations in service quality across different locations may impact the overall customer experience, potentially leading to customer dissatisfaction and diminished brand perception.

Opportunities:

  • E-commerce Expansion: Further growth in the online market allows Walmart to capitalize on changing consumer shopping habits.
  • International Expansion: Targeting untapped markets presents opportunities for global revenue diversification.
  • Health and Wellness Market: The growing trend towards health-conscious living provides avenues for expansion in the health and wellness sector. Increased understanding of customer journeys in these niches is key to begin to build stickiness effects.
  • Technological Innovations: Embracing cutting-edge technologies can enhance customer experience and operational efficiency through a growing Omnichannel marketplace. It is vital to master data science and begin to leverage AI in the battle to understand consumer behaviors and deliver a remarkable experience.
  • Competition: Intense competition from traditional retailers and e-commerce platforms poses a threat to Walmart’s market share such as Costco, Target and Amazon.
  • Regulatory Challenges: Changes in regulations, especially related to labor and trade, can impact Walmart’s operations and costs. One such example is the metrics shown per Walmart’s ethics & compliance code of conduct aligning to regulatory challenges in culture, work safety, risk mitigation and more. 
  • Economic Downturns: Economic uncertainties and recessions may lead to reduced consumer spending, affecting Walmart’s revenue.
  • Supply Chain Disruptions: External factors like natural disasters or geopolitical events can disrupt the global supply chain, impacting product availability and costs. Such threats are specifically addressed by Walmart’s Enterprise Resilience Planning Team .

More on Walmart’s Online Competitors

Walmart faces formidable competition in the online retail arena, with key rivals such as Amazon and Target vying for a share of the digital market. Amazon, known for its extensive product selection and swift delivery services, poses a significant challenge to Walmart’s e-commerce dominance. Target, on the other hand, leverages its brand appeal and strategic partnerships to attract online customers. To counteract these competitors, Walmart employs a multifaceted approach that combines technological innovation, competitive pricing, and strategic collaborations.

Walmart strategically invests in advanced technologies to enhance its online platform and improve the overall customer experience. The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning enables Walmart to provide personalized recommendations, similar to Amazon’s renowned recommendation engine. Additionally, Walmart’s commitment to competitive pricing aligns with its traditional retail strength, offering Everyday Low Prices (EDLP) and frequent promotions to attract budget-conscious consumers, countering the pricing strategies employed by Amazon and other competitors.

Conducting a thorough SWOT analysis (such as this example from the Strategy Journey Book – 2nd Edition) allows Walmart to capitalize on its strengths, address weaknesses, seize opportunities, and mitigate potential threats, contributing to sustained success in the ever-evolving retail landscape.

Global Expansion across the countries image

Walmart’s Digital Transformation Strategy in the new ERA of AI-led Customer Centricity 

Walmart’s online business strategy.

Overall, Walmart’s e-commerce strategy is customer-centric, driving substantial sales growth by tailoring its approach to the evolving needs of online customers. Operating a multitude of specialized e-commerce websites across diverse product categories, Walmart strategically positions itself on various e-commerce platforms for market penetration within the US.

Servicing Relevant Customer Journeys & Sustainable Transformation

Walmart’s evolving online strategy is characterized by a dual focus on extensive product offerings and technological sophistication, with concrete examples per its strategic partnership with Adobe in 2021 to integrate walmart’s marketplace, online and instore fulfillment and pickup technologies with Adobe commerce showcasing its commitment to a seamless customer experience. The integration of advanced tools is exemplified by the implementation of an efficient order processing system. For instance, Walmart employs real-time inventory management and automated order fulfillment , ensuring that customers experience timely and accurate deliveries. Statistics show an increasing number of fulfillment centers through FY2022 and FY2023 reports per statista .

Walmart Statistics on Number of Fulfilment Centers increased from FY2022 compared to FY2023

Emerging predictive capabilities supported by Data Science and AI

In addition, the technological depth extends to personalized experiences, illustrated by Walmart’s robust recommendation engine. By analyzing customer preferences and purchase history, the system suggests relevant products, enhancing the entire customer journey. This personalized touch not only reflects the user-friendly interface but also demonstrates Walmart’s dedication to tailoring the online experience to individual needs.

Focus on seamless CX and UX to improve customer stickiness

Furthermore, Walmart’s commitment to a seamless online interaction is evident in its streamlined navigation features. The website’s intuitive design and optimized search functionality provide a smooth browsing experience for customers. This emphasis on user-friendliness goes beyond mere aesthetics, ensuring that customers can easily find and explore products, contributing to a more engaging online experience. Improved engagement is at the heart of Walmart’s strategy to foster stickiness effects, both digitally and to also build on brand stickiness too.

Walmart Website Layout

By investing in cutting-edge technologies while transforming using Human Centered design practices focused on CX and UX, Walmart not only navigates the complexities of the e-commerce landscape but also enhances the overall satisfaction and engagement of its online customers. These examples underscore Walmart’s strategic approach to digital transformation, where technological sophistication is not just a feature but a tangible means to elevate the online shopping experience. 

Walmart International Business Network

Walmart International Business

Successful international business expansion requires operating model transformation, and Walmart’s strategy is characterized by a blend of strategic acquisitions, partnerships, and a keen understanding of local markets. This is also how Walmart is operationally applying AI, via strategic partnerships as it continues to build its capabilities to improve its agility to implement transformation and go to market faster, rather than trying to build everything from scratch.

A Sustainable Diversification strategy that adapts to local markets  

Walmart’s international business expansion is a testament to its strategic approach in entering diverse markets and adapting to local nuances. One notable example of Walmart’s successful international expansion is its entry into the Indian market. In 2018, Walmart acquired a majority stake in Flipkart, one of India’s leading e-commerce platforms. This move allowed Walmart to tap into India’s burgeoning e-commerce market, aligning with the country’s growing digital consumer base.

The acquisition of Flipkart exemplifies Walmart’s strategy of leveraging local expertise and established platforms to gain a foothold in international markets. Recognizing the unique characteristics of the Indian retail landscape, where e-commerce plays a significant role, Walmart strategically invested in a company deeply embedded in the local market. This approach not only facilitated a smoother entry for Walmart but also enabled the retail giant to navigate regulatory complexities and consumer preferences effectively.

Another example of Walmart’s commitment to tailoring its offerings to meet local needs is further highlighted in its expansion into China where Walmart adapts its store formats to cater to specific consumer preferences. 

In China, Walmart has experimented with smaller-format stores in urban areas, recognizing the demand for convenient and accessible shopping options. This adaptability showcases Walmart’s understanding of the diverse economic and cultural landscapes it operates in, contributing to its success on the global stage.

Teammate Working together online

Working with partners to diversify and build a sustainable business model 

Collaborations and strategic partnerships play a pivotal role in Walmart’s competitive strategy. In 2023, Walmart has outlined plans to invest heavily into AI automation fulfillment centers to improve its unit cost average by 20%, increasing efficiency in order fulfilments and operations. 

The acquisition of Jet.com in 2016 expanded Walmart’s digital footprint and brought innovative talent into the company. Furthermore, Walmart’s partnerships with various brands (such as Adobe, ShipBob) and retailers enable it to diversify its product offerings, providing a competitive edge against the more specialized approaches of some competitors. As part of Walmart’s strategy in marketing, Walmart has announced partnerships with social media giants such as TikTok, Snapchat, Firework and more further boosting its online digital footprint. 

The acquisition of Jet.com in 2016 not only expanded Walmart’s digital footprint but it brought innovative talent into the company. It is clear Walmart sees the need for talent as key to its continued efforts to apply human centered design as part of its digital transformation strategy.

By continuously adapting and evolving its strategies, Walmart is clearly implementing digital transformation sustainably, to support its future operating model as Walmart remains a formidable force in the online retail landscape, navigating the challenges presented by its competitors.

In conclusion, Walmart’s business strategy is that of an growing Omnichannel marketplace, a multifaceted approach that combines physical and digital retail, competitive pricing, supply chain excellence, and a commitment to customer satisfaction. Understanding these elements provides insights into the retail giant’s enduring success in a rapid changing and competitive digital economy as it continues to combat emerging new business disruptions.

Q1: How did Walmart become a retail giant?

Walmart’s ascent to retail dominance can be attributed to a combination of strategic pricing, operational efficiency, and a customer-centric approach. 

Q2: What sets Walmart’s supply chain apart?

Walmart’s supply chain is marked by innovation and technological integration, allowing the company to streamline operations and stay ahead in a competitive market.

Q3: How does Walmart balance physical and digital retail?

Walmart seamlessly integrates its brick-and-mortar stores with its online presence, offering customers a comprehensive shopping experience.

Q4: What is Walmart’s philosophy on pricing?

Walmart’s commitment to everyday low prices is a fundamental philosophy that underpins its strategy, ensuring affordability for consumers.

Q5: How has Walmart expanded globally?

Walmart’s global expansion involves adapting its strategy to diverse markets, understanding local dynamics, and leveraging its core strengths.

About the author

Julie Choo is lead author of THE STRATEGY JOURNEY book and the founder of STRATABILITY ACADEMY. She speaks regularly at numerous tech, careers and entrepreneur events globally. Julie continues to consult at large Fortune 500 companies, Global Banks and tech start-ups. As a lover of all things strategic, she is a keen Formula One fan who named her dog, Kimi (after Raikkonnen), and follows football - favourite club changes based on where she calls home.

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Home » Management Case Studies » Case Study: Business Strategy Analysis of Wal-Mart

Case Study: Business Strategy Analysis of Wal-Mart

Sam Walton, a leader with an innovative vision, started his own company and made it into the leader in discount retailing that it is today. Through his savvy, and sometimes unusual, business practices, he and his associates led the company forward for thirty years. Today, four years after his death, the company is still growing steadily. Wal-Mart executives continue to rely on many of the traditional goals and philosophies that Sam’s legacy left behind, while simultaneously keeping one step ahead of the ever-changing technology and methods of today’s fast-paced business environment . The organization has faced, and is still facing, a significant amount of controversy over several different issues; however, none of these have done much more than scrape the exterior of this gigantic operation. The future also looks bright for Wal-Mart, especially if it is able to strike a comfortable balance between increasing its profits and recognizing its social and ethical responsibilities .

Why is Wal-Mart so Successful ? Is it Good Strategy or Good Strategy Implementation ? In 1962, when Sam Walton opened the first Wal-Mart store in Rogers, Arkansas, no one could have ever predicted the enormous success this small-town merchant would have. Sam Walton’s talent for discount retailing not only made Wal-Mart the world’s largest retailer, but also the world’s number one retailer in sales. Indeed, Wal-Mart was named “Retailer of the Decade” by Discount Store News in 1989, and on several occasions has been included in Fortune’s list of the “10 most admired corporations.” Even with Walton’s death (after a two-year battle with bone cancer) in 1992, Wal-Mart’s sales continue to grow significantly.

walmart case study strategic management

Regarded by many as the entrepreneur of the century, Walton had a reputation for caring about his customers, his employees (or “associates” as he referred to them), and the community. In order to maintain its market position in the discount retail business, Wal-Mart executives continue to adhere to the management guidelines Sam developed. Walton was a man of simple tastes and took a keen interest in people. He believed in three guiding principles: 1. Customer value and service; 2. Partnership with its associates; 3. Community involvement.

  • The Customer — The word “always” can be seen in virtually all of Wal-Mart’s literature. One of Walton’s deepest beliefs was that the customer is always right, and his stores are still driven by this philosophy. When questioned about Wal-Mart’s secrets of success , Walton has been quoted as saying, “It has to do with our desire to exceed our customers’ expectations every hour of every day”.
  • The Associates — Walton’s greatest accomplishment was his ability to empower, enrich, and train his employees. He believed in listening to employees and challenging them to come up with ideas and suggestions to make the company better. At each of the Wal-Mart stores, signs are displayed which read, “Our People Make the Difference.” Associates regularly make suggestions for cutting costs through their “Yes We Can Sam” program. The sum of the savings generated by the associates actually paid for the construction of a new store in Texas. One of Wal-Mart’s goals was to provide its employees with the appropriate tools to do their jobs efficiently. The technology was not used as a means of replacing existing employees, but to provide them with a means to succeed in the retail market.
  • The Community — Wal-Mart’s popularity can be linked to its hometown identity. Walton believed that every customer should be greeted upon entering a store, and that each store should be a reflection of the values of its customers and its community. Wal-Mart is involved in many community outreach programs and has launched several national efforts through industrial development grants.

What are the Key Features of Wal-Mart’s Approach to Implementing the Strategy Put Together by Sam Walton — The key features of Wal-Mart’s approach to implementing the strategy put together by Sam Walton emphasizes building solid working relationships with both suppliers and employees, being aware and taking notice of the most intricate details in store layouts and merchandising techniques, capitalizing on every cost saving opportunity, and creating a high performance spirit. This strategic formula is used to provide customers access to quality goods, to make these goods available when and where customers want them, to develop a cost structure that enables competitive pricing , and to build and maintain a reputation for absolute trustworthiness.

Wal-Mart stores operate according to their “Everyday Low Price” philosophy. Wal-Mart has emerged as the industry leader because it has been better at containing its costs which has allowed it to pass on the savings to its customers. Wal-Mart has become a capabilities competitor. It continues to improve upon its key business processes, managing them centrally and investing in them heavily for the long term payback. Wal-Mart has been regarded as an industry leader in testing, adapting, and applying a wide range of cutting-edge merchandising approaches. Walton proved to be a visionary leader and was known for his ability to quickly learn from his competitors’ successes and failures. In fact, the founder of Kmart once claimed that Walton not only copied our concepts, he strengthened them. Sam just took the ball and ran with it.

