Wal-Mart Executive Summary
Wal-Mart has shown continued success in their use of information technology with e-commerce, a system that allows managers to view point-of-sale information, and the possible use of RFID chips in the near future. After reviewing the 2005 Harvard Business School study of Wal-Mart, it is evident that this company has been successful in expanding its operations in several foreign markets. Wal-Mart had established itself as the largest retailer in both Canada in 2003 and Mexico in 2004. Through acquisitions, partnerships, and go-it-alone strategies, Wal-Mart began the expansion of large-scale operations in other countries such as the U.K., Germany, South Korea, China and Japan. Wal-Mart was very successful in aligning itself with the Japanese retailer, Seiyu, and integrating their information systems together to show an inventory accuracy rate of 94%, which was the highest in all the countries Wal-Mart was operating in. Wal-Mart also encountered a couple problem areas in the midst of its world-wide expansion. While trying to establish itself in Indonesia in the late 1990's, Wal-Mart was shut down by rioting during the Asian financial crisis at this time. Wal-Mart may have also moved in too quickly on Germany. It is mentioned in the case that Wal-Mart was not prepared for the well-established positions of discounters, the inflexibility of suppliers, and the strength of trade unions in this country. The company was also not familiar with the shopping habits of the Germans or that Wal-Mart's Western company culture may be a bit extreme for the German workforce. Analysts have estimated that Wal-Mart has made an overall profit in their overseas operations year after year, but is still unprofitable in Germany and Japan (despite the apparent success of the Seiyu merge in Japan).
Findings and Conclusions
Although Wal-Mart has shown overall success in the global expansion of its business, there seem to be areas of the world that...
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