Porter (2002) 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 strategy and planning, it is difficult for any industry to survive irrespective of its size. 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 Aditya Birla Group in India. Wal-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.(Fishman, 2006) The present paper is divided into four sections to understand and answer as what makes Wal-Mart the best in the industry, 1) retailing industry at the time of Wal-Mart's innings, 2) Wal-Mart's Competitive advantage and key components, 3) Wal-Mart's Strategy and 4) Sustainable growth of Wal-Mart. I. Retail Industry – Wal-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, 2002) 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 (2002) 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 Kmart, Target and Wal-Mart first started operating their business. Frank (2006) states that when Sam Walton was franchising for Ben Franklin's variety store, invented an idea of passing on the savings to his customers and earning his profits through volume. Prior to Wal-Mart's entry into the market, Sidney and Hebert 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, Wal-Mart which succumbed to the economic recession. Another discount store set up by Eugene as E.J. Korvette, 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.
Porter (2002) states that combination of operational effectiveness and strategy is 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 Wal-Mart, other stores that started operating were Target, Woolworth (Woolco) and K-Mart. However, Target has been functioning successfully, courtesy Wal-Mart, but other two failed in their operations and filed bankruptcy.( Michael Bergdahl, 2004) 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...
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