Wal-Mart has invested heavily in its unique cross-docking inventory system . Cross docking has enabled Wal-Mart to achieve economies of scale which reduces its costs of sales. With this system, goods are continuously delivered to stores within 48 hours and often without having to inventory them. Lower prices also eliminate the expense of frequent sales promotions and sales are more predictable. Cross docking gives the individual managers more control at the store level.

A company owned transportation system also assists Wal-Mart in shipping goods from warehouse to store in less than 48 hours. This allows Wal-Mart to replenish the shelves 4 times faster than its competition. Wal-Mart owns the largest and most sophisticated computer system in the private sector. It uses a MPP (massively parallel processor) computer system to track stock and movement which keeps it abreast of fast changes in the market. Information related to sales and inventory is disseminated via its advanced satellite communications system.

Wal-Mart has leveraged its volume buying power with its suppliers. It negotiates the best prices from its vendors and expects commitments of quality merchandise. The purchasing agents of Wal-Mart are very focused people. Their highest priority is making sure everybody at all times in all cases knows who’s in charge, and it’s Wal-Mart. Even though Wal-Mart was tough in negotiating for absolute rock-bottom prices, the company worked closely with suppliers to develop mutual respect and to forge long-term partnerships that benefited both parties. Wal-Mart built an automated reordering system linking computers between Procter & Gamble (P&G) and its stores and distribution centers. The computer system sends a signal from a store to P&G identifying an item low in stock. It then sends a resupply order, via satellite, to the nearest P&G factory, which then ships the item to a Wal-Mart distribution center or directly to the store. This interaction between Wal-Mart and P&G is a win-win proposition because with better coordination, P&G can lower its costs and pass some of the savings on to Wal-Mart.

Sam Walton received national attention through his “Buy America” policy. Through this plan, Wal-Mart encourages its buyers and merchandise managers to stock stores with American-made products. In a 1993 annual report management stated the program demonstrates a long-standing Wal-Mart commitment to our customers that we will buy American-made products whenever we can if those products deliver the same quality and affordability as their foreign-made counterparts.

Environmental concerns are important to Wal-Mart. A prototype store was opened in Lawrence, Kansas, which was designed to be environmentally friendly. The store contains environmental education and recycling centers. Wal-Mart has also adopted the low cost theme for its facilities. All offices, including the corporate headquarters, are built economically and furnished simply. To conserve energy, temperature controls are connected via computer to headquarters. Through these programs, Wal-Mart shows its concern for the community.

Wal-Mart has been led from the top but run from the bottom, a strategy developed by Sam Walton and carried on by a small group of senior executives led by CEO David Glass. Although recent growth has led Wal-Mart to add more management layers, senior executives strive to maintain its unique culture. This culture, described as “one part Southern Baptist evangelism, one part University of Arkansas Razorback teamwork, and one part IBM hardware” has worked to Wal-Mart’s advantage.

Just how Successful is Wal-Mart? — A forecast of Wal-Mart’s income for the period 1995-2000, considering increases of 30.6% in Net Sales, 27.7% in Operating Expenses, and 52.3% in Interest Debt (a level which is below Wal-Mart’s historically compounded growth rate of 55.6%) indicates that the company should continue to report gains each year until 2000.

Growth on Sales — According to most analysts and company projections, sales should approximate $115 billion by 1996, representing an increase of 30.6% as compared to 1995. If the company continues at this pace, sales should reach $334 billion by the year 2000. The growth on sales that Wal-Mart reported during the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s will be difficult to repeat, especially considering the ever-changing marketplace in which it competes. In an interview, Bill Fields, President of the Stores Division, said “Wal-Mart is now seeing price pressure from companies that once assiduously avoided taking it on. These include specialty retailers such as Limited, category killers like Home Depot and Circuit City, and catalog companies like Spiegel. I think everybody prices off of Wal-Mart. You’ve got Limited reaching levels we’d thought they’d never get to. The result is that everyday low prices are getting lower”.

In addition, the baby-boomers are reaching their peak earnings years, when financial and personal priorities change. Thus, savings, not spending, will likely take precedence because most baby-boomers are approaching retirement.

Debt Position — Based on Wal-Mart’s position in 1994, which was considered a year of expansion for the company, (Wal-Mart added 103 new discount stores, 38 “Supercenters”, 163 warehouse clubs, and 94,000 new associates) interest debt increased 52.3%. The cost paid by Wal-Mart to finance property plants and equipment forced the company to increase long term debt by 4.6 times during the period 1991-1995. Long term debt for 1995 is $7.9 billion. If Wal-Mart continues its expansion plans based on more debt acquisition at 1994 levels, the company may not attain forecasted gains by as early as 1998.

Operating Expenses — Operating expenses will be a key strategic issue for Wal-Mart in order to maintain its position in the market. The challenge is how to run more stores with less operating expenses. According to Bill Fields, “. . . the goal is to increase sales per square foot and drive operating costs down yet another notch”. Trends indicate that operating expenses have been growing at a rate of 27.7% in recent years. However, Wal-Mart should reap the benefits of its investments in high technology, and be able to operate more stores without increasing its expenses.

Cost of Sales — Cost of sales historically has been equal to the level of sales. If the company continues to take advantage of its buying power, Wal-Mart can expect to lower its cost of sales.

Wal-Mart’s future will depend on how well the company manages its expansion plans. For the coming years, the company will need to justify its expansion plans with consistent growth in sales, in order to offset the increases in debt interest and operating expenses.

What Problems are Ahead for Wal-Mart? What Risks? — Throughout the 1980s, Wal-Mart’s strategic intent was to unseat industry leaders Sears and Kmart, and become the largest retailer in the U.S. Wal-Mart accomplished this goal in 1991. But Wal-Mart’s current strong competitive position and its past rapid growth performance can’t guarantee that the company will remain as the industry leader or maintain its strong business position in the future. Carol Farmer, a retail consultant, told the Wall Street Journal that, “One little bad thing can wipe out lots of good things”. Every move in its business operation ought to be well thought-out and executed.

Wal-Mart needs to address two major areas in order to maintain or to capture an even stronger long term business position: 1) Single-business strategy — Wal-Mart’s success is mainly based on its concentration of a single-business strategy. This strategy has achieved enviable success over the last three decades without relying upon diversification to sustain its growth and competitive advantages . Given its current position in the industry, Wal-Mart may want to continue its single-business strategy and to push hard to maintain and increase market share. However, there is risk in this strategy, because concentration on a single-business strategy is similar to “putting all of a firm’s eggs in one industry basket”. In other words, if the retail industry stagnates due to an economic downturn, Wal-Mart might have difficulty achieving past profit performance.

Also, if Wal-Mart continues to follow Sam Walton’s vision of expansion, Wal-Mart will reach its peak in the very near future. When it does, its growth will start to slow down and the company will need to turn its strategic attention to diversification for future growth .

2) Social responsibility — Retail stores can compete on several bases: service, price, exclusivity, quality, and fashion. Wal-Mart has been extremely successful in competing in the retail industry by combining service, price, and quality. However, other merchants may object to Wal-Mart’s entry into their community. Because of its ability to out-price smaller competitors, Wal-Mart’s stores threaten smaller neighborhood stores which can only survive if they offer merchandise or services unavailable anywhere else. This makes it very hard for small businesses, such as “mom-and-pop” enterprises, to survive. They, therefore, fight to keep Wal-Mart from entering their locales. Numerous studies conducted in different states both support and criticize Wal-Mart. Nevertheless, Wal-Mart did drive local merchants out of business when it opened up stores in the same neighborhood. As a result, more and more rural communities are waging war against Wal-Mart’s entrance into their market. Besides protesting and signing petitions to attempt to stop Wal-Mart’s entry into their community, the opposition’s efforts can even be found on The Internet. Gig Harbor, a small town in Washington, recently started a World Wide Web page entitled “Us Against the Wal.” The town’s neighborhood association promised that they “will fight them [Wal-Mart] tooth and nail”.

The increasing opposition indicates that the road ahead for Wal-Mart may not be as smooth as Wal-Mart’s annual report would entail. This requires Wal-Mart to rethink its expansion strategy since it would not be profitable to operate in an unfriendly community.

How Big Will Wal-Mart be in Five Years if all Continues to go Well? — Before he died, Sam Walton expressed his belief that by the year 2000 Wal-Mart should be able to double the number of stores to about 3,000 and to reach sales of $125 billion annually. Walton predicted that the four biggest sources of growth potential would be the following: 1. expanding into states where it had no stores; 2. continuing to saturate its current markets with new stores; 3. perfecting the Supercenter format to expand Wal-Mart’s retailing reach into the grocery and supermarket arena — a market with annual sales of about $375 billion; 4. moving into international markets.

Wal-Mart Supercenters represent leveraging on customer loyalty and procurement muscle in order to create a new domestic growth vehicle for the company. With few locations left in the U.S. to put a new Sam’s Club or traditional Wal-Mart, the Supercenter division has emerged as the domestic vehicle for taking Wal-Mart to $100 billion in sales. Before the Supercenter, Walton experimented with a massive “Hypermart”, encompassing more than 230,000 square feet in size. The idea failed. Customers complained that the produce was not fresh or well-presented and that it was difficult to find things in a store so big that inventory clerks had to wear roller skates. One of Walton’s philosophies was that traveling on the road to success required failing at times.

As a result of the unsuccessful experiment, Walton launched a revised concept: the Supercenter, a combination discount and grocery store that was smaller than the Hypermart. The Supercenter was intended to give Wal-Mart improved drawing power in its existing markets by providing a one-stop shopping destination. Supercenters would have the full array of general merchandise found in traditional Wal-Mart stores, as well as a full-scale supermarket, delicatessen, fresh bakery, and other specialty shops like hair salons, portrait studios, dry cleaners, and optical wear departments. Supercenters would measure 125,000 to 150,000 square feet, and target locations where sales per store of $30 to $50 million annually were feasible.

Walton’s prediction was right on target. The Supercenter division more than doubled in size during 1993, then doubled again in 1994. Supercenters, once thought of as risky because of slim profit margins on the food side, will most likely make Wal-Mart the nation’s largest grocery retailer within the next five to seven years.

Expanding overseas, Wal-Mart moved into the international market in 1991 through a joint-venture partnership with CIFRA S.A. de C.V., Mexico’s leading retailer. Since then the company has entered Canada, Hong Kong, mainland China, Puerto Rico, Argentina, and Brazil. The Wal-Mart International Division was officially formed in 1994 to manage the company’s international growth. By the year 2000, analysts expect Wal-Mart to be a huge international retailer, with numerous locations in South America, Europe, and Asia.

Conclusion — The ever-changing market presents continuing challenges to retailers. First and foremost, retailers must recognize the strong implications of a “buyers’ market”. Customers are being offered a wide choice of shopping experiences, but no one operation can capture them all. Therefore, it is incumbent upon management to define their target market and direct their energies toward solving that specific market’s problems. Technology, demographics, consumer attitudes, and the advent of a global economy are all conspiring to rewrite the rules for success. Success in the next decade will depend upon the level of understanding retailers have about the new values, expectations, and needs of the customer. If Wal-Mart continues its customer-driven culture, it should remain a retail industry leader well into the next century.

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Walmart Change Management Case Study

Change management is an essential aspect of any business that seeks to remain competitive in a dynamic market environment.

Walmart, one of the world’s largest retail giants, has had to navigate through significant changes in the retail industry, including the growth of e-commerce and shifting consumer behaviors. 

To maintain its position as a leader in the retail industry, Walmart has had to employ effective change management strategies to adapt to these changes successfully. 

This blog post presents a case study of Walmart’s change management efforts, exploring the strategies employed, the results achieved, and the lessons learned. 

By understanding Walmart’s approach to change management, businesses can learn valuable lessons and insights to help them navigate through their own organizational changes successfully.

Introduction to Walmart and its significance in the retail industry

Walmart is a multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of discount department stores, grocery stores, and hypermarkets. 

Founded in 1962 by Sam Walton, Walmart has grown to become one of the world’s largest retail companies, with over 10,000 stores in 27 countries and employing over two million people globally. 

Walmart’s success can be attributed to its focus on providing low-cost products, a wide range of merchandise, and a convenient shopping experience to its customers. 

Walmart’s innovative business strategies, such as its use of technology and supply chain management, have significantly impacted the retail industry, driving competitors to adopt similar approaches to remain competitive. 

Walmart’s success has made it a significant player in the retail industry, with its strategies being studied and emulated by businesses around the world

History of Walmart’s growth and success

Walmart’s growth and success can be traced back to its founder, Sam Walton, who had a vision of creating a retail store that offered low prices to customers. 

Walton opened his first store in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962, which quickly became popular due to its low prices and convenient location. 

In the following years, Walmart expanded rapidly, opening more stores across the United States and becoming a publicly traded company in 1972.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Walmart continued to grow, opening new stores and expanding into new markets. 

Walmart’s success was due, in part, to its innovative business strategies, such as its use of technology to manage inventory and supply chain operations, as well as its focus on providing low-cost products to customers. 

Walmart’s efficient operations and ability to negotiate lower prices with suppliers allowed the company to offer products at a lower cost than its competitors.

By the 2000s, Walmart had become a global retail giant, with stores in multiple countries and a significant impact on the retail industry. 

Despite facing criticism over its labor practices and impact on small businesses, Walmart’s focus on low prices and convenience to customers continued to make it a popular choice for shoppers. 

