Wal-Mart: SWOT Analysis

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Case Study Introduction4
Impact to the Organization5
SWOT Analysis7
Knowledge Management (KM)7
Appreciative Inquiry (AI)8
System for the Case Study8
Purpose of Innovation10
Knowledge Management Selection for Supply Chain Management10 Implementation and Application of KM to Improve Innovation11 Challenges to adding KM to Supply Chain Management12
Innovation, Change and Ethics13
Principles of Implementing Innovation14
Literature Review15
Supply Chain Management15
Core Aspects of Leadership17
Hindrances to Leading Innovation18
Effects of Leadership Ethics20
Effects of Leadership Ethics21
Research Summary22


Wal-Mart has been around since 1962, when founder Sam Walton, took the lessons he learned while operating a chain of Ben Franklin dime stores, and applied them to his new venture that he called Wal-Mart. Walton wanted to offer a large selection of items at discount prices to people who lived in small towns (Hoovers Pro, 2010). To become the discount store powerhouse that Wal-Mart currently is, innovation was crucial, especially in the areas of supply chain management. This purpose of this paper it to look at how Wal-Mart used innovation to improve the logistics of the supply chain and pass the savings along to the consumer, the impact on the organization and the reasoning behind the innovations (Chandran, & Gupta, 2003). Furthermore, this paper will examine the role that ethics plays and how the leadership of the Wal-Mart has transformed it.

Case Study Introduction

Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton had straightforward reasoning as to why his company was so successful:
When we arrived in these small towns offering low prices every day, customer satisfaction guaranteed, and hours, that were realistic for the way people wanted to shop, we passed right by that old variety store competition, with its 45 percent mark ups, limited selection and limited hours. This philosophy would reverberate repeatedly in the case study prepared by Chandran, and Gupta (2003). The case study detailed the ways that Wal-Mart used innovation from the 1980's until the present to streamline the supply chain process in an attempt to reduce costs, implement an economical way of distributing products from vendors and distribution centers, and to advance the management of the logistic systems as a whole. Innovation did not start with the procedures identified in the case study; Wal-Mart also had an innovating way of selecting store locations in place as early as the 1970's. Curasi and Kennedy echoes Walton's words in their (2002) study. The study showed that Wal-Mart's selection of stores in small towns, gave a sense of freedom to their new customers, since they were no longer at the held prisoner by the small town retailers who had high prices and small selections.

In the 1980's Wal-Mart's presence was beginning to be noticed by the retail market. They focused on giving customers a great price, and a sizeable selection, but as Wal-Mart continued to grow problems began to arise as more and more stores began opening, and distribution centers were finding it hard to keep up with increased demand. This forced the management to think of new and innovative ways to keep up with demand, while at the same time not altering Sam Walton's values. Several parameters were set in place to ensure that customers were the continued focus, while continuing to offer products and services at prices lower than the competition. The predominant consensus detailed the need for a redesign of the supply chain. The redesign should encompass innovative technology, and ingenuity, to speed up and minimize the cost of product distribution.

Impact to the Organization

The improvements on the inventory system and supply chain management, allowed Wal-Mart to become the number one company in the world based on...
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