Wal-Mart has grown to be the world’s largest retail and grocery store with sales soaring to $419 billion in fiscal year 2011. Wal-Mart employs over 2 million associates worldwide in 9,600 retail units and operates in 28 countries. Wal-Mart has enjoyed its success since 1962 when the first store opened in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas. Wal-Mart was founded by Sam Walton who envisioned a retail store that could “save people money to help them live better.” Sam Walton opened his first store in 1962 as a private investment (95% of the capital came from Sam and his wife Helen) and went public on the NYSE in 1972. Sam Walton’s secret was to give your customers what they want and to determine their wants from the perspective of the customer.
Sam Walton said it best, “If we work together, we’ll lower the cost of living for everyone…we’ll give the world an opportunity to see what it’s like to save and have a better life.” Sam had a grass roots effort as he started building more stores and always listened to his employees for new ideas. Sam had 3 basic beliefs and values: respect for the individual, service to our customers, and strive for excellence. Sam had another secret and asked every employee to pledge their service to the 10 foot rule. The 10 foot rule is when an employee comes within 10 feet of a customer they will look the customer in the eyes and ask if they can help. (The cynical side of me wants to go down to my local Wal-Mart and see if anyone is still practicing this rule?)
Wal-Mart has grown from just a retail store to a grocery store and also operates a warehouse discount store (Sam’s Club). Wal-Mart’s success not only stems from Sam Walton’s good intentions but also from their technology standpoint. Wal-Mart has an extensive information technology capability that rivals the Pentagon. Wal-Mart’s logistics is impressive to say the least with over 40 regional distributions...