Today, Walmart remains one of the largest and most successful retailers in the world, with a significant presence in the retail industry.

Overview of Walmart’s organizational structure and culture

Walmart has a hierarchical organizational structure, with a clear chain of command and multiple levels of management. 

At the top of the hierarchy is the CEO, followed by executive vice presidents, senior vice presidents, and vice presidents. 

Each level of management is responsible for overseeing specific areas of the company’s operations, with clear lines of authority and responsibility.

Walmart’s culture is focused on providing low-cost products to customers and delivering a convenient shopping experience.

The company values efficiency, innovation, and collaboration, and encourages employees to take ownership of their work and contribute to the company’s success. 

Walmart’s culture is also characterized by its emphasis on customer service, with employees trained to prioritize the needs of customers and ensure they have a positive shopping experience.

Walmart’s culture has been shaped by its founder, Sam Walton, who believed in empowering employees and giving them the resources they needed to succeed. 

This approach has been reflected in the company’s employee policies, such as its emphasis on training and development programs, as well as its commitment to offering competitive wages and benefits to its workers. 

Need for Change Management at Walmart 

The retail industry has undergone significant changes in recent years, with the growth of e-commerce, shifting consumer behaviors, and increased competition. 

To remain competitive in this dynamic environment, businesses need to be agile and adaptable, constantly evolving their strategies to meet changing customer needs and market conditions. 

For Walmart, this has meant the need for effective change management strategies to remain competitive.

One of the main challenges facing Walmart has been the growth of e-commerce, with online retailers such as Amazon disrupting the traditional brick-and-mortar retail model. 

To compete in this new environment, Walmart has had to invest heavily in its e-commerce capabilities, including expanding its online product offerings and improving its supply chain operations. 

Walmart’s change management strategies have included acquiring online retailers, such as Jet.com and Bonobos, and investing in its own e-commerce platform to better compete with Amazon and other online retailers.

Another challenge facing Walmart has been shifting consumer behaviors, with customers demanding more convenience and personalized experiences. 

Walmart has responded by investing in its mobile app, offering online grocery pickup and delivery services, and improving its in-store experience through the use of technology such as self-checkout machines and interactive displays. 

These changes have required effective change management strategies, including employee training programs and leadership support, to ensure successful implementation and adoption.

How did Walmart manage changes?

Walmart’s response to the need for change has been largely successful, with the company implementing a range of strategies to remain competitive in a rapidly changing retail environment. 

Here are three examples of Walmart’s successful responses to the need for change:

1. Expansion of E-commerce capabilities

Walmart recognized the need to improve its online presence to compete with e-commerce giants like Amazon. To achieve this, Walmart acquired online retailer Jet.com and other e-commerce companies, and invested in its own online platform. These moves have helped Walmart significantly improve its online offerings, including its product selection and delivery options.

Walmart has leveraged its physical stores to offer convenient options like online grocery pickup and delivery, which has helped attract customers looking for a blend of online and offline shopping experiences.

Walmart’s investments in e-commerce have paid off, with its online sales increasing by 79% in Q2 2020, driven in part by the COVID-19 pandemic and increased demand for online shopping.

2. Focus on Sustainability

Walmart has recognized the importance of sustainability and environmental responsibility in its operations. The company has implemented a range of initiatives to reduce waste, lower carbon emissions, and promote sustainable practices across its operations. These initiatives include reducing plastic waste, investing in renewable energy, and sourcing more sustainable products.

Walmart’s sustainability efforts have not only helped the environment but have also resonated with customers who are increasingly conscious of the impact of their purchases. Walmart’s focus on sustainability has also helped the company reduce costs and improve efficiency, which has contributed to its bottom line.

3. Embracing Digital Transformation

Walmart has been at the forefront of using technology to improve its operations and customer experience. The company has invested in technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, and data analytics to improve its supply chain operations and enhance its in-store experience.

For example, Walmart has implemented autonomous robots in its stores to help with tasks like restocking shelves and cleaning floors, which has helped free up employees to focus on customer service. Additionally, Walmart has leveraged data analytics to better understand customer behavior and personalize its offerings, such as offering tailored product recommendations to shoppers.

Two Factors that explained the successful implementation of Walmart change management 

Walmart’s successful implementation of changes has been driven by a combination of strong leadership, employee engagement, and embracing new technology. 

By leveraging these factors, Walmart has been able to adapt to changing market conditions and remain competitive in a rapidly evolving retail industry. 

But the two most crucial factors behind the successful change management at Walmart are as follows:

Data-Driven Decision Making

Walmart has leveraged data analytics to make more informed and strategic decisions. By collecting and analyzing data on customer behavior, supply chain operations, and other key metrics, Walmart has been able to identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions about where to invest resources. This has helped Walmart prioritize its efforts and ensure that it is focusing on the initiatives that will have the greatest impact on its business

Focus on Customer Experience

Walmart has made a concerted effort to prioritize the customer experience in its change management efforts. For example, the company has invested in technologies like data analytics and artificial intelligence to better understand customer behavior and preferences, and has used this information to tailor its offerings to individual customers.

05 Lessons Learned from Walmart successful implementation of change management 

Here are five lessons that can be learned from Walmart’s successful change management efforts

  • Emphasize strong leadership: Strong leadership is critical to the success of any change management effort. Walmart’s leadership was instrumental in driving the company’s change management efforts and ensuring that everyone was aligned with the company’s strategic goals.
  • Engage employees: Engaging employees in the change management process is essential to building a resilient and adaptable workforce. Walmart invested heavily in employee training and encouraged workers to take ownership of their work, which helped foster a culture of innovation and adaptability.
  • Leverage data analytics: Data analytics can provide valuable insights into customer behavior and other key metrics, which can help identify areas for improvement and guide strategic decision-making.
  • Be flexible and agile: Flexibility and agility are critical to adapting to changing market conditions. Walmart was able to stay ahead of the curve by quickly adapting its operations to meet changing customer needs and preferences.
  • Prioritize the customer experience: Prioritizing the customer experience is essential to building loyalty and driving sales. Walmart made a concerted effort to tailor its offerings to individual customers and invested in initiatives like online grocery pickup and delivery to make shopping more convenient and efficient

Final Words 

Walmart’s successful change management efforts provide valuable insights into how organizations can adapt to changing market conditions and remain competitive. By prioritizing strong leadership, employee engagement, data analytics, flexibility and agility, and the customer experience, Walmart was able to successfully implement changes that helped the company stay ahead of the curve.

As the retail industry continues to evolve, Walmart’s example serves as a reminder of the importance of remaining adaptable and open to change. By embracing new technologies, investing in employee training, and prioritizing the customer experience, organizations can position themselves for success in an ever-changing marketplace.

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Walmart's Omnichannel Strategy: Revolution or Miscalculation?

By: Ramon Casadesus-Masanell, Karen Elterman

This case describes Walmart's omnichannel strategy in 2018 as it battled Amazon for online retail market share. The case discusses Walmart's early forays into online retail, as well as its 2018…

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  • Discipline: Strategy
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This case describes Walmart's omnichannel strategy in 2018 as it battled Amazon for online retail market share. The case discusses Walmart's early forays into online retail, as well as its 2018 strategy, which aimed to integrate Walmart's enormous brick and mortar footprint with its growing ecommerce business, e.g., through merchandise and grocery delivery and order online, pickup in store options. Walmart's strategy also included the acquistion of Jet.com (in 2016) as well as the acquistion of a number of other specialty eretailers (e.g., Shoes.com , Moosejaw, Bare Necessities) and digitally-native vertical brands that developed their own products and sold them directly to consumers, such as ModCloth, Bonobos, and Eloquii. In addition to building its online marketplace, Walmart hoped to leverage its existing assets, such as its massive network of retail stores and thriving grocery business, in the fight against Amazon. The case poses the question: Could Walmart successfully compete against Amazon and other online retailers in areas such as grocery delivery, product selection, shipping costs, and delivery times?

Learning Objectives

To provide students with an understanding of the decisions Walmart made in developing its omnichannel business, including decisions related to its marketplace, online acquisitions, technological development, and distribution strategies.

Aug 28, 2019

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Harvard Business School

720370-PDF-ENG

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walmart case study strategic management

Walmart's Workforce of the Future

Any discussion of the future of retail—or how we work—has to include Walmart. As of 2017, 90 percent of the US population lived within 10 miles of a Walmart store; with 11,766 locations worldwide and $514 billion in annual revenues, the discount store also has the distinction of being the largest private employer in the United States, with 1.5 million workers (2.2 million worldwide).

But that size and dominance doesn’t make Walmart immune to pressures faced by any other retail operation. In the second-year Harvard Business School course Managing the Future of Work , Professor William Kerr explores how technology and demographics are changing the way companies like Walmart, and their workers, operate.

“The pace of change in the retail sector is truly extraordinary,” says Kerr, the D’Arbeloff Professor of Business Administration and co-director of Harvard’s Managing the Future of Work initiative . “That requires a lot of reskilling of employees and hard choices, in an uncertain environment, in terms of how to deploy capital.”

“This digital transformation creates new jobs, but, more important, it changes the nature of jobs, even entry-level ones.”

Kerr captures that dilemma by detailing the scope of Walmart’s operations and current strategies in the case “Walmart’s Workforce of the Future.” Published in April, it offers an overview of the considerable investments the retail giant is making in its e-commerce infrastructure, in its employee training and support, and in technological innovations such as robot workers and in-house incubators.

Walmart fights a revenue drop

The case details how the rise of ecommerce (and the success of Amazon in particular) affected Walmart’s discount stores (which sell general merchandise but limited grocery items), resulting in a decrease in annual revenue at those stores from $142.5 billion in 2009 to 97.7 billion in 2018. During the same time period, revenue at Walmart’s “supercenters” (larger stores that also sell groceries and often include services such as eye care, beauty salons, and photo studios) increased by 16 percent, from $409.9 billion to $476.2 billion. (Walmart closed 2,214 discount stores or converted them into other formats from 1993 to 2018, with 2,576 supercenters opening during that time.)

In addition to increasing Walmart’s supercenter footprint, CEO Doug McMillon’s omnichannel strategy focuses on a seamless approach to the customer experience, with an emphasis on employee training and improved ecommerce and automation technology, both on the floor and in back office roles.

One foundational move to beef up its technology was Walmart’s $3.3 billion acquisition of online retailer Jet.com in 2016, an investment that immediately improved its ecommerce infrastructure. Walmart has also piloted and invested in robots to perform a variety of functions, from unloading trucks to scrubbing floors to scanning shelves and bringing items out of storage for curbside delivery orders. But public statements by senior executives made it clear that Walmart was equally committed to the complex, costly effort required to train its human workers.

“I want to be clear that we don’t believe technology is the answer to everything,” McMillon stated in a 2017 annual shareholder meeting. “The secret to success will always be our people. … It will be our humanity that drives our creativity, powers our competitive spirit, and keeps us out in front.”

Technology changes the nature of work

But at the same meeting, McMillon also acknowledged how technology changes the nature of work itself, a perspective echoed by Walmart Chief Sustainability Officer and Walmart Foundation President Kathleen McLaughlin. “…we’re now a tech company as much as a retail company,” Mc Laughlin said. “This digital transformation creates new jobs, but, more important, it changes the nature of jobs, even entry-level ones.”

Those demands require more of workers—and an equivalent commitment to re-skilling and compensation. In the case, Kerr cites Walmart’s investments in wages and training for employees of $1.2 billion and $1.5 billion in 2015 and 2016—part of a move that boosted starting pay for frontline associates from $9 per hour in 2015 to $10 in 2016 (it hit $11 per hour in early 2018). Yet in 2015, announcement of a wage increase resulted in a share price drop the following day of 10 percent, on news that the increase would cut earnings per share by 6 to 12 percent in 2016. It’s a dynamic that lays bare for MBA students the consequences of senior leadership’s choices, says Kerr.

“It’s easy to be critical and say that Walmart should be doing more, but when students review the company’s actions over the past five years, they have to confront the fact that every time the minimum wage went up, the stock price went down—and meanwhile, competitors have better margins.”

The case also outlines Walmart’s approach to training its workers, including its focus on building long-term, transferable skills through efforts such as Pathways, a program that teaches associates about the retail business model, explains the “why” behind the work they’re asked to do, and helps develop the soft skills that are useful in any field. Workers who completed the program received a raise and had increased job opportunities; however, many complained that it lacked clarity and that it took too long to move through the various modules. While Walmart planned for 500,000 employees to go through Pathways in 2016, the initial rollout was considerably lower; as a result, Walmart needed to revamp some parts of the program to speed up its completion rate. (Its Academies program, focused on training and empowering hourly supervisors to directly manage team members, faced similar challenges.)

In another move to build a more skilled, educated workforce, Walmart introduced a program in 2018 that offered workers the opportunity to enroll in online degree programs for $1 a day in business, technology, and supply chain management at three different universities; in June 2019, the program expanded to six universities and 14 areas of study, including cybersecurity and computer science. Widely hailed in the press for the opportunity it offers workers to graduate from college debt-free, the program has seen 7,500 employee enrollments in its first year.

“There’s so much to unpack in the choices that Walmart is making,” Kerr says, remarking that management has also introduced virtual reality goggles to train employees as well as an app, Spark City, that uses a game-type simulation to teach workers about store processes and customer service. Walmart has even crossed over with the gig economy by partnering with platforms including DoorDash, Postmates, Uber, and Lyft for package and grocery delivery.

‘You’re the CEO of Walmart’

So, is Walmart making the right investments for its future? “We spend a lot of time in conversation in this class,” says Kerr. “I’ll say, ‘You’re the CEO of Walmart. What would you have done differently? In 2030, what will your workforce look like? How much of your sales will be in-store, and how much online?

“An early indication of the uncertainty of the future is that, with a bunch of smart MBAs, we had a wide, wide range of opinions as to what the future looks like. From some putting all their chips on ecommerce to others who see Walmart as having a powerful position, particularly in more rural areas, where it can be the one place you go to get your prescriptions, do your shopping, and pick up your ecommerce packages—so building on that, rather than trying to become Amazon.”

Analysts generally give Walmart strong marks for how its investments in technology and training have set it up to compete.

“The progress that they’ve made and the strength they still possess has been working out for them to a good degree,” says Kerr. But it’s too soon to tell whether they have established themselves in a way that will allow them to truly excel. “That’s where the jury is still out. They are still defining the Walmart of the future.”

About the Author

Julia Hanna is an associate editor of the HBS Alumni Bulletin [Image: artran]

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Case study of strategic human resource management in Walmart stores

Profile image of Gayathry Balaraman

Introduction Part 1: the analysis of corporate strategy and HR strategy at Wal-Mart. Part 2: The analysis of HR policies at Walmart and its integration with Corporate Strategy. Part 3: the role of the HR manager in this company? Part 4: some advices to improve the employment practices at Walmart. Conclusion Introduction: Michael E. Porter (1980) in his famous book said there are three basic competitive strategies for a company, which are overall cost leadership; differentiation and focus strategy. Companies use these competitive strategies to achieve competitive advantage. In this case, Walmart Company is obviously taking the cost leadership strategy, that is to say, it aims to become the low-cost leader in the retail industry. Walmart maintains its competitive advantage through its satellite-based distribution system, and by keeping store location costs to a minimum by placing stores on low-cost land outside small to medium-sized towns, no matter in the US or in its abroad affiliations. Part 1: the analysis of corporate strategy and HR strategy at Wal-Mart. From this case material we could also see that Walmart purchased massive quantities of items from its suppliers to form scale economy, and with the efficient stock control system helping make its operating costs lower than those of its competitors. It also imported many goods from China, " the world factory " for its low cost. So in a word the company-level strategy of Walmart is low cost and low cost, with little differentiation strategy. Managers engage in three levels of strategic planning (Gary Dessler, 2005): the corporate-level strategy; the business-level strategy and the function-level strategy. The functional strategy should serve the overall company strategy so the corporate strategy could be implemented more effectively and efficiently. As for Walmart, its corporate-level strategy and business-level strategy, as we analyzed above, is the low cost leadership. Then we'll focus on its functional strategy, especially its HR strategy. Besides the above factors, Walmart builds its low cost leader on employment policies that help it to achieve extraordinarily low employment costs. Through low-cost HR activities, Walmart tried to maintain its predominate competitive advantage. Part 2: The analysis of HR policies at Walmart and its integration with Corporate Strategy. The basic premise that underlying SHRM is that organizations adopting a particular strategy require HR practices that are different from those required by organizations adopting alternative strategies (Jackson&Schuler, 1995). Generally, there are three SHRM theoretical models in the study of this discipline: the universalistic best practices, the contingency perspective of " best fit " and the resource-based configuration perspective. Here I would not deliberate on all these three models to examine the HR practices at Walmart, but just choose the contingency perspective of " best fit ". With this view, the individual HR practices will be selected based on the contingency of

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Strategic Human Resource Management (Strategic HRM), now in the globalised world is evolving as the fulcrum of modus operandi, in long term planning, adopted to achieve profitability for any kind of Organisation, be it production, service or even the charity organisation. SHRM operates primarily with two forms of resources. The first resource is an organization's human capital—the knowledge, skills, and abilities of its employees. The second resource is an organization's systems specifically HR policies and practices that serve to support the development of human capital. Core research in strategy is concerned with identifying both the external and internal factors that enable firms to shape a competitive advantage and achieve superior performance (Harrison & Enz, 2005). With the support of technological advancements SHRM is now a much sought after planning tool for any operating organisation in any corner of the world be it big or small.

walmart case study strategic management

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The strategic importance of human resources (HR) and their contribution to the organizational performance are receiving increasing recognition worldwide. In this study, we examined strategic human resource management (SHRM) and HR practices in Turkey to assess the impact ...

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Human Resource Management Review

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 This paper aims to discuss differences between human resource management (HRM) and strategic human resource management (SHRM), and aims to discuss convergence or divergence between American and European HRM. Therefore, research question is what the similarities and differences are between European and American HRM. Research methodology is based on critical review of HRM literature. Therefore, this study aims to increase conceptual ability of human resource (HR) professionals. Major result is that HRM is related with employee performance, and SHRM is related with firm performance. Secondly, European HRM is becoming similar to American HRM. The difference between European and American HRM is social context and social partners. European HRM considers social partners in management of HR.

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A Detailed Case Study on Largest Retail Giant Walmart

Avinash kumar mahato

Avinash kumar mahato

Walmart is one of the largest retail companies in the world. It was founded in 1962 by Sam Walton. The headquarter of this company is situated in the United States. The main aim of the company is to provide consistent discounts, loyal customer service, and fast friendly service.

Walmart’s targets to expand its business in large cities as well as spread retail stores throughout the world. The retail stores of Walmart are divided into four divisions Walmart Supercenters , Discount Stores, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Clubs warehouses. More than 100 million customers are visiting these Walmart Stores.

It is very uncomfortable for small merchants and communities in America. Walmart reaches their town and provides low-cost offers and the best customer service. It is a very bad condition for small merchants and businessmen in America. To downtown merchants, Walmart just comes and takes over all the small stores.

The purchasing power, aggressive marketing and provide low prices to the customer by Walmart, tend to pull out the business by the small merchants. Gradually the dream of Walmart company to become the largest retailer in the world is full filing day-by-day. But, they increase their business by the wrong actions and do not respect the culture or language of the communities.

Timeline Events Of Walmart company Business Model Of Walmart How Walmart Generates Revenue? Walmart’s Marketing Strategy Walmart’s - Flipkart Acquisition

Timeline Events Of Walmart company

The Timeline of events for Walmart company since its inception.

  • 1960: Sam Walton opened his first discount store in Rogers, Arkansas.
  • 1981: Walmart become the largest company in America .
  • 1981: After becoming the largest company in America, they opened their stores in a small Louisiana town.
  • 1983: Walmart opened its stores in Pawhuska and Oklahoma.
  • 1986: Walmart claims that it can restore more than 4000 jobs to American Communities.
  • 1989: They drive a campaign about Environmental awareness that Walmart is aware of land, water, and air.
  • 1990: There are some activist groups against the expansion of Walmart’s store.
  • 31st December 1990: Walmart’s closed its stores in  Louisiana.
  • 5th November 1991: Walmart opened up its store in Lowa City.
  • 6th October 1998: Walmart’s founder Sam Walton created a family charity named Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation.
  • June 1999: Walmart takes over the ASDA Chain (a British supermarket chain), now they have stores and depots across the United States.
  • 2001: Walmart becomes the world’s largest retailer, got huge sales of $191 billion.
  • July 2003: Walmart opened its stores in Beijing and till now they have 22 stores in China and counting.
  • 2006: Walmart closed its stores in Germany.
  • July 2007: Walmart is operating more than 2500 retail units in Walmart International and more than 500,000 employers in some countries.
  • 2007: By the ending of this year, they got a net $45 billion sales.
  • 2008: Walmart’s opened its wholesale facility in India. This is the first step of Walmart's to sell products through its retail outlets in India.
  • 2018: Walmart acquired Flipkart for $16 billion and owned 77% stake in India’s largest online retailer brand.

Business Model Of Walmart

walmart case study strategic management

There are different business models that are followed by successful companies which vary from time to time. The business model of Walmart is based to eliminate the middleman from the distribution channels. The advantage of removing the middleman is to provide benefit to the consumer by providing products at lower costs. The main motive of Walmart's business strategy company is to enter every segment of the market and dominate the market by providing products at a lower price.

The main marketing strategy of the company is based on leading on price, be competitive, and deliver a great experience by the motto of Everyday Lower price.

Walmart has three important segments.

Walmart U.S

Walmart U.S is operated in the U.S. They provide customers with products and services that are not present physically in stores. They provide their services via the website and mobile application . The website of Walmart company has a special feature that provides a third party to sell products. The company operates its business on various platforms like supermarkets, discount stores, neighborhood markets, and e-commerce websites .

Walmart International

Walmart International is also divided into three sections which are retailers, wholesalers, and other small projects. These sections are also divided into various sections such as supermarkets, warehouses, electronics, apparel stores , drug stores, digital retailers, and many more.

It is the online platform of Walmart’s company i.e., “ samsclub.com ”. This club is consists of memberships of the only warehouse retailer operations. This section includes warehouse clubs in the U.S, as well as samsclub.com.

walmart case study strategic management

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How Walmart Generates Revenue?

The Revenue Model of Walmart deals with the principle of buying in bulk in one go. In this system, they got a huge discount from the manufacturers. They sell in small quantities at low prices. By reducing the price they have high sales volume through which they have high earning.

Walmart’s generate its revenue by removing the middleman and selling their product directly to the customers and services to business. The two main sources of revenue are Product revenue and Service revenue .

Walmart's revenue in the fiscal year ending January, 2020 was $524 Billion.

Product Revenue

Walmart has a wide range of products in various categories:-

  • In the grocery category, they have products like Daily needs products, dairy products, frozen foods, bakery, baby products, beauty aids, and many more.
  • Health and wellness category have products like Pharmacy products and clinical services .
  • The entertainment category has products like electronics products, toys, cameras, movies, music, videos, and books.
  • Stationary, paints, and hardware, Automotive, sporting goods, crafts, and seasonal merchandise.
  • Apparel categories include apparel for men, women, boys, girls, shoes, jewelry, and accessories.
  • Home appliances include home furnishing services, home decor, livings, and horticulture.

Service Revenue

Walmart also provide services to generate revenue in various fields:-

  • They provide financial services like prepaid cards , money orders, wire transfer, money transfers, bill payments, and so on.
  • VUDU movie streaming services: This is a subscription-based OTT platform for buying and renting movies, watching TV shows on demand.
  • Clinical Services include primary health care, Physical and Wellness checks, Clinical lab tests.
  • Health Insurance services

walmart case study strategic management

Walmart’s Marketing Strategy

Walmart's Business Strategy Analysis is one of the most important parts of any business whether it is small or large. It is very important to make an effective marketing plan to survive in the market . Walmart uses the principle of business marketing penetration method which is used to capture the market by offering lower prices and competitive prices to the consumers.

The company follows cost leadership which makes a huge profit for the company. The company provide low prices to the consumer and treated all the customers as king of the market to maintain the relationship between Walmart and the customer.

According to Walmart, there are four factors that drive the customer’s choice of retailer:

  • Assortment.

One more reason for the success of Walmart is purchasing products from local manufacturers in a bulk in one go and selling in small quantities. Buying from local manufacturers is the benefit for both. Buying more products from local manufacturers means they are creating more jobs and they reduce the unemployment rate. They should provide good quality products at a lower price to maintain a good relationship with customers and continue to get profits in business.

walmart case study strategic management

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walmart case study strategic management

Walmart’s - Flipkart Acquisition

Walmart Acquired Flipkart

Flipkart is one of the leading Indian e-commerce brands. In 2018, Walmart takes 77% stakes in India’s largest e-commerce company Flipkart and makes the world’s biggest purchase of an e-commerce company.

After this acquisition the future of eCommerce industry in India has become more competitive than ever.

The three main reasons for the acquisition of Flipkart are Flipkart’s leadership in some lucrative sections, its payment platform and the company’s talent pool.

Walmart’s world’s largest company is to continue to expand its business by improving its strategies day-by-day. The main reason for the success of Walmart is the EDLP system i.e., Everyday Low Price. They are working aggressively to maintain profits, market shares, and provide low prices to consumers. There are many business ideas to gain profit from a market. All depends on how you play the cards for a profitable business.

Walmart has made acquisitions of 28 organizations and has 16 sub-organization.

Feel free to reach us and share your understanding and views on the case study of Walmart. We would love to hear from you.

What is the business model of Walmart?

The business model of Walmart is based on eliminating the middleman from the distribution channels. The advantage of removing the middleman is to provide benefit to the consumer by providing products at lower costs.

What is the motive behind Walmart's Business Strategy?

The main motive of the Walmart business strategy company is to enter every segment of the market and dominate the market by providing products at a lower price.

What is Walmart's Market Strategy?

How does walmart generate revenue.

The earning model of Walmart deals with the principle of buying in bulk in one go. In this system, they got a huge discount from the manufacturers. Walmart’s generate its revenue by removing the middleman and selling their product directly to the customers and services to business.

What are the main sources of revenue for Walmart?

The two main sources of revenue are:

  • Product revenue
  • Service revenue

Is Walmart owned by China?

The Walmart branch in China is majority Chinese-owned. But predominantly it is owned by Sam Walton's many children.

Why is Walmart so cheap?

They sell in small quantities at low prices. By reducing the price they have high sales volume through which they have high earning.  Hence, by selling in high volume they can sell it at a cheap price and still gain profit.

What are the sub-organisations under Walmart?

There are 16 sub-organisations of Walmart. Some of them are:

  • Walmart Labs
  • Seiyu Group
  • Walmart Canada

What are the top acquisitions of Walmart?

Walmart has acquired 28 companies. Some top acquisitions are:

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How Walmart Automated Supplier Negotiations

  • Remko Van Hoek,
  • Michael DeWitt,
  • Mary Lacity,
  • Travis Johnson

walmart case study strategic management

Using a chatbot allows the procurement team to focus more on strategic relationships, exceptions, and continuous improvement.

It’s an age-old problem in procurement: Corporate buyers lack the time to negotiate fully with all suppliers. Historically this has left untapped value on the table for both buyers and suppliers. To address this challenge, Walmart deployed AI-powered negotiations software with a text-based interface (i.e., a chatbot) to connect with suppliers. So far, the chatbot is negotiating and closing agreements with 68% of suppliers approached, with each side gaining something it values. This article offers four lessons to deliver results from automated procurement negotiations: move quickly to a production pilot, start with indirect spend categories with pre-approved suppliers, decide on acceptable negotiation trade-offs, and scale by extending geographies, categories, and use cases.

Walmart, like most organizations with large procurement operations, can’t possibly conduct focused negotiations with all of its 100,000-plus suppliers. As a result, around 20% of its suppliers have signed agreements with cookie-cutter terms that are often not negotiated. It’s not the optimal way to engage with these “tail-end suppliers.” But the cost of hiring more human buyers to negotiate with them would exceed any additional value.

  • Remko Van Hoek is a professor of supply chain management at the University of Arkansas’s Sam M. Walton College of Business. He previously served as a chief procurement officer at a number of companies.
  • Michael DeWitt is vice president of strategic sourcing at Walmart International.
  • Mary Lacity is the David D. Glass Chair and Distinguished Professor of Information Systems at the University of Arkansas’s Sam M. Walton College of Business.    
  • Travis Johnson is senior director of procurement enablement solutions at Walmart International.

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Walmart PESTEL/PESTLE Analysis & Recommendations

Walmart PESTEL analysis, PESTLE analysis, political economic social sociocultural technological ecological environmental legal external factors retail

Walmart’s remote environment or macro-environment involves factors that determine the company’s success. These factors are best presented through the PESTEL/PESTLE analysis model. As a retail industry leader, Walmart continues to withstand the potential negative effects of threats in the political, economic, sociocultural, technological, ecological, and legal (PESTEL/PESTLE) aspects of its business. However, this success requires continued evaluation of the retail industry environment. These PESTEL/PESTLE factors also change over time, thereby imposing challenges for Walmart. These changes may present threats or opportunities. The retail company must exploit the opportunities and protect itself from threats. In using the PESTEL analysis, Walmart leaders and managers can determine which factors to prioritize in strategy development.

The external factors in the remote or macro-environment of Walmart, based on the PESTEL/PESTLE analysis, indicate the need for strategic focus on economic, sociocultural, and ecological concerns. Strategic formulation based on Walmart’s mission statement and vision statement is designed to target the trends identified in this PESTEL analysis.

Political Factors

Walmart considers political factors in the retail market, usually pertaining to government policies. In the PESTEL/PESTLE analysis model, politically active interest groups are also significant. The following are the political external factors in Walmart’s remote/macro environment:

  • High stability of politics (opportunity)
  • Political support for globalization (opportunity)
  • Political pressure for higher wages (threat)

The remote/macro-environmental factors show that the retail business must address the threat of higher wages. This is a threat because it goes against the cost minimization essential in Walmart’s cost leadership generic competitive strategy .

Economic Factors

Walmart is under significant pressure from economic changes. Any such change leads to changes in the company’s revenues. Based on the PESTEL/PESTLE analysis model, the following are the economic external factors in Walmart’s remote/macro environment:

  • Stability of major economies (opportunity)
  • Continued growth of developing countries (opportunity)
  • Decreasing unemployment in the United States (opportunity)

All these economic factors show that Walmart should exploit opportunities around the world. Emphasis should be on the fast-growing economies of developing countries, which have increasing demand for goods from retail firms.

Social/Sociocultural Factors

The social or sociocultural factors in the business environment of Walmart influence consumer perception and preferences. In the PESTEL/PESTLE analysis model, the following are the social or sociocultural external factors in Walmart’s remote/macro environment:

  • Healthy lifestyle trend (opportunity)
  • Cultural diversity trend (opportunity)
  • Urban migration (opportunity)

These social/sociocultural factors present opportunities for Walmart. The company can increase its array of healthy products. Walmart can also increase the variety of its products to satisfy various cultural preferences. Moreover, the company can adjust its strategies to exploit increasing consumer demand in cities and surrounding areas.

Technological Factors

Walmart needs to address technological trends. In the context of the PESTEL/PESTLE analysis model, technologies affect the retail industry’s competitive landscape. The following are the technological external factors in Walmart’s remote/macro environment:

  • Increasing business automation (opportunity)
  • Business analytics or big data (opportunity)
  • Increasing mobile device usage among consumers (opportunity)

Walmart can increase its investment in all three factors. In exploiting the opportunity in mobile device usage of customers, the company must boost its online presence. Online marketing and online selling increase Walmart’s revenues.

Ecological/Environmental Factors

The ecological or environmental factors significant in Walmart’s business pertain to environmental conservation concerns. Environmental conservation is now a popular principle. The following are the ecological external factors in Walmart’s remote/macro environment in the PESTEL/PESTLE analysis model:

  • Business sustainability trend (opportunity)
  • Environmentally friendly products trend (opportunity)

To attain business sustainability, Walmart must improve operational efficiency. Technological innovation helps improve efficiency in business. Improved policies and standards on products sold at its retail stores can also strengthen the company in addressing these ecological factors.

Legal Factors

Walmart is subject to the requirements of laws and regulations. Based on the PESTEL/PESTLE analysis model, these external factors usually impose limits on retail firms. The following are the legal external factors in Walmart’s remote/macro environment:

  • Food safety regulations (opportunity)
  • Employment regulations (opportunity)
  • Tax law reform (threat)

Tax reform is a potential threat if it leads to higher tax rates. Walmart must take food safety regulations as an opportunity to improve quality standards. Also, enhancing human resource management practices can exploit opportunities concerning employment regulations relevant to the retail business.

Recommendations – PESTLE/PESTEL Analysis of Walmart

This PESTLE analysis of Walmart shows that the company has more opportunities than threats in its remote/macro environment. The external factors present significant opportunities. The firm must take a proactive approach to address threats. However, the company’s efforts must focus on exploiting the opportunities identified in the retail business environment. Based on the PESTEL/PESTLE analysis, Walmart can improve HR management practices, boost investments in technology, enhance quality standards, and expand its business worldwide.

  • Paulino, E. P. (2022). Amplifying organizational performance from business intelligence: Business analytics implementation in the retail industry. Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Innovation, 18 (2), 69-104.
  • Phan, S. (2021). The effect of PESTLE factors on development of e-commerce. International Journal of Data and Network Science, 5 (1), 37-42.
  • U.S. Department of Commerce – International Trade Administration – Retail Trade Industry .
  • U.S. Department of Labor – Summary of the Major Laws of the Department of Labor .
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration – Retail Food Protection .
  • Walmart Inc. – Form 10-K .
  • Walmart’s E-commerce Website .
  • Wang, B. (2023). Is Walmart the same as ten years ago? A non-parametric difference-in-differences analysis of Walmart development. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 99 , 103863.
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walmart case study strategic management

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Strategic Management: Walmart Inc

Porter states that root of the problem lies in the lack of distinguishing between operation effectiveness and strategy. The expedition for productivity, quality and speed has resulted in management tools and techniques, total quality management benchmarking, time based competition, outsourcing, partnering, reengineering, change management. In any organization, strategy management Is the key to Its success.

There are many theories based on this assumption that without a proper tragedy and planning, it is difficult for any industry to survive irrespective of its size.

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It is necessary to understand here that all the major corporate organizations have established themselves, thanks to superior strategic planning and implementation. The retail industry is making news everywhere with not only the traditional industries increasing their outlets but some major corporate Industries also Intruding into this Industry Like Fresh @ Reliance of Reliance Industries, More of Ditty Barilla Group In India.

Wall-Mart, a US based retail Industry, which Is known as the giant In the retail industry has survived and is still the huge enterprise in the world which deals with almost all the F&B products, apparels, etc. It is not only the largest company in world but also the largest company in the history of world.

walmart case study strategic management

The present paper is divided into four sections to understand and answer as what makes Wall- Mart the best In the industry

  • retailing industry at the time of Wall-Mart’s innings
  • Wall-Mart’s Competitive advantage and key components
  • Wall-Mart’s Strategy and 4) Sustainable growth of Wall-Mart. L.

Retail Industry – Wall-Mart says Hello! Strategic decisions are ones that are aimed at differentiating an organization from its competitors in a way that is sustainable in the future. Porter strongly advocates that decisions in business can be classified as strategic if they involve some Innovation and difference that results In sustainable advantage.

According to Patrick Hayden et al the retailing Industry adopted the style of discounting on Its merchandise after the second world war. It Is learnt that discount retailing was not the strategy at the time Smart, Target and Wall-Mart first started operating their equines.

Frank states that when Sam Walton was franchising for Ben Franklins variety store, invented an idea of passing on the savings to his customers and earning his profits through volume. Prior to Wall-Mart’s entry into the market, Sidney and Hubert from Harrison founded Two Guys discount store In the year 1946 which dealt In hardware, automotive parts and later on groceries. Two Guys was the forerunner as compared to today’s retailers like Super Target, Wall-Mart which succumbed to the economic recession.

Another discount store set up by Eugene as E. J.

Corvette, which is often cited as first discount store which did not raise from 5 ; 10 cents roots and eventually declared bankruptcy due to inability to compete with the new entrants. Essential for superior performance which is the primary goal of any organization. He also says that a company can perform its rivals only if it can operate in different ways which are not in practice.

Much emphasis had been laid on strategic positioning like variety based positioning, needs – based positioning and access based positioning. Along with Wall-Mart, other stores that started operating were Target, Woolworth Wool and K-Mart.

However, Target has been functioning successfully, courtesy Wall-Mart, but other two failed in their operations and filed bankruptcy. Porters five forces model explains what strategic decisions should be made and on what basis. The model explains the basic strategies to be considered while starting a business like bargaining power of suppliers.

While franchising of Franklin he always looked for cheaper deals and thought of passing his savings to the customers and earning through the margin on volume of bulk purchases.

Through he way of discount stores, shoppers were given the cheapest price as compared to any other store. In regard to threats of new entrants, Wall-Mart has been constantly in the news for acquisition of other small retail shops in view of its expansion. But nevertheless it has stiff competition from likes of Super Target, Tests, etc. It is the world’s biggest retail industry. II.

Key Components of Wall-Mart Business Model Wall-Mart is the leader in retailing industry with fiscal revenue of $244. 52 billion in 2003 making it the world’s largest corporation.

Mike reports that Wall-Mart as of 2002 ad 1,283,000 employees growing at 1 1. 2%. The above data explains that strategy of Wall-Mart is extraordinary which manages and operates over 41 50 retail facilities globally.

The key components of Wall-Mart, which offers cheap prices than its competitors includes firm infrastructure like frugal culture, no regional offices and pleasant environment to work. Managements take lots of visits and it is learnt there are no rehearsals before any meeting which is usually scheduled on every Saturday.

In any organization, human resource is the key to development and Wall-Mart efficiently manages its sources. Wall-Mart terms its employees as associates. Manager compensation is linked to the profit of store operated by him, within promotions, compensation offered to associates depending on company’s profits and also offered some incentives on their performances. The workforce at Wall-Mart is not unionized as the company takes all the measures of their benefits and provides them training on related issues.

Technology plays a vital role in development of the organization and Wall-Mart is well equipped with technological innovations like POS, store performance tracking, real time market research, satellite system and PUC. Wall-Mart procurement measures like hard-nosed negotiations, partnerships with some vendors, centralized buying, planning packets, etc. Helps at large the cause of providing the goods and services on cheap prices. The other factors that increase the margin of profit for Wall-Mart are inbound logistics with frequent replenishment, automated Disc cross docking, pick to flight, DE’, hub and spoke system.

Wall-Mart strategy of operation is innovative with big stores in small towns with monopoly in the market at low rental costs, local prices, concentric expansion, merchandising in brand name, private labels, little space for inventory, room locals, spent less on advertising and the prices are fixed low and it depends on the store manager to fix the latitude of pricing. All the above factors combined together form the key components of Wall-Mart which not only increase the margin of profits through bulk sales but also boost the confidence of the customers with services like point of sale information system and everyday low prices.

Ill. Wall-Mart Strategy Wall-Mart dominates the American retailing industry due to number of factors like its business model which is still a mystery and its effectiveness in not letting the rivals let know about the weaknesses. Wall-Mart made strategic attempts in the its formulation to dominate the retail market where it has its presence, growth by expansion in the US and Internationally, create widespread name recognition and customer satisfaction in relation to brand name Wall-Mart and branching into new sectors of retailing.

It is learnt that Wall-Mart strives on three generic strategies consisting of Focus Strategy, the Differentiation Strategy and overall cost leadership. Managers strive hard to make their organizations unique, distinctive and identify key success factors that will drive the customers to buy their products.

Thus, firm specific resources and capabilities are crucial in explaining the firm’s performance. The Resource Based View explains competitive heterogeneity based on the premise that close competitors differ in their resources and capabilities in important and durable ways.

The company’s capability can be found through its functionality, reliable performance, like Wall-Mart superior logistics. Wall-Mart has firm infrastructure, well equipped in human resource with management professionals and technologically too. Any organizations thrive hard to be successful for which it needs to have better sources and superior capabilities. Wall-Mart has strong ROB with economically and financially very strong enough to stand still in the time of crisis.

Premier states that dominating the retail market is its key strategy.

Wall-Mart operates on low price strategy which is operated as every day low prices which builds trust among the customers. The strategy lies in purchasing the goods at lower prices and selling the goods to customer at much lower prices, cutting the price as far as possible and increasing the profit by increasing the number of sales. This ferociously increases the competition in the market and Wall-Mart competes with all its competitors till it is dominant it the market. Wall-Mart is expanding seriously and rapidly which is also its strategic goal.

Wall-Mart employs over 1. Associates, owns over 4000 stores out of which 3000 are in US and serves around 100 million customers weekly. Wall-Mart has acquired many international stores and merged with some super stores like SAD in I-J. Wall-Mart far flung network of retail outlets has ensured that Wall-Mart interacts with and has led the hunger of Wall-Mart to many European Countries. It is learnt that three entries with no Wall-Mart stores became part of corporation’s international presence wherein the domestic retail chains were taken over by Wall-Mart including 122 Wool stores in Canada, 21 Workweek stores in Germany and 229 SAD units in United Kingdom.

The takeover strategy by Wall-Mart keeps the company at forefront when entering into the new market and the number of competitors is also minimized.

The strategies have helped the Wall-Mart to rein in number one position in international countries making it the largest retailer in the world. It is seen that Wall-Mart has significantly the Porters five force model wherein through roper strategic planning and strategic implementation has led to removal of barrier entry, rivalry from competitors and pricing norms.

In regard to substitutes, Wall-Mart in order to achieve its aim of customer satisfaction has selling goods under its own legal brand. Wall-Mart’s big box phenomenon has changed the retailing industry in the United States which is often considered as discount stores and makes profit through high volume of purchases and low markup on profits. Wall-Mart with its low cost and ever expanding strategy has made a dramatic impact since 1962 when Sam Walton first started his business.

With this strategy, Wall-Mart has now over 4000 stores and outlets in US and other countries through acquisition and mergers.

IV. Sustainability in Discount Retailing – Wall-Mart According to Porter, operational effectiveness and efficiency are the key elements of success in any organization. A company can outperform its rivals or competitors in the market only with superior management and efficient control creating a difference from the others which eventually attracts customers. Porter defines operational effectiveness as performance of similar activities as its rivals but better than them.

In a study, it is stated the Wall-Mart is expert in manipulating perceptions.

It is termed that low price is not the strategy of Wall-Mart but the advertisement manipulates the consumer perceptions by making them think that its prices are lower than its competitors’ price using ‘price spin’. Wall-Mart makes the consumer addicted coming to its stores by convincing them the prices are lower than in the other stores by selling itself cheaper by advertising that We have lower prices than anyone else’ and placing a ‘opening price point’. The ‘opening price point’ is the lowest price in the store which is kept at high visibility which makes consumer lives that the products in this store are really cheaper. The SOOT analysis of Wall-Mart reveals that it is most powerful retail brand, reputation for money, value, commitment, and provides wide range of products.

It is growing at a brisk pace with expanding its horizon to other parts of world through acquisition and merger. Wall-Mart has good opportunities in markets of Europe and China and focuses on acquiring the market through acquisition of smaller stores and merger with leaders in the specific markets. Wall-Mart is always under threat to sustain its top position in market nationally and internationally.

Global leader in the industry leaves the organization vulnerable to many socioeconomic and political problems of the country. Strives hard to frame the policies and strategy to compete with its rivals in the market. Slack, Imitation, Substitution and Hold-up are some of the threats to any organization in retail industry.

However, Wall-Mart with its visionary goal of attaining zero waste status and reaching 100% renewable energy has planned to launch number of sustainability initiatives. Imitation increase profits by increasing the supply. But imitation puts reputation, relationship at stake.

James Hall reports that Wall-Mart is planning to open convenience stores as Tests has started and operating in US called Fresh ; Easy Neighborhood Markets. Such tactics will create mixed response among the consumers while degrading the reputation of the leader in market.

Substitution reduces the demand for what a firm uniquely provides by shifting the demand elsewhere due to changes in technology. The threats of substitution can be subtle and unexpected like minimizing expenses through videoconferencing instead of air flights to long distance meetings with its managers of other stores, etc.

Therefore, substation is an especially effective way of attacking dominant rivals in the market. Substitution offers mixed responses after identifying and understanding the threats. The organization should fight the threat and merging with them, switching to different options of substitution to be in the market. Hold-up diverts the value to customers, suppliers or complementary who have some bargaining leverage which results in tough negotiations, contractual agreements and vertical integration.

Wall-Mart is having great network with almost over 7800 stores and Cam’s Club locations in 16 markets worldwide.

It employs more than 2 million associates and serves more than 100 million customers every year. According to Fisherman Americans spend $26 million every hour at Wall-Mart which makes it believable that Wall-Mart is financially very strong and is capable of combating any threat from its rivals in the market. Wall-Mart is ever expanding its boundaries by way of acquisition and mergers. Thus Wall-Mart with such a vast network of stores and alliances in the forms of SAD, Target and many other stores is well protected enough to sustain its top position in the retail industry.

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  • Stages of Strategic Management
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  • Is Strategic Human Resource Management Really Strategic?
  • Importance of Top Management in Strategic Management
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Swot analysis of walmart.

SWOT Analysis of Walmart. Walmart is a US retail multination company. Sam Walton laid the foundation of the company in July 1962 with a single discount store. Its headquarter is in Bentonville, Arkansas. The brand has approximately more than 11496 chains of grocery stores, hypermarkets, and department discount stores across the world by the end of 2020. 

According to an estimate, Walmart is operating its business in 27 countries under 56 different brand names. The business description of the company is as follows; 

“Walmart Inc. helps people around the world save money and live better-anytime and anywhere-in retail stores and through e-commerce.”

Some of the main products and services of the brand are;

  • Business services,
  • Auto services,
  • Money services,
  • Registry services,
  • Health services,
  • Product services,
  • Pet services. 

The annual revenue of Walmart is 611.289 billion US dollars as of 2023, and it has increased by 7.31 . Out of which the net profit of the brand is 11.680 billion US dollars. According to an estimate, the company is employing approximately 2.3 million people as of 2023, out of which 700,000 were international. 

Some of the top competitors of Walmart are;

  • Home Depot,
  • Giant Eagle. 

Today we’ll discuss a swot analysis of Walmart that how various internal and external factors impact the growth and productivity of the company. How the brand should capitalize on its opportunities by focusing on its strengths and avoiding weaknesses. We’ll all of these factors in detail one by one; 

Strengths of Walmart

Recognized brand .

Millions of consumers visit different location points of Walmart every day. According to an estimate, the online store of the company offers approximately more than 60 million products and services. It makes Walmart a highly recognized brand worldwide. 

Expanded Worldwide

Walmart has made the acquisition and merging over the years and it has helped the company to expand the brand globally. For instance, Walmart has bought companies ASDA, Flipkart (an Indian E-commerce Company in the UK, and Bharti in India. Acquisitions and mergers like these helped the brand to be successful worldwide. 

International Presence 

According to a study, Walmart is running business operations in more than 27 different countries worldwide. The company launched 4 new stores in China, 11 in the UK, 15 in Chile, and 47 in Central America by the end of 2017. The brand is planning to open up a new store in different to increase the company’s growth and sales. 

Economies of Sales 

As we know that Walmart is a large multinational brand and the company gets its products manufactured its products in thousands. Economies of scale provide a uniquely competitive and costing edge to the company. As a result, Walmart offers the lowest prices to customers at its stores. 

Top Brand 

Walmart is a family-owned brand. Sam Walton’s family and heirs hold approximately 50% stock of the company. According to the ranking conducted by Fortune Global 500 in 2019, Walmart is the world’s top brand in terms of annual revenue of 514.405 billion US dollars. 

Logistic and Supply Chain Systems 

The logistics and supply chain system is one of its strong suits of Walmart. It’s because the company uses technology to evaluate the performance of its products at different location points worldwide. 

Human Resource Management (HRM)

Skilled professionals are very important assets for any company. Walmart is aware of this fact, and that’s why the company spends a plethora of resources on its employees through training and development. According to a report conducted by Business Insider, 1% of the US population is working in Walmart. 

Effective Management 

Just imagine the size of Walmart, roundabout 12000 stores worldwide, 2.2 million employees, millions of products and services, and there’s a sheer distance among stores. But the management is effectively managing and running various operations like supply chain, distribution, employees, knowledge, and information. 

Competitive Edge over Suppliers & Distributors 

Unlike Amazon, Walmart has power on the ground and competitors can’t copy that easily. That’s why suppliers and distributors can’t exploit and make unusual brands for the company. 

Effective Use of Technology 

Walmart is using very advanced technology and software whether it’s the tracking of orders, engaging with customers, supply chain and distribution systems, inventors, and the decision-making process of the management. It always keeps the shelves of Walmart full and ready to be sold. 

Variety of Products 

The reason millions of people visit Walmart every day is because of the certainty that everything would be available there at a reasonable price. The company offers a variety of products and services of different brands and labels under its roof. 

Weaknesses of Walmart

Poor working conditions .

Walmart has faced many lawsuits and criticism over the years because of poor working conditions at the workplace, low wages, and poor healthcare systems of the company. Such issues have not only brought public hailing and criticism but also a bad reputation to the company. 

Controlled System 

Walmart follows a centralized system of control over its business operations across the world. A centralized system is good for small companies. But big companies operating worldwide would weaken the brand in some areas. 

Limited Profit Margins 

The main focus of Walmart has always been on providing cheap products to customers. When you minimize all the expenses, a very little profit margin is left for the company. 

Gender Discriminations 

Some of the females failed a lawsuit against Walmart back in 2007. They claimed that the company discriminates against women in the workplace whether it’s job opportunities pay scale or promotion. 

Easy Business Model 

The business model of Walmart is very simple in bringing all the products under one roof. Economies of scale would lower the prices. If you’re a rich person, then you launch the same retail store brand very easily. Some of the competitors are doing the same thing, and Walmart doesn’t have differentiating factors over them. 

High Turnover Rate

The turnover rate of employees at Walmart is very high. It’s because of many reasons like poor working conditions, low morale and motivation level among workers, and less interest in management for the welfare of their employees. 

Vague Customer Experience 

If you go out shopping at Walmart, then you won’t feel anything different. The brand doesn’t offer a unique and pleasurable experience to its customers. 

Poor Quality

There are reports that some of the products offered at Walmart have poor quality. It’s very bad for the reputation of the company. 

Opportunities available to Walmart 

Further expansion .

Although Walmart is running its retail stores worldwide, there are markets in developing countries like the Middle East, Latin America, and China. If the company expands into those markets, they have huge potential for growth. 

Alliances & Partnerships 

There are many profitable startups, small companies, and big corporations out there. If Walmart manages to create strategic alliances and partnerships with them, it would help the brand to increase sales and revenue ultimately. 

Advanced HR practices 

If Walmart adopts new and advanced HR practices, it would help the company to increase the productivity of its employees. It is because the brand depends on the functionality of its workers. If their performance gets better, it’ll benefit the company in the long term. 

High-Quality Standards 

There’s a general perception among the public that low cost means poor quality. Now the company has an opportunity to set high standards for the quality of its products. New quality products would definitely attract a lot of new customers, increase sale, and more profit for the company. 

Organic & fewer sugar Products 

New research in food and nutrition has created a trend of organic and healthier food and lifestyle. If Walmart offers organic and less sugary products at its stores, it would attract the diet-conscious demographic in the population. 

Cafés 

Walmart has allowed McDonald’s to open small outlets at its big malls. If the company opens up coffee and tea café at its stores when it starts working the company should include other services like banking, spa, and beauty services. 

Threats Walmart has to face 

Impeachment controversy .

A third-party seller on Walmart sold t-shirts labeled at “Impeach 45.” Critics have said that the purpose of those shirts is to invoke violence. It’s not up to the brands like Walmart to interfere in such sensitive political issues. It’s because both types of customers (democrats and republicans) visit the retail stores of the company. As a result, many customers stopped visiting the store. 

Fake beer 

In 2017, Walmart some of the beers made by WX Brands but the label said Trouble Brewery. Later it turned out that the company Trouble Brewery didn’t exist and Walmart had to face a lawsuit because of it. 

Competitors

Walmart is the world’s largest retail store company. But its competitors are also and they’re unique in their characteristics. For instance, Costco provides the service of buying products in bulk quantity at a discounted price. Target has a reputation for selling quality products to its customers. 

Most importantly, both of these competitive companies treat their employees better and the workplace environment of these companies is healthy and enjoyable. 

Political & Legal Conflicts 

Local political and legal conflicts with the governments of different countries create a lot of problems for big corporations like Walmart. 

Small Online Retailers 

E-commerce and online retailing have made it much easier for young entrepreneurs to launch their businesses. They are small today, but they’ll be big tomorrow by grabbing the right opportunities. They’ll be a great threat to Walmart. 

Tech Issues 

The online store of Walmart is good, but it’s not up to the standards of Amazon. Some people have complained that the online retail store of Walmart is not well organized. Some people have also faced the issue of slow speed. If such issues persist, then the company won’t be able to compete with competitors like Amazon. 

Conclusion : Walmart SWOT Analysis Example Company

After an in-depth swot analysis of Walmart, we have realized that Walmart has a very strong market position in terms of profit and growth. If the company addresses legal and political issues, poor working conditions, tech issues, slow speed, and better marketing strategies. The growth and performance of the company would multiply. 

Ahsan Ali Shaw

Ahsan Ali Shaw is an accomplished Business Writer, Analyst, and Public Speaker. Other than that, he’s a fun loving person.

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MoSCoW Prioritization

What is moscow prioritization.

MoSCoW prioritization, also known as the MoSCoW method or MoSCoW analysis, is a popular prioritization technique for managing requirements. 

  The acronym MoSCoW represents four categories of initiatives: must-have, should-have, could-have, and won’t-have, or will not have right now. Some companies also use the “W” in MoSCoW to mean “wish.”

What is the History of the MoSCoW Method?

Software development expert Dai Clegg created the MoSCoW method while working at Oracle. He designed the framework to help his team prioritize tasks during development work on product releases.

You can find a detailed account of using MoSCoW prioritization in the Dynamic System Development Method (DSDM) handbook . But because MoSCoW can prioritize tasks within any time-boxed project, teams have adapted the method for a broad range of uses.

How Does MoSCoW Prioritization Work?

Before running a MoSCoW analysis, a few things need to happen. First, key stakeholders and the product team need to get aligned on objectives and prioritization factors. Then, all participants must agree on which initiatives to prioritize.

At this point, your team should also discuss how they will settle any disagreements in prioritization. If you can establish how to resolve disputes before they come up, you can help prevent those disagreements from holding up progress.

Finally, you’ll also want to reach a consensus on what percentage of resources you’d like to allocate to each category.

With the groundwork complete, you may begin determining which category is most appropriate for each initiative. But, first, let’s further break down each category in the MoSCoW method.

Start prioritizing your roadmap

Moscow prioritization categories.

Moscow

1. Must-have initiatives

As the name suggests, this category consists of initiatives that are “musts” for your team. They represent non-negotiable needs for the project, product, or release in question. For example, if you’re releasing a healthcare application, a must-have initiative may be security functionalities that help maintain compliance.

The “must-have” category requires the team to complete a mandatory task. If you’re unsure about whether something belongs in this category, ask yourself the following.

moscow-initiatives

If the product won’t work without an initiative, or the release becomes useless without it, the initiative is most likely a “must-have.”

2. Should-have initiatives

Should-have initiatives are just a step below must-haves. They are essential to the product, project, or release, but they are not vital. If left out, the product or project still functions. However, the initiatives may add significant value.

“Should-have” initiatives are different from “must-have” initiatives in that they can get scheduled for a future release without impacting the current one. For example, performance improvements, minor bug fixes, or new functionality may be “should-have” initiatives. Without them, the product still works.

3. Could-have initiatives

Another way of describing “could-have” initiatives is nice-to-haves. “Could-have” initiatives are not necessary to the core function of the product. However, compared with “should-have” initiatives, they have a much smaller impact on the outcome if left out.

So, initiatives placed in the “could-have” category are often the first to be deprioritized if a project in the “should-have” or “must-have” category ends up larger than expected.

4. Will not have (this time)

One benefit of the MoSCoW method is that it places several initiatives in the “will-not-have” category. The category can manage expectations about what the team will not include in a specific release (or another timeframe you’re prioritizing).

Placing initiatives in the “will-not-have” category is one way to help prevent scope creep . If initiatives are in this category, the team knows they are not a priority for this specific time frame. 

Some initiatives in the “will-not-have” group will be prioritized in the future, while others are not likely to happen. Some teams decide to differentiate between those by creating a subcategory within this group.

How Can Development Teams Use MoSCoW?

  Although Dai Clegg developed the approach to help prioritize tasks around his team’s limited time, the MoSCoW method also works when a development team faces limitations other than time. For example: 

Prioritize based on budgetary constraints.

What if a development team’s limiting factor is not a deadline but a tight budget imposed by the company? Working with the product managers, the team can use MoSCoW first to decide on the initiatives that represent must-haves and the should-haves. Then, using the development department’s budget as the guide, the team can figure out which items they can complete. 

Prioritize based on the team’s skillsets.

A cross-functional product team might also find itself constrained by the experience and expertise of its developers. If the product roadmap calls for functionality the team does not have the skills to build, this limiting factor will play into scoring those items in their MoSCoW analysis.

Prioritize based on competing needs at the company.

Cross-functional teams can also find themselves constrained by other company priorities. The team wants to make progress on a new product release, but the executive staff has created tight deadlines for further releases in the same timeframe. In this case, the team can use MoSCoW to determine which aspects of their desired release represent must-haves and temporarily backlog everything else.

What Are the Drawbacks of MoSCoW Prioritization?

  Although many product and development teams have prioritized MoSCoW, the approach has potential pitfalls. Here are a few examples.

1. An inconsistent scoring process can lead to tasks placed in the wrong categories.

  One common criticism against MoSCoW is that it does not include an objective methodology for ranking initiatives against each other. Your team will need to bring this methodology to your analysis. The MoSCoW approach works only to ensure that your team applies a consistent scoring system for all initiatives.

Pro tip: One proven method is weighted scoring, where your team measures each initiative on your backlog against a standard set of cost and benefit criteria. You can use the weighted scoring approach in ProductPlan’s roadmap app .

2. Not including all relevant stakeholders can lead to items placed in the wrong categories.

To know which of your team’s initiatives represent must-haves for your product and which are merely should-haves, you will need as much context as possible.

For example, you might need someone from your sales team to let you know how important (or unimportant) prospective buyers view a proposed new feature.

One pitfall of the MoSCoW method is that you could make poor decisions about where to slot each initiative unless your team receives input from all relevant stakeholders. 

3. Team bias for (or against) initiatives can undermine MoSCoW’s effectiveness.

Because MoSCoW does not include an objective scoring method, your team members can fall victim to their own opinions about certain initiatives. 

One risk of using MoSCoW prioritization is that a team can mistakenly think MoSCoW itself represents an objective way of measuring the items on their list. They discuss an initiative, agree that it is a “should have,” and move on to the next.

But your team will also need an objective and consistent framework for ranking all initiatives. That is the only way to minimize your team’s biases in favor of items or against them.

When Do You Use the MoSCoW Method for Prioritization?

MoSCoW prioritization is effective for teams that want to include representatives from the whole organization in their process. You can capture a broader perspective by involving participants from various functional departments.

Another reason you may want to use MoSCoW prioritization is it allows your team to determine how much effort goes into each category. Therefore, you can ensure you’re delivering a good variety of initiatives in each release.

What Are Best Practices for Using MoSCoW Prioritization?

If you’re considering giving MoSCoW prioritization a try, here are a few steps to keep in mind. Incorporating these into your process will help your team gain more value from the MoSCoW method.

1. Choose an objective ranking or scoring system.

Remember, MoSCoW helps your team group items into the appropriate buckets—from must-have items down to your longer-term wish list. But MoSCoW itself doesn’t help you determine which item belongs in which category.

You will need a separate ranking methodology. You can choose from many, such as:

  • Weighted scoring
  • Value vs. complexity
  • Buy-a-feature
  • Opportunity scoring

For help finding the best scoring methodology for your team, check out ProductPlan’s article: 7 strategies to choose the best features for your product .

2. Seek input from all key stakeholders.

To make sure you’re placing each initiative into the right bucket—must-have, should-have, could-have, or won’t-have—your team needs context. 

At the beginning of your MoSCoW method, your team should consider which stakeholders can provide valuable context and insights. Sales? Customer success? The executive staff? Product managers in another area of your business? Include them in your initiative scoring process if you think they can help you see opportunities or threats your team might miss. 

3. Share your MoSCoW process across your organization.

MoSCoW gives your team a tangible way to show your organization prioritizing initiatives for your products or projects. 

The method can help you build company-wide consensus for your work, or at least help you show stakeholders why you made the decisions you did.

Communicating your team’s prioritization strategy also helps you set expectations across the business. When they see your methodology for choosing one initiative over another, stakeholders in other departments will understand that your team has thought through and weighed all decisions you’ve made. 

If any stakeholders have an issue with one of your decisions, they will understand that they can’t simply complain—they’ll need to present you with evidence to alter your course of action.  

Related Terms

2×2 prioritization matrix / Eisenhower matrix / DACI decision-making framework / ICE scoring model / RICE scoring model

Prioritizing your roadmap using our guide

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walmart case study strategic management

Manager, Security - Associate Vetting and Assessment

  • Location BENTONVILLE, AR
  • Career Area Global Investigations and Security
  • Job Function Security
  • Employment Type Regular/Permanent
  • Position Type Salary
  • Requisition WD1865480

What you'll do at

Position Summary...

What you'll do...

The Manager, Security - Associate Vetting and Assessment is responsible for supporting the criminal screening program for internal and external candidates at Walmart Inc. This role focuses on risk management and rehabilitation, making urgent complex decisions to protect associates, customers, and the Walmart brand. The Manager, Security - Associate Vetting and Assessment will utilize their professional judgment and expertise in social services, reentry programs, and criminal justice to assess candidates. They will interpret available data and apply knowledge gained from experiences, training, case studies, academic studies, and peer partnerships to deliver assessments. This role is ideal for someone transitioning into the field from social services, mental health, work reentry programs or a related field, rather than law enforcement exclusively. Candidates with a combination of law enforcement and risk assessment experience, particularly in mental health, are preferred.

In this role you will focus on making work reentry decisions and vetting candidates with criminal backgrounds, ensuring that individuals who have been involved in criminal activities are given fair opportunities for employment while also considering the safety and security of the organization.

In the context of work reentry decisions, the role involves evaluating individuals who have been previously incarcerated and determining their suitability for employment. This may include reviewing their criminal records, assessing their rehabilitation efforts, and considering the nature of their past offenses. The goal is to make informed decisions that provide a second chance for individuals who have demonstrated positive changes and a commitment to reintegration into society.

Vetting candidates with criminal backgrounds goes beyond simply checking criminal records. It involves a comprehensive evaluation of an individual's background, including interviews, reference checks, and assessing their overall character and integrity. The focus is on determining whether the candidate poses any risks to the organization, its employees, or clients, while also ensuring that fair and unbiased decisions are made.

As part of this role, it is essential to stay updated on relevant laws and regulations concerning the employment of individuals with criminal backgrounds. This includes understanding any legal limitations or requirements that may impact the hiring process, such as ban-the-box laws or restrictions on certain industries.

Additionally, the role may involve collaborating with various stakeholders, such as human resources, legal teams, and community organizations, to ensure a comprehensive and fair approach to work reentry decisions and candidate vetting. Building relationships with these stakeholders can help create a support network for individuals with criminal backgrounds and contribute to their successful reintegration into the workforce.

You’ll sweep us off our feet if:

You build strong relationships with cross-functional partners.

You are an effective and clear communicator.

You understand complex investigative processes.

You have a professional understanding of the criminal justice system.

You have a professional understanding of risk spotting and risk mitigation tactics.

You are comfortable with critical decision making in uncertain situations.

You have basic knowledge of human behavior and mental health concerns.

You feel comfortable engaging in challenging discussions with professionalism.

You’ll make an impact by:

Operating with excellence: Aligning on clear expectations and delivering business initiatives; anticipating and planning for ongoing improvement in performance, efficiency, and subject matter expertise. Aligning ways of working with goals, objectives, and core values.

Adapting quickly and resourcefully: Prioritizing amongst competing demands and ongoing case developments; effectively supporting others to meet challenges.

Building strategic relationships : Maintaining and supporting a collaborative environment that thrives on feedback, lessons learned, and exchanges of ideas and experiences, and continuously seeking input from both      internal and external sources.

Supporting team culture: Supporting and strengthening relationships through trust and regular feedback. Fostering an environment that values inclusion and diverse perspectives. Supporting social justice inside and outside of the company.

Navigating and balancing: Customer-focused solutions and business/customer objectives with prioritization of safety.

Embracing change: Sponsoring or supporting programs and initiatives that improve adaptability and continuous learning. Actively and rapidly embracing change by experimenting and gaining buy-in and support.

For information about PTO, see https://one.walmart.com/notices .

For information about benefits and eligibility, see One.Walmart .

Minimum Qualifications...

Outlined below are the required minimum qualifications for this position. If none are listed, there are no minimum qualifications.

Preferred Qualifications...

Outlined below are the optional preferred qualifications for this position. If none are listed, there are no preferred qualifications.

Primary Location...

About walmart, hello, nw arkansas.

With over 200 miles of trails, an emerging locally-sourced food scene, the world-renowned Crystal Bridges Museum—NWA has something for everyone.

Northwest Arkansas

Crystal Bridges Museum

Celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the beauty of art and the power of nature.

Walton Arts Center

Walton Arts Center

Arkansas' premiere center for visual arts and entertainment.

Scott Family Amazeum

The Amazeum

An interactive children's museum that's fun for the whole family.

Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens

42 acres of premiere public garden space.

Devil's Den Photography

Devil's Den State Park

Located on 2,500 acres, Devil's Den State Park is the perfect place to explore Arkansas' natural beauty.

Fayetteville Square

Fayetteville Square

The best of shopping and restaurants, right in the heart of Fayetteville.

All the benefits you need for you and your family

  • Multiple health plan options, including vision & dental plans for you & dependents
  • Financial benefits including 401(k), stock purchase plans, life insurance and more
  • Associate discounts in-store and online
  • Education assistance for Associate and dependents
  • Parental Leave
  • Pay during military service
  • Paid Time off - to include vacation, sick, parental
  • Short-term and long-term disability for when you can't work because of injury, illness, or childbirth

Eligibility requirements apply to some benefits and may depend on your job classification and length of employment. Benefits are subject to change and may be subject to specific plan or program terms. For information about benefits and eligibility, see One.Walmart.com/Benefits .

Frequently asked questions

On average, how long does it take to fill out an application.

On average, it takes 45-60 minutes to complete your application for the first time. Subsequent applications will take less time to apply as our system saves some of your application information. Please note that some positions require the completion of assessments in order to receive consideration for that role. Those would take additional time.

Can I change my application after submitting?

No, you cannot change your application after submitting, so please make sure that everything is finalized before you hit the submit button.

How do you protect my personal information?

Processing of information on paper is minimal, and Walmart processes application information using an applicant tracking system (ATS). Access to the data within the ATS is restricted to authorized personnel, and the system itself is held to high security standards by Walmart.

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Strategic Initiatives

Continuity in russian strategic culture: a case study of moscow’s syrian campaign.

En route to Damascus. With Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, January 7, 2020.

Moscow’s modus operandi during the military campaign in Syria

Dmitry (Dima) Adamsky

Executive Summary

  • The paper argues that Russian strategic-operational conduct in Syria demonstrates more continuity than change in the traditional Russian approach to military operations and strategy.
  • The paper claims that this continuity presents itself in the following cultural traits: (1) a holistic approach to strategy and operations; (2) recklessness and disconnect between words and deeds; (3) a mix of messianic–pragmatic considerations; (4) an integral strategic management style; and (5) operational creativeness.
  • The paper also suggests that change might be evolving on the tactical-operational level with the emergence of a mission command culture.

Introduction

In this paper, we explore the extent to which Moscow’s modus operandi during the military campaign in Syria demonstrates continuity in Russian strategic culture. Moscow’s intensive and years-long Syria campaign makes it possible to categorize Russian strategic behavior and to compare and contrast it with the conventional wisdom about Russian strategic culture and traits of operational behavior. Illustrating the cultural drivers behind Russian policy and operations in Syria, this paper adds an additional layer to the existing knowledge about Moscow’s conduct in the Middle East, and about ideational factors that shape Moscow’s strategic behavior elsewhere. This expands the toolbox for policy experts contemplating diagnosis and prognosis of Russian geostrategic assertiveness in the region and beyond.

The paper distills five main characteristics of Russian strategic-operational conduct in Syria. We claim that the Russian operation in Syrian demonstrated (1) a holistic approach to strategy and operations, (2) recklessness and disconnect between words and deeds, (3) a mix of messianic–pragmatic considerations, (4) an “integral” management style, and (5) operational creativeness. We argue that these traits demonstrate more continuity than change in the traditional Russian approach to military operations and strategy. However, we also suggest that change might be evolving on the tactical-operational level with the emergence of a mission command culture.

Following this introduction, the paper is divided into five sections. Each section describes a specific characteristic of Moscow’s Syria campaign and shows how it corresponds with or deviates from earlier Russian strategic tradition. The conclusion summarizes the findings and outlines the implications for policymakers.

Holistic Approach

Russian conduct in Syria exemplified the so-called holistic or systemic approach to strategy, dubbed in Russian as kompleksnyi or sistemnyi podhod. This applies to both the political-strategic and the operational-tactical aspects of the Syria campaign. A holistic or systemic approach stands for an all-embracing view that “grasps a big picture and describes every element of reality as being in constant interplay with others in frames of a meta-system. It views issues in different dimensions as interconnected within one generalized frame.” 1 A predilection for holism is prominent throughout Russian intellectual tradition and cognitive style in literature, religious philosophy, and the sciences. 2 It has also been projected on the culture of war, strategic style, and military thought. 3 

There are three examples that illustrate the continuity of this holistic trait in the Russian Syrian campaign. First, the goals of the intervention reflect the holistic nature of the Russian approach on the strategic-political level. The campaign has promoted, in parallel, several interconnected global, regional, domestic, and organizational logics ( sistemo-obrazuischiaia logika ), which have shaped the essence of Russian conduct. 4

Second, the campaign design on the military-operational level was equally holistic or systemic. The holistic-thinking tradition envisions war as a clash of two competing systems. Within such a paradigm, operational design does not aim at the annihilation of the enemy by methodical destruction of its forces, but seeks its dismantlement and disintegration through fragmentation strikes ( drobiaschii/raschleniaiuschii udar ), decomposition ( razlozhenie ), systemic paralysis, and neutralization. 5 The Russian campaign design and its operational execution demonstrated exactly that. Moscow sought to mount not just a large-scale operation, but a comprehensive one that would reverse strategic trends, deny the initiative to the anti-Syrian government forces, demonstrate the strength of the regime, fragment the opposition forces with their subsequent localization and neutralization, and facilitate conditions for a political process by convincing the main actors and their proxies of the futility of further fighting. The air campaign took the form of strikes on the systems that hold opposition forces together: the command and control (C2) systems, material supply chains, and economic centers of gravity. In conjunction with the air strikes, ground operations sought first to control the main transportation infrastructure; lift the blockade of encircled cities and garrisons of the Syrian army; and then localize, isolate, and dismantle pockets of resistance while, in parallel, systematically destroying hardware and fighters all over the country from the air. 6

Russian aviation group in the Syrian Arab Republic continues strikes against ISIS infrastructures.

Finally, contemporary Russian military-strategic thought, which informed the campaign’s design, illustrates holistic threat perception and a holistic conceptualization of the countermeasures. Combining hard and soft instruments of power across military and nonmilitary domains—which is so evident in the current Russian approach to strategy—is a manifestation of the same systemic tradition. Asymmetry, which has also been part of this paradigm, can also be seen as a manifestation of strategic holism. 7 In sum, the holistic approach demonstrates a clear continuity of the strategic tradition.

Recklessness and Disconnect Between Theory and Practice

Russian strategic tradition often manifests a disconnect between the words of theoreticians and the deeds of the practitioners implementing them. Military and nonmilitary theoreticians can be very advanced in their conceptualizations, but the system, as a whole, can be pathologically bad at implementing them. This trait, the other side of the holistic coin, has manifested itself throughout Russian history. 8   The gap between the theoretical and the feasible, however, has never stopped Russian decision-makers. Russian and Soviet military thinking has been future-oriented and could be described as wishful thinking that ignores current realities and neglects problems. The Soviets were traditionally good at theorizing innovative concepts, but often limited themselves to abstract considerations and remained prisoners of their futuristic visions; sophisticated doctrines were incompatible with the country’s operational capacity to implement them. 9  Frequently, an accompanying cultural trait has been an inclination to stage events for show ( pokazukha ) and efforts to appear rather than to be. Thus, despite leaders’ holistic approaches to strategic theory and operational planning, in reality we often observe systemic breakdowns ( sistemnii sboi ) on the operational level. This could be due to what various authors perceive as traditional Russian recklessness ( razgildiastvo ) and carelessness ( bezolarabenrnost’ ), resulting in an overall mess and chaos ( bardak ) in both planning and execution. 10

Russian conduct in Syria could be attributed to these traits. Unquestionably, the limited order of battle sustained a very high rate of bombing sorties and combat missions with a historically low number of combat losses—both in personnel and in platforms—and of mechanical accidents, unparalleled in comparison with all previous Russian combat experiences. 11 However, the longer the campaign, the more accidents, combat and noncombat casualties, and systemic breakdowns occurred. Despite announcements of victory and the withdrawal of forces, the promotion of the victory narrative, and the conduct of victory parades, the political process has been moving more slowly than expected. Presumably, the episodes—at Dir-a-Zor in February 2018, when Russian mercenaries initiated an attack and were eventually destroyed by U.S. fire strikes; and in September 2018, when Syrian Air Defense forces shot down a Russian signals intelligence (ELINT) plane—illustrate the phenomenon of the abovementioned bardak . Apparently, the Syrian campaign exhibited less recklessness and bardak than was reported during the Soviet operations in Afghanistan, the Russian operations in Chechnya and in Georgia in 2008, and even less than in the 2014 war in Ukraine, but eventually, there were still more of these traits displayed in the aforementioned 2018 episodes than at the beginning of the operation. Thus, overall, despite relative improvements, this general cultural trait remained intact.

A Mix of Pragmatic and Messianic Considerations

Messianism has long been a tradition in Russian foreign policy. 12 It emanates from a religious-political-public conviction about the predestination of Russia in the world. Informed by the religious philosophy of the Holy Rus’ and Third Rome which defines Russia and its people as a God chosen country and nation, this concept places Russia at the spiritual center responsible for the salvation of Christian civilization and of the world. 13 The balance between pragmatism and messianism in the Tsarist and Soviet regional policies varied, but it was always a synthesis of both considerations. The tide of religious metaphysics as a driver of political considerations has ebbed and flowed over history, with varying impact on policy. 14 Messianic considerations and self-attribution of the civilizational mission were always traits in Russian strategic mentality and national narrative and have varied in intensity according to the centrality to the leadership. The Arab Spring coincided with an increase in the roles of religion and messianism in Russian ideology and politics. 15

Vladimir Putin at the Orthodox Mariamite Cathedral of Damascus, with Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East. Left, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, January , 2020.

The Syrian campaign has been the Russian diplomatic-military enterprise most significantly touched by religion in the post-Soviet era. During the operation, the ecclesiastical diplomacy (1) provided the Kremlin with a messianic raison d’être, enabling the leadership to justify the mission in their own eyes and operate from a position of moral-psychological comfort; (2) engaged foreign political leaders, international organizations, and the main Christian denominations worldwide to legitimize Moscow’s policy, mainly focusing on the EU and the United States; and (3) sustained domestic support for the operation and maintained combat effectiveness within the Russian military on the ground, which multiplied motivation, morale, and unit cohesion. Thus, the operation has been a clear extension of the messianic imprint on strategy, which expressed itself during the Tsarist and Soviet eras. 16

Integral Management Style

The Syrian operation demonstrated rapid decision-making and decision execution and a flexible approach to strategy, which owed a lot to the notion of “integral strategist” ( ingtegral’nii polkovodets ) and the C2 architecture supporting it that ensures uninterrupted political control over war . The Russian notion of integral strategist refers to the highest strategic authority, which ties together, at the national level all types of considerations (political, economic, ideological) and forms of power (military and civilian, private and public) into a single integrated effort. It can be translated as “grand strategist,” one who operates within the Stavka , or wartime supreme command. In different historical periods it has taken different shapes and forms, but the logic stays the same. Integration of military and nonmilitary sources of power is an old Russian managerial tradition, codified in both Soviet and post-Soviet times and supported by theoretical writings, mostly works by the Soviet military theoretician Svechin that have become somewhat popular within the Russian supreme command today. 17

One of the main desired outcomes of integral management style, at least in theory, is uninterrupted political control over the military operation from the grand strategic level to the tactical level. This leads to a calibrated use of force, ensuring the utility of violence. This “intervention” of the political authority in military affairs, and the familiarity of the military with grand strategic considerations, enable productive discourse within the strategic community, especially during uncertain and unstable situations that demand what Svechin called a “flexible plan of war” ( gibkii plan voiny ). 18  The notion is epitomized by the unique three-echelon C2 architecture that exists in Syria—from the National Defense Management Center (NDMC) in the General Staff (GS), the highest level of command, via the command post in Khmeimim; to the C2 centers giving the operational directions in the field, the lowest level of command. The NDMC—as part of the GS, but reporting directly to the Ministry of Defense (MoD)—tailored the processes from the strategic to the tactical level, and coordinated staff work on the combat, diplomatic, and humanitarian activities, synchronizing them with other armed segments of the coalition. 19

Moreover, the NDMC configuration, even if it is only a ritualistic façade, illustrates the canonic role of the GS—the brain of the military and meta-operator of war—in direct continuity with the Russian strategic tradition, when the GS functions as the main staff organ supporting the decision-making process of the supreme command. The location and roles of the NDMC as part of the GS reflect the intentional organizational design based, among other, on the lessons learned from the Great Patriotic War (GPW) about strategic management architecture and its implementation. 20

About the Author

Dmitry (Dima) Adamsky is a professor at the School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the IDC Herzliya University, Israel. His research interests include international security; cultural approaches to international relations; and American, Russian, and Israeli national security policy. He has published on these topics in  Foreign Affairs ,  Security Studies ,  Journal of Strategic Studies ,  Problems of Post-Communism ,  Intelligence and National Security ,  Studies in Conflict and Terrorism , and  Cold War History . He is the author of Operation Kavkaz (2006), The Culture of Military Innovation  (Stanford University Press, 2010), and, with Kjell Inge Bjerga, Contemporary Military Innovation (Routledge, 2013). His latest book, Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy  (Stanford University Press, 2019), is about religion, politics, and strategy in Russia. This paper is based on Dmitry (Dima) Adamsky, “Russian Campaign in Syria — Change and Continuity in Strategic Culture,” Journal of Strategic Studies , Vol. 43, No. 2, 2020, pp.104–125.

Russia Strategic Initiative

Russia Strategic Initiative (RSI):  This program of research, led by the GCMC and funded by RSI ( U.S. Department of Defense effort to enhance understanding of the Russian way of war in order to inform strategy and planning), employs in-depth case studies to better understand Russian strategic behavior in order to mitigate miscalculation in relations.

The Marshall Center Security Insights

The George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, a German-American partnership, is committed to creating and enhancing worldwide networks to address global and regional security challenges. The Marshall Center offers fifteen resident programs designed to promote peaceful, whole of government approaches to address today’s most pressing security challenges. Since its creation in 1992, the Marshall Center’s alumni network has grown to include over 13,985 professionals from 157 countries. More information on the Marshall Center can be found online at www.marshallcenter.org . 

The articles in the Security Insights series reflect the views of the authors and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.

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